Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×
The Almighty Buck Transportation

Club Concorde Wants To Put a Concorde Back In the Air 124

The Verge (relying on The Telegraph) reports that the Concorde, grounded since just a few years after the disastrous loss of flight 4590 in 2000, may yet fly again, with the help of a private coalition of Concorde enthusiasts that's already managed to raise $160 million. ("A massive war chest," says Jalopnik.) The Verge explains that Club Concorde ("a club for all things Concorde, run by ex-Captains, ex-charterers and people passionate about Concorde") would like to buy two of the existing but idle Concordes, turning one of them into a ground-based tourist attraction for gawking and for dining on Concorde-style meals. But as for the second? The more ambitious initiative is to purchase the second plane, have it restored, and get it in the air once more. Concorde Club president Paul James is aiming to resume flights by 2019, while the tourist attraction would be opened around 2017 if all goes according to plan. British Airways and Air France have no plans to resume commercial Concorde flights, meaning it would likely cost quite a lot of money to grab a private ticket if and when the plane gets off the ground again.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Club Concorde Wants To Put a Concorde Back In the Air

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    But the Concorde was conceived before the energy crisis of the 70s, and definitely before the kind of instant, cheap communications we have today. Except as a nostalgic thing for middle-aged men with too much money, it is useless.

    Bring back the XB-70 while you're at it.

    Billionaires should stop with these quixotic schemes, you're aging and dying like the rest of us. Invest in anti-aging, then we'll talk.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, because we all love flying slow

    • Re:Nostalgia is nice (Score:5, Informative)

      by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @12:05PM (#50556037) Journal

      Concorde was the future. When I was a kid, I sometimes caught glimpses of it around Dulles airport near DC, and as a young man I got to see some fantastic take-offs. I'd like to see commercial SST and humans on the Moon again in my lifetime. I was too young to have a clear memory of the latter. All I have is a vague memory of being kept up late for a change because "he should see this", and a lot of people being proud of what we were doing. We've regressed to not have these things, even if they are only for a select few. We've learned a lot since then. We can probably do it much more efficiently and safely now.

      • by MrNaz ( 730548 )

        I, too, am a Concorde enthusiast. But this is financial lunacy. The cost per seat flight is too high, and maintaining an aircraft will require them to assemble a small army of maintenance guys and engineers who do not have a ready market for Concorde related skills, meaning they will require specialist training programs as well as a small industry to keep parts supplies flowing. All for ONE AIRCRAFT.

        Not going to happen. Never. I bet this is just a scam to get rich people with too much money to hand over abo

      • Bizarre. The first thing I remember is watching the moon landings, though in my case I refused to go to bed. I was nearly three.

    • But the Concorde was conceived before the energy crisis of the 70s,

      Spoken like someone who doesn't know the first thing about jet engines and their history.

      Concorde was designed before high bypass turbofans were introduced, and used another strategy to get superior efficiency, which was to use ram compression and run the engines at a substantially higher pressure ratio than the competing planes. Turns out high bypass turbo fans were a better bet, but the concorde was never designed as a gas guzzler: quite t

    • Billionaires should stop with these quixotic schemes

      Why, what else could they use that money for? It's not as if they're going to use it for anything useful, like reducing income inequality!

  • Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Most beautiful plane ever built.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday September 19, 2015 @08:41AM (#50555155) Homepage Journal

    British Airways and Air France have no plans to resume commercial Concorde flights, meaning it would likely cost quite a lot of money to grab a private ticket if and when the plane gets off the ground again.

    More interesting than that is whether any airports have plans to permit anyone to resume commercial Concorde flights [wikipedia.org].

    • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @08:57AM (#50555211)

      I'd be surprised it's an issue given that the UK has seen many such projects over the years, one which has had a succesful view years and is now at it's end is the Vulcan to the Sky project.

      I imagine if they can get permission to dick around in a cold war era nuclear V-bomber that first flew in 1952, then the slightly more modern Concorde wouldn't exactly be too big a deal.

      The Civil Aviation Authority in the UK is fairly pragmatic about this sort of thing, and if there are concerns usually deals with it with restrictions rather than a blanket ban. For example, the Vulcan was allowed to fly with the stipulation that it could only be flown by RAF/ex-RAF personnel who had flown it as part of their service in the RAF - i.e. no one previously untrained in handling it was allowed to fly it. If there is a concern about it going supersonic for example, they'll just stipulate that it can fly, but not break the sound barrier.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @09:01AM (#50555221) Homepage
      Who said anything about commercial flights? As stated in the article, this is more about airshow appearances and potentially private charters, most likely for things like prolonged viewing of eclipses or short jaunts for special occassions and the like, so the noise of take off and supersonic flights over populated areas are probably not going to be all that much of an issue. They just need to make it clear that if you want to go from the UK to mainland Europe and back for the day, then you can't realistically expect to go supersonic, but if you just want to loop out over the Atlantic and back then that could well be an option.

