Concorde! One of only two supersonic commercial airliners to enter passenger service (for now 😏)
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So Concorde was a supersonic, meaning it flew FAST. And it did, topping Mach 2.04, twice the speed of sound. In order to fly at this speed, Concorde needed to be very high where there was little air resistance. So it flew at a whopping 60,000 feet (18,300 m). Concorde could cross the Atlantic in just under three hours at that speed. Crazy.
The Concorde was very well designed and was therefore well suited for both super and sub-sonic flight, thanks to its unique ogival delta wing. It provided good lift at subsonic speeds and great lift at supersonic speeds. Concorde was unique in the fact that it actually was a ‘tailless’ design- meaning all of the pitch and roll fictions were operated by a control surface other than the tail plane. Concorde still did have a vertical stabilizer- but the fin was merely for stabilization and sometimes it assisted the ailerons in rolls using its rudder. But still, it is a ‘tailless’ aircraft. Pretty cool stuff!
Concorde was also one of the first commercial airliners to utilize fly-by-wire (electronically monitored) flight systems that controlled the engine thrust, autopilot, and control surfaces. The engines were state-of-the-art turbojet engines that were capable of maintaining supersonic speeds without using afterburners- which saved SO MUCH fuel. Because of that, Concorde was able to just barely complete a flight from New York to Paris with a full tank of fuel.
Another thing with Concorde- the exterior of the aircraft got so hot during flight due to such high speeds that the airframe actually expanded mid-flight to compensate for the excessive heat. It expanded up to an entire foot during flight. That’s CRAZY.
So yeah, Concorde. Frickin awesome.
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