The end of a myth

In 1976, a new era in civil aviation began. Supersonic travel started with the introduction of one of the most beautiful flying machines: the Concorde.
The Concorde, built by the French (Aerospatiale) and British Aerospace Insdustries, entered service with Air France and British Airways, the major flag carriers of France and United Kingdom respectively, on scheduled flights. Following its introduction into service, not long after the oil crisis, the Concorde flew on demo flights around the world but the noise regulations and very high fuel consumption were such that the Concorde was banned from flying in many areas of the world. On one particular aircraft, the livery of Singapore Airlines was painted on one side and that of British Airways on the other side, but Singapore ended up not to take delivery of the aircraft. Only 16 Concorde were built, 14 of which were in revenue service with Air France and British Airways, each operating seven units on transatlantic flights.
The United States tried to come out with a similar design to compete against the Concorde, the Boeing 2707, but the project failed due to lack of interest from the airlines, and the cost of the project was very high.
The only other supersonic airliner that ever existed was the Russian built Tupolev TU-144. It didn't stay long in service and only Aeroflot flew it, because it was never profitable.
Unfortunately Air France lost one of its Concorde, F-BTSC, in Paris in July 2000. The aircraft had a tire blown by a foreign part upon take off, the high speed was such that the rubber parts of the blown tire severely created a hole in the fuel tank, the fuel then spilled out, the aircraft caught fire, lost control and crashed shortly after leaving Charles De Gaulle Airport. Had this happened in a subsonic aircraft, the aircraft could have landed safely. Following this disaster, both Air France and British Airways removed the Concorde from service for several months until solutions were found to better protect the fuel tank and make stronger tires.
The Concorde returned to the skies but the soaring fuel prices following the tragic events of 9-11 lead to the permanent grounding of Concorde in 2003. This was the end of a myth. Supersonic travel came to an end after 27 years.
The two picture below show an Air France bird preserved at Le Bourget in Paris and a British Airways bird preserved in New York, the picture of the BA aircraft shows how tiny the windows were compared to the windows of a conventional airliner.
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