Friday, April 9, 1999 Published at 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Business: The Company File
A remarkable aircraft
Supersonic facts and figures
- Since the first service from Heathrow to Bahrain on 21 January, 1976, British Airways' seven-strong fleet of Concordes have made 44,000 flights.
- And clocked up more than 127,000 flying hours - more than 100,000 of them supersonically.
- The fleet has travelled 127m miles - the equivalent of flying more than 4,000 times round the world.
- Concorde's speed acts as an anti-ageing device.
- The heat generated as the aircraft passes through the atmosphere at 1,350 miles an hour (faster than a bullet) ensures that any moisture which might otherwise affect the superstructure, is dried out.
- More than 2m passengers have flown on the British Airways' flagship.
- Cruising at 1,350mph - twice the speed of sound - a typical New York crossing takes little more than three and a half hours.
- Great Britain and France started working separately towards a supersonic aircraft in 1956.
- They were working along such similar lines that in 1962 they decided to develop it jointly.
- This partnership led to 20 aircraft being built.
- The first prototype flew from Toulouse, France, on 2 March, 1969.
- The aircraft was subjected to 5,000 hours of testing by the time it was certificated for passenger flight - making it the most tested aircraft in aviation history.
- George Harrison once gave a 15-minute recital in the Concorde Lounge in New York when his plane was delayed.
- Paul McCartney once persuaded Concorde business travellers to join him for a mid-Atlantic singalong.
- Many birds think Concorde is a goose, according to a two-year US study.
- 350 pairs of old Concorde seats were sold in 1993 for charity. The top bid was for £3,000 from a Vietnamese dentist, who wanted them for his waiting room.
- Barbara Harmer became the plane's first female pilot on 25 March, 1993.
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