      They've certainly timed the announcement well, anyway. The UK's current publically funded historic display aircraft [vulcantothesky.org] is doing its farewell flights over the next few weeks, so there's every liklihood that they'll be able to pick up a lot of the donors who supported the Vulcan over the last decade or so for another historic example of UK aviation engineering.
    • The airports had almost nothing to do with the anti-concorde rules. It was all government restrictions. They can still restrict the plane from supersonic speeds and such, and I am not sure of the status of the Concorde's type certificate, but airports would probably be fine with having it. People who live near an airport, who undoubtedly moved in after the airport was already there, may raise a cry about the increased noise. However, if I live near such an airport, I would just be happy to be able to see o
      • Given that one of these aircraft demolished a hotel in France (more or less) recently one might expect the regulatory environment to be a bit different now,

        • Given that one of these aircraft demolished a hotel in France (more or less) recently one might expect the regulatory environment to be a bit different now,

          That incident killed about 7 (or 9?) people on the ground - I was attending a meeting there recently, so thought about it a bit - but fundamentally it wasn't the Concorde's fault. It was the previous plane on the runway which had shed a large lump of debris. Sure, having better self-sealing on the Concorde wing fuel tanks might have helped it to survive

          • Given that one of these aircraft demolished a hotel in France (more or less) recently one might expect the regulatory environment to be a bit different now,

            That incident killed about 7 (or 9?) people on the ground - I was attending a meeting there recently, so thought about it a bit - but fundamentally it wasn't the Concorde's fault. It was the previous plane on the runway which had shed a large lump of debris. Sure, having better self-sealing on the Concorde wing fuel tanks might have helped it to survive long enough to hard-land at the diversion airport they attempted at Le Bourget.

            But also the long cord of concorde wings makes it more likely that a disintegrating tire will puncture a tank.

    • That is why the Concorde was only supersonic over open water therefore there were limited airports that supported it. Also from what I recall the major issue was cost of operating the planes and the reduction of passengers caused the cancellation in 2003. And the problem they would have now is the maintenance as Airbus will not provide support to maintain the planes.

      The plane would also require massive amounts of repairs and updating as the plane is almost 40 years old, and would require a complete update

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @08:42AM (#50555159)

    One of the main problems with Concorde was It didnt have the range to do transpacific routes, and its not permitted to go supersonic over most countries.

    • One of the main problems with Concorde was It didnt have the range to do transpacific routes, and its not permitted to go supersonic over most countries.

      Only 20 were ever built, [concordesst.com] which made even simple upgrades very expensive.

      For example, the cost of the reinforced cockpit regulation brought about by 9/11 was relatively easy to absorb across thousands of Boeings.

  • by cardpuncher ( 713057 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @08:46AM (#50555169)
    It used to be around 5K USD for a one-way trip across the atlantic, so it was already a lot of money then, and the only reason the cost wasn't higher was that the planes were gifted to the airlines.

    And despite the trappings of luxury, that money bought you speed but no real comfort. The seats were narrow, the aisle was narrow, you were relieved of coats and other encumberances because there was no room in the cabin for them. There were fewer catering options than 1st class owing to space limitations. The extinguishing and relighting of the afterburners as part of noise control procedures was rather disconcerting for infrequent travellers, as was the temperature of the inner skin of the aircraft. And you had to sit next to the incurably self-important.

    I've only flown Concord by accident (when the 747 service was cancelled) and while it was a novel experience, the plane was a technical curiosity rather than a practical form of transport - and well past its sell-by date by the time it was taken out of service.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The seats were narrow, the aisle was narrow, you were relieved of coats and other encumberances because there was no room in the cabin for them.

      So in other words, everything that commercial airlines dream of.

      Pack those cows in! YOU ARE ALL COWS! MOOO!

      • The seats were narrow, the aisle was narrow, you were relieved of coats and other encumberances because there was no room in the cabin for them.

        So in other words, everything that commercial airlines dream of.

        Pack those cows in! YOU ARE ALL COWS! MOOO!

        Probably the only time that moo mime is appropriate on thus site.

