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Concorde Flight Paths Across The Atlantic.  
User currently offlineMastaHanky From United States of America, joined exactly 10 years ago today! , 264 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10311 times:

I hope this isn't a silly question, but I've been curious about it for a while.

I was wondering if the Concorde had to take a different flight path across the Atlantic versus the paths that traditional jets take.

The cruise altitude of the Concorde was about 60k feet. Is that sufficient seperation to prevent wake turbulance for an aircraft flying at 40k feet? Did the FAA/CAA/whatever body governs TATL flights have different seperation requirements for the Concorde? How would an aircraft flying at supersonic speeds affect other aircraft in the area?

4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3831 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 10297 times:

Quoting MastaHanky (Thread starter):
I was wondering if the Concorde had to take a different flight path across the Atlantic versus the paths that traditional jets take.

I believe they did. Somewhere at my home in Britain I've got Concorde High Altitude Jeppesens from a flight in 1996.

Photo number 5 on an album of souvenirs had a 'Point of No Return Map' which you may be able to decipher.

Next time I return home I may take some photos of the Jeppesen for you, although I believe Christopher Orlebar's 'The Concorde Story' has some scans of the Jeppesens in the front and back covers so I think someone may beat me to it.

"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 29179 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10260 times:

The Concorde had its own route structure across the Atlantic. If I remember there was 6 (3 west, 3 east) fixed routes. They were plotted primarily to reduce the affects of sonic boom on land.

Regarding ATC procedures the only real difference I am aware of was the Concorde was often given somewhat prioritized handling in terminal areas due to its high speed requirements and inability to comply with standard speed/altitited crossing requirements(remember it had no real flaps). On departure for instance it was also standard for the Concorde to exceed 250kts below 10,000ft.

Dont recall any special wake turbulence procedures.

From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineB2707SST From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 1386 posts, RR: 58
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10149 times:

According to Concorde FO Christopher Orlebar's The Concorde Story, there were three fixed supersonic tracks: SM (westbound), SN (eastbound), and SO (not used in scheduled service). SM is the most northerly and is approximately the shortest great-circle route that avoids placing a boom on Canada or Ireland. SM, SN, and SO had about one degree of latitude in lateral separation.

On the other hand, the seven subsonic transatlantic tracks are not fixed; they are recomputed every day based on wind patterns. Head- and tailwinds had a much smaller effect on Concorde due to its high cruising speed, so it was not worthwhile to vary the supersonic tracks.

Here is a scan from The Concorde Story showing the SM track and the subsonic tracks on one particular day. Diversion airports are also shown.

Wake turbulence was not an issue. Even if the subsonic and supersonic tracks happened to coincide on a given day, vertical separation between Concorde and other aircraft generally would have been 15-20,000 feet. Much heavier subsonic aircraft routinely fly with just 1,000 feet of vertical separation on the subsonic tracks.

Concorde's unique delta vortices also dissipated much more quickly than the wingtip vortices left by other aircraft, so I doubt wake turbulence was a problem at takeoff and landing.


Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.
User currently offlineVc10 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1468 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10126 times:

The reason that winds were of little significance to the N Atlantic Concorde operation was because at the heights that Concorde operated the winds were normally very light usually only something like 10 - 20 kts.

little vc10

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