n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

"Supersonic Bust: The Story Of The Concorde"

Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:41 am

This is an article that in 1977 predicted Concorde would see a decade of unprofitable use before being retired. Kudos to BA for proving the author wrong, at least in terms of longevity and operational profitability.

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/77jan/gillman.htm

As you might imagine from the title, it takes an uncharitable view of Concorde, the British aircraft industry and even post-WW II Britain, but it's an interesting read nonetheless, particularly as a product of that era. It relates quite a few interesting tidbids, particular about the road to Concorde's development.

Overall the Atlantic Monthly is an excellent resource for reasonably frequent aviation-related articles. In recent years, just off the top of my head, I can think of several excellent aviation related articles, including a fascinating dissection of ValuJet 592 and one on the (apparent) EgyptAir suicide crash.

[Edited 2003-10-30 02:59:16]
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
GDB
Posts: 12888
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 6:25 pm

RE: "Supersonic Bust: The Story Of The Concorde"

Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:56 am

Seen excerpts of that book many times, if you write with ingrained prejudices against the subject and those involved with it, you are bound to make incorrect predictions.
Less than a decade after the book was written, BA and the UK had changed utterly, mostly in ways the author would have approved of, yet that's when Concorde, out of any government control, along with BA, boomed. (Pardon the pun).

No doubt the late Richard Wiggs, who headed up the anti-Concorde people in the UK, loved the book.
Wiggs provided much moral support for US anti SST groups, in 1977 he got very short notice of a meeting in NY it would be useful for him to attend, so he got over the pond the quickest way possible, BA Concorde to IAD, then a transfer to NY.
To attend a meeting to prevent Concorde going direct to NY.
 
AvObserver
Posts: 2503
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2002 7:40 am

RE: "Supersonic Bust: The Story Of The Concorde"

Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:08 pm

"in 1977 he got very short notice of a meeting in NY it would be useful for him to attend, so he got over the pond the quickest way possible, BA Concorde to IAD, then a transfer to NY. To attend a meeting to prevent Concorde going direct to NY."

Talk about the height of hypocracy!  Yeah sure I was unaware that this was from a book, I may now seek that book out for further reading. It was interesting, though even with all of the facts compiled, it's painfully apparent of the author's bias and agenda. To quote some of the hysterical assumptions made by environmentalists at the time is telling. I thought it also rather presumptive of Mr. Gillman (I can't resist noting that's what they called the vile amphibious menace in the classic 50's horror film, "Creature From The Black Lagoon  Big grin) to write off Concorde when it had just barely been in service for a year but hey, he was trying to sell a book with a hot topic. One thing I most find fault with is his apparent penchant to degradate innovative thinking and risk-taking in the aviation industry, the sort of thing without which there'd be no progress. Okay, Concorde might have been conceptually flawed but the thinking that conceived and produced it is conspicuously absent in the industry today and I think the industry is much poorer for it. Without the will to do challenging projects like the SST, aviation progress has been stifled in many ways. Progress continues in smaller degrees but it is incremental; neither the A380 or 7E7, though they are very important, are truly major advances of the order of the original Comet, 707, 747 and Concorde. That the Concorde wasn't truly a commercial sense is, I think in the grand scheme of thing, less important than that the British and French worked together to create a revolutionary airliner and did it! In the long run, we'll remember Concorde for what it was-a unique, comfortable way to fly safely at military fighter speeds, rather than for the fact the 2 governments lost money on it. And please, I must take issue with Herb Coleman's complaint of "a high noise level", that was not apparent to me-I never had to raise my voice to converse with my fellow passengers.

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