    • Hey, it allowed the super rich to finally feel like one of the common lowlifes when flying.

    • Other problems you haven't mentioned are:

      * Crazy fuel consumption per person*miles flown
      * Concordes significantly reduced the amount of ozone in the atmosphere
      * Noise issues

      Quite possibly they just won't get a permit to fly even if they restore the aircraft.

      • They can probably just register them as experimental aircraft, just as any joe with enough money can do with an F-5, T-38, Harrier, various SAAB and MiG warbirds and other non-certified aircraft... but then they will be limited in flying for hire. They can work around it through legal gymnastics, such as maybe creating a small museum with a very hefty admission price, but which includes a "free" flight on the airworthy Concorde.

    • were gifted

      I realize that in 2015 we're on the front lines of the Decline of Western Civilization - and as such I'm quite used to atrocious examples of improper grammar - but it still galls me: "gift" is a noun; the word you were looking for is "given".

    • You got bumped from 747 to Concorde? That's the real story here.

      • by cowdung ( 702933 )

        Yeah... usually when I get bumped.. they just put me on a bench in the airport for a couple of days..

        how did he get the Concord?

    • Specifically, it was 5K for going east. For going west you could get a ticket for £800 or so.

      The main reason it existed was to avoid the red eye; landing in the early morning at Heathrow is unbelievably horrible. Concorde avoided that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thats Plane awesome.

  • I'm OK with a bunch of wealthy "enthusiasts" going up in a death trap on their own dime. Just don't let them fly over populated areas.

    • Trolling aside, it is unlikely that they will pay to go over land where supersonic travel would be prohibited.

      • Perfect.

      • Trolling aside, it is unlikely that they will pay to go over land where supersonic travel would be prohibited.

        So, they take off and land on water? I didn't realize the Concorde was amphibious.

        • Trolling aside, it is unlikely that they will pay to go over land where supersonic travel would be prohibited.

          So, they take off and land on water? I didn't realize the Concorde was amphibious.

          there are plenty of coastal cities with airports right on the water, as soon as you clear the runway you are over water.

        • You really are determined. But you can't troll me on this because I really don't care whether the Concorde flies or not - I have much higher priorities for the money that it would take to ride on the thing.

          • I have much higher priorities for the money that it would take to ride on the thing.

            You realize that airplanes don't use money for fuel, right? The money spent goes right back into the economy and gets used for other things.

            • Yeah, but I want my money to go to things like "my kids' college fund" and "a new car" rather than a short thrill ride. I'm not their demographic :)

          • You really are determined.

            You have no idea.

  • When Air France and British Airways mothballed the Concorde, they claimed that one justification was that there was essentially no way to get parts to maintain them. How will this group get around that? You can't exactly get those parts pressed at your local machine shop if you need replacements.

    As for static displays of the Concorde, there is already one on display at the Intrepid [intrepidmuseum.org] in NYC. I expect there are others on display for visitors as well.
    • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @10:02AM (#50555479) Journal

      Anything within the limits of physics is possible if you have enough money.

      When BA/AF said there was essentially no way to get parts to maintain the aircraft, what they meant was that there was no *economical* way to get those parts. Anything can be fabricated as a one-off part, it will just cost several hundred or thousands of dollars more than a mass-produced part. Send a drawing with the proper specifications and GDT to a well operated machine shop and they'll turn out nearly any part you need. Something more complicated simply takes more time and setup. It is possible you could have to pay to construct an entire facility to make a custom set of turbine blades, make ten, test 8, and have only two for spares? Sure. Again - it's only money.

      Whether they will be able to make such a venture possible given schedules and maintenance requirements of modern aircraft is simply an exercise in capital funding and cash flow. If Virgin can take you to space for $200k, you can probably rehabilitate the Concord and offer seats on a flight for no more than half that.

      • by JumboMessiah ( 316083 ) on Saturday September 19, 2015 @11:33AM (#50555887)

        This and the fact that you also need to get a valid airworthiness certificate from the local authorities for it to fly. Getting that without OEM support is not impossible, it's just improbable for this aircraft. We keep WWII aircraft flying with one off machined parts all the time, but those parts are not difficult to machine by a modern shop. The materials used are common and the older manufacturing techniques aren't cutting edge anymore. Those older aircraft also tend to have much more simple control mechanisms (Concorde was a primitive partial fly by wire system [concordesst.com]). You would end up scouring collectors and museums for spares, not to mention corralling certified maintenance techs to work it.

