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The supersonic plane Concorde made its last flight on October 24, 2003 .


The October 24, 2003, Air France's Concorde supersonic plane made its last flight between London and New York. A look back at the history of this legendary aircraft whose beginnings were promising.

It is not insignificant for customers from Paris, New York and London to be able to make the round trip with a full day of work at their destination. With a supersonic plane, it is entirely feasible.

A quote from Mr. Dufour, director of the Sub Aviation factories in Toulouse

The idea behind the creation of the first supersonic aircraft, imagined during the 1950s and 1960s, was revolutionary for the time.

The aim is to build a device capable of breaking the sound barrier.

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This would make it possible to transport passengers as quickly as possible from one point to another on the planet.

Created in partnership between France and Great Britain, Concorde is a remarkable technological feat.

It promotes European aeronautical engineering on a global scale.

The work is colossal, spanning several months, with the deadline being the inaugural flight of February 28, 1968.

It did not finally take place until a year later, in March 1969. That same year, in October, the Concorde achieved the feat of breaking the sound barrier for the first time.

Journalist Raymond Charrette went to Toulouse to the show Atome et galaxies on November 11, 1966 to report on progress in the construction of Concorde.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Report by journalist Raymond Charrette on progress in the construction of Concorde

Although the first flights took place in 1969, it would be seven years before commercial flights began. The first passengers of the supersonic flew from Paris on January 21, 1976 to Rio de Janeiro.

During its three decades of service, the “great bird” breaks the sound barrier. It reached a speed such that the plane was faster than the rotation of the Earth.

Flying on average at 2100 km/h, the Concorde could complete the transatlantic flight between Paris and New York in three and a half hours.

The world's fastest commercial plane is certainly a huge technological success, but it is a real commercial failure, for many reasons.< /p>

We particularly deplore the noise pollution caused by the plane's engines. So much so that New York airport banned Concorde from landing for a while.

The high cost of oil also leads to a staggering rise in ticket prices. In 2000, the ticket sold for almost $11,000 per person.

Then tragedy struck.

On July 25, 2000, an Air France Concorde crashed during takeoff. The accident resulted in the death of 109 passengers and crew members, as well as four people on the ground.

The plane, which was flying between Paris and New York, caught fire a few seconds after taking off and crashed a few meters further, in a field.< /p>

This is the first and only tragedy of the supersonic since its creation.

At Téléjournalof July 25, 2000, reporting the disastrous event, journalist Hugues Poulin already mentioned the early retirement of the old supersonic following this incident.

Report by journalist Hugues Poulin on the Concorde crash at Paris airport

It was barely three years after the tragedy that, as announced, the Concorde is withdrawing from circulation.

Concorde was withdrawn from the air on October 24, 2003, after making a final service between New York and London. The plane, operated by British Airways, landed in the English capital with the elite of Hollywood and the business world on board.

A page in the civil history of aviation had just been turned.

A quote from Guy Lapointe, journalist

Journalist Guy Lapointe attends the end of the Concorde on the show Aujourd'hui on October 24, 2003.

Report by journalist Guy Lapointe on the last Concorde flight

The event is full of nostalgia, both for the teams on board and for the passengers and owners of the “big bird”, Air France and British Airways.

But the supersonic adventure had been floundering for too long. The craze for the Concorde had taken a hard hit with the crash in 2000 and, above all, it was no longer profitable.

We anticipated 1966 that the costs of manufacturing supersonics between 1970 and 1980 would be $50 billion. The supersonic adventure will have cost France and Great Britain 34 billion dollars by 2003.

The supersonic will not have glory only for three decades.

A very short life, but which still revolutionized the world of aviation.

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