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konrad
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How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:17 pm

As many on this forum I have not had pleasure to ride the queen of the skies: the supersonic concorde. My only encounters with SSC were on the ground while taxiing at CDG and JFK. Thus the question:

How did Concorde ride in turbulence? Is there any turbulence at flight levels used by SSC in cruise? How did she handle turbulence and bad weather while at lower altitudes, in climb or descent?
 
PI4EVER
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:57 pm

I had the joy to ride Concorde with BA. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I shared with my Brother that will rank at the top of my "things to do before I die" list. An awesome flight experience. Our flight was in August and was smooth from takeoff through to cruise, but varying degrees of movement and sounds slowing down for lower levels of flight to approach. I can only describe it as a more active buffeting from about 20K to touchdown. Not frightening as it was mentioned we might feel "more movement or unusual bumps" compared to conventional aircraft. My 'bro and I were doing our own buffeting after downing 2 bottles of Champagne, but the aircraft performance still felt as if it was under full control. No sensation, bumps or buffeting at supersonic cruise.
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
Setjet
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:10 pm

Same with me, flew it in 2002, smooth throughout the flight!
 
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cv990Coronado
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 3:07 pm

I was very fortunate to fly Cape Town Monrovia London and even through West Africa I don't remember any turbulence. Most of the time you are too high. Decent and accent are so fast there isn't much time for turbulence. A flight I will never forget - 6 hr 32 Mins CPTROBLHR.
SSC-707B727 737-741234SP757/762/3/772/WA300/10/319/2/1-342/3/6-880-DAM-VC10 TRD 111 Ju52-DC8/9/10/11-YS11-748-VCV DH4B L
 
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Stitch
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:15 pm

At least during cruise on my flights, as the Captain in the BA Commemorative Video states: "There were are, ladies and gentlemen. Mach 2. No bumps. No bangs. Concorde."  
 
FoxBravo
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:41 pm

I only flew on it once. As others have mentioned, there wasn't really any turbulence at cruising altitudes--it was far above any weather, jet stream, etc. On landing, it was a rainy day at JFK and I do remember it being a bit bumpy as we descended through the clouds, but not too different from any other jet.
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:53 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 4):

No turbulence but on my last AF Concorde flight from JFK to CDG three weeks before the end of flights we had some mishap I am not too sure if it was an engine surge or compressor stall / compressor surge one one engine - we were never told what it was - but it was severe - there could have been flames off that engine - I was not in the right place to see it - this was more than turbulence there was a loss of altitude and we dropped down the cabin crew even placed some of the meals on the floor. I must have a picture or two somewhere . There was no question of a bird strike here as we were at cruising altitude. I am not a fearful kind of person I have witnessed engine fires on old airplanes in my days but I can understand why some people would be afraid of flying on Concorde. I knew some who would not set foot on Concorde for anything in the world.

    Wow!
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
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adg737800
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:43 pm

My one ride with Concorde was pretty turbulent when subsonic and coming into land. One of only two times I've ever felt air sick in my life. The champagne may have helped though  

Supersonic though it was majestic - totally smooth (and very hot windows and cabin walls because of the friction!).

[Edited 2014-07-29 11:44:00]
 
goldorak
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:48 pm

On a CDG-JFK flight, we encountered some turbulences at the cruising altitude, when flying at Mach 2, during 15-20 minutes. The captain explained what it was (he used a technical term that I forgot - sorry) and he said it was very rare. But this was nothing severe at all and did not impair the pleasure I had to fly this wonder of the sky.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:48 pm

I don't think above 60,000 feet there is really much atmospheric turbulence to be had be it a Concorde, Blackbird or the venerable U2. There is not much moisture in the air and its not very dense. Its above all the weather formations too. Its like flying somewhere in between Space and the lower atmosphere. Its a pity more planes can't cruise up there as it would be a smooth ride for everyone. I suspect at some point many planes will cruise around that flight level. Even at 35,000 FT the overwhelming amount of atmospheric molecules are below you. I think like 75%.
 
F9Animal
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:20 pm

Can anyone explain how the takeoff was compared to say a 737? Was it more intense in terms of being pushed back into your seat?

Hey!!! My 5,000th post! And it was a question about Concorde? Yes!  Smile

[Edited 2014-07-29 12:22:09]
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
26point2
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:26 pm

BA 002…JFK-LHR, May 2003.

No overhead bin space, no IFE, no movie, no view. No problem. Concorde.