        Then we get to the engines, they'll need to be rebuilt and eventually be rebladed. There are enough surplus parts to keep the J79s [youtube.com] from the 60's going, but there were thousands of those built. The Olympus 593s [wikipedia.org] were a one off just for the Concord, not a lot of surplus parts floating around. Manufacturing new blades would be incredibly cost prohibitive.

        My personal belief, if they want to throw billions into it, the best they'll be able to do is static runs and taxi displays. I don't think they'll get it into the air again and certainly not carrying passengers. I just don't think they have the muster to get a full D check completed and any local authorities to authorize it.

        A good write up [saveconcordegroup.co.uk] on what it would take. Impossible, no, improbable, yes.

      • If Virgin can take you to space for $200k,

        Yeah, if.

    • You can't exactly get those parts pressed at your local machine shop if you need replacements.

      Why not? I mean where do you think prototypes come from. So yea you really can just order the parts, with the design from the local certified machine shop. It is however expensive and you get long lead times.

      • So yea you really can just order the parts, with the design from the local certified machine shop.

        you really don't know what goes into the process of manufacturing turbine blades, do you?

        • So yea you really can just order the parts, with the design from the local certified machine shop.

          you really don't know what goes into the process of manufacturing turbine blades, do you?

          The aircraft industry has moved on from the 1960s and I would argue that is is next to impossible for a small, bespoke operation to deliver components with the same level of quality as a large scale production process. Aircraft parts are made for fleets of around a thousand aircraft. Large scale means that your production and testing processes can be highly repeatable.

          Its like asking how expensive it would be to make ten modern CPUs from scratch, and get them working as well as one from the shop. Impossible

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )

            I would argue that is is next to impossible for a small, bespoke operation to deliver components with the same level of quality as a large scale production process

            You are getting quality and price mixed up. Less automation does not imply a reduction in quality, only lower standards of acceptance imply a reduction of quality.
            There were only ever twenty Concordes, built at more than one site, so the originals were "a small, bespoke operation" in the first place anyway.

            • Sorry I don't agree. Bentley will never have the quality of Mercedes or Toyota. They don't have enough eyes on the job.

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                Eyes on the job just costs more.
                Plus, the originals were "bespoke" by your yardstick as well.

                It would be very cruel to compare a one-off item like a space probe to your Toyota crack - do I really have to go there or do you get the idea that you can have quality without full automation?
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          The ones in the Concorde do not operate at as high a temperature and were easier to make.
          The monocrystalline ones came in later.
    • The solution to this problem is money. Just 'cause AF and BA can't afford it (or rather, don't think it's remotely feasible to afford it) doesn't mean that someone with more money than brains can't do it.

    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      There are three Concordes around Paris that I know of:
      - The air & Space museum at Le Bourget has one in a hanger that you can walk through. It was of the first 2 built & was used to prove Concorde's air worthiness. It's in the state it was left in in the mid 70s -- no seats or cabin furnishings, just late 60s recorder instrumentation.
      - They have one up on a canted stand to make it look like it's taking off and banking left as you leave Charles de Gaulle Airport towards Paris. I assume it was strippe

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        There's a Concorde in Seattle at the museum of flight. It belongs to Air France I think and it's on extended loan. As part of the conditions of the loan, the museum has to keep the airplane in near-flying condition at all times should they ever want it back. This does not mean it could fly without serious work, but it does mean they keep the plane clean and free from corrosion, inside and out. This means that on certain days they cannot open the airplane for tourists when the humidity is too high. The en

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          I've driven by the Orly Concorde a few hundred times (It's on the way to a client's offices) but that's the only time I've ever seen it opened or even anyone waling around it. Most of the time it just looks abandoned. If you follow the map link I gave you can see a picture or two.

        • by sconeu ( 64226 )

          There's one in NYC on the Intrepid as well..

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        Boeing's Museum of Flight has one on display [museumofflight.org] in Seattle.

        Interesting note: On it's last flight in 2003, it flew supersonic over Canada. So there are still some places one can do this without a bunch of whiners getting their panties in a bunch.

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          The interdiction is on flying supersonic is over inhabited areas so flying over most of Canada doesn't count...

    • > When Air France and British Airways mothballed the Concorde, they claimed that one justification was that there was essentially no way to get parts to maintain them. How will this group get around that? You can't exactly get those parts pressed at your local machine shop if you need replacements.

