Concorde

From:         ditka!sgiblab!uunet.UU.NET!ide!pete (Peter Coe)
Organization: Interactive Development Environments
Date:         22 Jun 94 16:57:51 
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Earlier this month, I finally managed to experience this unique airliner.  
The problem is that the journey raised more questions than it answered, so I am
hoping that some of you can answer my questions.

I flew from Washington D.C. to London on a scheduled British Airways flight, and
one look around the cabin made me wonder how BA can manage to keep the route 
going.  There were only about 40 of us on board, and at times it seemed like 
there were more staff than passengers.  I had already been in one of the proto-
types, so I knew that the plane was small on the inside.  I had forgotten just
how small.  I am well over 6 feet, and that made using the restrooms very 
awkward!  

The first question is around the take off.  Before the we started onto the 
runway, the Captain explained that noise abatement meant that afterburners would
be switched of (precisely) 1 minute and 14 seconds after we started the roll,
and at that time the plane would have a very obvious pitching moment.  So we 
used after burner for take-off. Is that always needed.  I would have thought 
that in our relatively lightly loaded state, we could have avoided it.  

The second question, is that at the time the throttles were opened up, the air 
pressure in the plane was raised.  I have an altimeter watch which put the raise 
in pressure at an altitude equivalent of about 1200 feet, but my ears could 
have told me anyway.  Was this a fault, or just something unique to the design.

Third and final, is about the cruise.  I got a chance to see the cockpit, (and 
there was me thinking the cabin was cramped!), and whilst there asked a few 
questions.  The answer that surprised me most was that Concorde cruises without
afterburner.  I remember a few years ago that F-22 and F-23, were hailed for 
their ability to 'super-cruise' at something over Mach-1 without afterburner.
What is Concorde's secret?  Is it that it is just over powered compared with
fighters?  I think not.  I knew that the Olympus engines were special, but didn't
realise that they were this unique.

The biggest dissapointment of the trip, was just how uneventful it was.  But for
the Mach meter at the front of the cabin, I would never have known when we broke
the sound barrier.  I think they were to successful at making supersonic flight
uneventful :-)

Still, I have no regrets about the trip, and if I get the chance again I will 
take it.  Whether it would have been worth $5000 (the full price) is another
matter.