[Edited 2014-07-29 12:33:31]

[Edited 2014-07-29 12:54:41]
 
PI4EVER
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:48 pm

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 10):

I can only describe it as what the BA Captain said over the PA......"Ladies and Gentlemen, you'll notice the Concorde takeoff to be quite sporty." Don't think I'd compare it to a conventional jet....certainly not a 737.....powerful and yet smooth to liftoff and then "sporty" as to climb angle and pitch of cabin. We sat in 9AB in the forward compartment and didn't notice significant engine noise or "whine" but definitely a powerful takeoff. I was trying to take in so many things at one time I simply think back to the entire experience of flying on this magnificent airplane and the service BA delivered. Every member of the crew was proud to serve on Concorde and delivered a genuinely welcoming but polished and professional service delivery. Think casual elegance. Hushed conversation and precise delivery of service. We felt like everyone on board was enjoying the experience. One passenger had flown Concorde fifty (50) times. He drank a glass of champagne, reclined his seat and slept to just before landing. He drank a second glass of champagne, never touching a bite of food, but physically hugged the Purser and a female F/A when he deplaned. Don't know who he was, but imagine his travel budget with 50 Concorde tickets in his frequent flyer account!
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
jetwet1
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:50 pm

As with most of the others, it was a very smooth ride.

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 10):
Can anyone explain how the takeoff was compared to say a 737? Was it more intense in terms of being pushed back into your seat?

Louder, both from the engines and the airframe, acceleration (going from a distant memory, this was 24 years ago) seemed a little slow at first, then hold on, this lady wants to fly. The only thing that even came close IMHO was a lightly loaded 757 LAS-LAX, but even that didn't give you the push back in the chair feeling.
 
civetfive
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:51 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 9):

Isn't maximum altitude also driven by FAA (and other governing bodies') regulations on how long it takes to descend to 10k feet in the event of depressurization? I thought I read that somewhere.

If so, it means that as long as we continue to design planes the way we do (relatively high aspect ratio wings, high-bypass turbofans) we're pretty much constrained to about the cruising altitudes that we see now.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:18 pm

Quoting civetfive (Reply 14):
Isn't maximum altitude also driven by FAA (and other governing bodies') regulations on how long it takes to descend to 10k feet in the event of depressurization? I thought I read that somewhere.

That's certainly a factor but I thought it was mostly related to the pilots since if they lose oxygen they may only have a few seconds of consciousness to operate. The norm however, at least in the military, above a certain altitude you are wearing a full pressure suit or you have an oxygen mask on anyway (similar to a fighter pilot). The passengers have oxygen too for about 7-10 min a person in the event of a emergency. Should be plenty of time to get down low.
 
awthompson
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:13 pm

I had a single flight, which in hindsight I'm so glad now I took. It was only £199 and was from Heathrow to Glasgow, on Sunday 9th July 1992. Since it was all over land, we obviously remained subsonic, we had to make do with mach 0.95. Aircraft was G-BOAE and she then operated a pleasure flight from Glasgow out to the ocean and back to Glasgow which provided the supersonic experience, but that one was £399 and I was only a student at the time so £199 was quite enough! I should say that my £199 included Belfast to Heathrow that morning (a Boeing 757) and then from Glasgow back to Belfast afterwards (an ATP), truly the bargain of a lifetime!

Since this was an organised pleasure flight it was dramatically different from a scheduled flight. A transatlantic flight would have had a baggage load and full fuel tanks so would have been sluggish in comparison, however my 45 minute pleasure flight had virtually no baggage and a light fuel load. We also had a running commentary from a BA customer service person on the flight deck who explained that we would have an experience transatlantic passengers would not enjoy due to our very light plane and the fact they would be pushing things close to the limit.

I recall that the take off was indeed very much different from a conventional plane. The feeling of speed on the runway (27 Left) before rotation was colossal but the the fact that the high acceleration where you were pushed into your seat just kept on coming after take off. Another big difference from a conventional aircraft was that when the afterburners were disengaged, the loss of acceleration felt like someone had stepped on the brakes in a car, very strange.

After that point, if you had not looked out the window (wing shape) or listened to the commentary (detailing a very high rate of climb), it was very little different from a conventional aircraft. The only other point where it was substantially different from a conventional aircraft was the high speed at touch down and the longer more sustained period of braking from the higher landing speed before we reached taxiing speed.