      Well, they may be able to if they completely dismantle the aircraft, then rebuild it as an experimental. Then, as the manufacturer (assuming they manage to achieve manufacturing of >51% parts in the rebuild)

      • Then, as the manufacturer (assuming they manage to achieve manufacturing of >51% parts in the rebuild) they would be able to legally produce and install their own parts for maintenance.

        Again someone with no idea of the complex manufacturing processes required to manufacture turbine blades. There are only a very few places in the whole world where it's done.

        • > Again someone with no idea of the complex manufacturing processes required to manufacture turbine blades

          I understand that - refer to another post I made in this thread where I stated that very few machine shops have the expertise or equipment on hand to produce such parts. :-p

        • Actually I stated that very point in the post to which you responded with your basis ad hominem attack. Let me copy & paste for your convenience:

          "Then, as the manufacturer (assuming they manage to achieve manufacturing of >51% parts in the rebuild) they would be able to legally produce and install their own parts for maintenance. It would require more expertise and finder environmental controls than your typical machine shop could provide."

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          I had all the stuff I needed to do that at the University I went to in the 1980s. Other places do as well. Plus, these are not the modern turbine blades and are more similar to the ones used in the sort of gas turbines used to generate electricity. There are a lot of places that are making those.
  • The Concorde, while amazing in it's day, is literally and antique now, and while making one into a museum is an OK idea, putting one back into regular service is irresponsible at best, criminal at worst. Terribly fuel-inefficient, highly polluting. If they want to re-design and retrofit it with cutting-edge technology, then that's different, but I'd suspect that by the time you did all that, you may as well just design an entire aircraft from scratch and have it produced. Get Elon Musk (or someone similar)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Americans hate the Concorde, because it was better than anything the USA managed to build. Admit it.

      • Americans hate the Concorde, because it was better than anything the USA managed to build. Admit it.

        yeah americans are jealous of a plane that can't break even when they charge $5000 a seat for a flight?

      • Americans started working on building similar aircraft but gave up not because it was impossible, but because they could see that the aircraft would never be commercially viable.

        They were right. Concorde just wasn't commercially viable - at least, not in the form of a mass market product. That's why Concorde didn't sell.

        Nobody on the Western side of the Atlantic "hates" Concorde, it's admired as an amazing feat of engineering. But if it was simply the case that Boeing's engineers had broken their penci

      • On the contrary, I think extremely fast transport is a great idea, as my comment suggested, but resurrecting decades old technology in an era where fuel efficiency and a need to protect the environment is extremely important for the future of all mankind is just plain irresponsible, especially when there are better technologies available that would put the Concorde to shame. By all means, redesign the Concorde using current technology, as I said in my comment. I think it would be great. But since you're no
  • Concorde is based on very old obsolete technologies, It is probably not worth reviving it. But fossil fuel prices are set to crash in the next 20 years, It would take 20 years to create a current generation technology supersonic passenger plane. Small ones between 20 and 40 seats, to get a decent load factor for traffic, might succeed. Aerospatial was showing off such a concept design recently.
  • You can walk inside a Concorde at the Boeing museum in Seattle. I was surprised by how small it was - 2x2 seating, narrow isle. Not much in the way of stowage. I wouldn't want to spend much time in there.
    • I wouldn't want to spend much time in there.

      The whole idea of the Concorde is that the flight is over before you notice how cramped it is.

      You pay $5000 for a short ride, so they ply you with champagne and fine food to distract you from the crappy interior and the frightening price.

  • It was "Concorde All Over the Place"

  • by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <hackertouristNO@SPAMxmsnet.nl> on Saturday September 19, 2015 @04:36PM (#50557365)

    After the 2000 crash, several Concordes were modified to prevent a recurrence, and were put back into service. They were grounded in 2003 due to reductions in passenger numbers (9/11/2001 plus a general recession) and due to a decision by Airbus to stop maintenance support.

  • I've recently listened to a nice interview with an ex-Concorde captain from British Airways and I've learned quite a few interesting things about that plane. One of the last questions was his opinion about if the existing Concordes could be put back into the air. The answer was 'rather not' because of the apparently notoriously difficult maintenance of the hydraulic system and the fact that it needed constant caring while in use. Sitting around for quite a few years now without any care or without having be

  • ...was always the issue with the Concorde. Freakishly expensive to fly with and even freakisher expensive to operate it. Air France and British Airways did not say it out loud, but they were happy about that accident because it allowed them to box up the Concordes without losing face. I understand nostalgia, but if this club wants to do something awesome for the history of air travel find a way where transatlantic tickets can be had for 400-500$ top without losing too many of the amenities. If they can pull

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

Working...