Other aspects including the slight buffeting entering cloud layers, from memory, were much like in a conventional winged aircraft. The sounds however, and the slight buffeting caused by the oversized nose gear on final approach were also more pronounced. You obviously had no sounds from moving leading edge slats as Concorde had none, also there were no flaps, only flaperons which were hydraulically operated and so were silent from inside the cabin.

Another nice aspect of this pleasure flight was boarding on a remote stand at LHR with time provided to walk around the aircraft and have your photo taken on the steps or beside the nose gear as I did. Each person also had the chance to visit the flight deck during the cruise to take a few photos.

We were also presented with a model of the aircraft, a nice print of Concorde cruising against a blue sky, a certificate to say you had flown on Concorde - signed by the Captain (Ian McNeilly) and many other mementos all presented in a nice British Airways Concorde logo'd box in pearlescent plastic.




(I'm not in either photo by the way).

G-BOAE cockpit in the cruise
 
vvbkumar
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:31 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 6):
I knew some who would not set foot on Concorde for anything in the world.

and may be many people like me who would take a ride on Concorde for anything.   
 
shankly
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:47 pm

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 10):
Can anyone explain how the takeoff was compared to say a 737? Was it more intense in terms of being pushed back into your seat?

Had the pleasure of an LHR 09L take-off, which involved the astonishingly early right hand noise abatement turn.

All I can really remember is the fantastic noise of those RR Olympus engines, amazing bumping as the taught gear passed over rough spots on the runway, the smell of jet fuel and looking out of that tiny window and thinking, bloody hell that's low!

As was pointed out by the Captain of my flight. 2.50m people have travelled supersonic. A few were top gun fighter pilots in g suits and pressure suits. But most were normal people in lounge suits and dresses, sipping Champagne......in Concorde

One takes off in an A380 these days and the transition from ground to air is barely noticeable
L1011 - P F M
 
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A333MSPtoAMS
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:30 pm

Quoting konrad (Thread starter):
he queen of the skies

sorry, there is only ONE queen in the skies.... and that title belongs to the Boeing 747  

I'm sad that I never got to ride on the concorde, too ;-(
As of Dec 2019 I've flown 457,440 miles on 270 flights on 54 airplane types with 60 airlines traveling thru 104 airports. I've visited 60 countries.
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rg787
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:23 pm

Quoting A333MSPtoAMS (Reply 19):
sorry, there is only ONE queen in the skies.... and that title belongs to the Boeing 747  

I'm sad that I never got to ride on the concorde, too ;-(

Indeed, Concorde is the king!        
 
Viscount724
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:26 pm

Quoting solarflyer22 (Reply 9):
I don't think above 60,000 feet there is really much atmospheric turbulence to be had be it a Concorde, Blackbird or the venerable U2.

Concorde didn't fly above 60,000 feet. If memory correct that was it's maximum certificated altitude but it usually flew a little lower. I was lucky enough to have one Concorde flight, exactly 25 years ago this month, in July 1989 JFK-LHR at a special interline fare for other airlines' staff...around $499 if memory correct, which BA sometimes offered in the summer when there wasn't much business traffic. I think it cruised around 55,000 feet on that flight. Very smooth as I recall. In fact the most memorable thing about the flight is how normal it seemed apart from it taking half as long as usual.
 
triple7man
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:02 am

I was privileged to fly BA 001 Concorde LHR-JFK in 1999. We did encounter some turbulence in supersonic cruise; it did not really seem different than subsonic turbulence. The big noticeable differences were the small windows and they felt very warm to the touch along with the wall. I have seen videos of the space between the flight engineer's panel where they expand in supersonic cruise so you can put your hand in there. That was the first thing I did when I went in the cockpit, and where the captain (Chris Norris) signed my flight certificate.
Takeoff was loud at first, but quieter as we picked up speed. We needed to fly faster than a 737 to get airborne because of the wing configuration. The captain kept us updated with announcements throughout the flight, which I appreciated. Before takeoff he made an announcement, "for those of you who have not flown Concorde," about the use of reheats (afterburners) on takeoff, then they will be turned off about 30 seconds later, because the aircraft is very noisy. I have seen several Concordes take off from LHR and they are indeed very noisy. I knew that watching takeoff from inside, there would be many envious eyes watching. (Once I saw a BA Concorde lined up for takeoff at DFW. At least 30 or 40 cars stopped and parked on the side to watch).
The captain also informed us when we were ready to go supersonic, and they would light the reheats, 2 at a time. It was a small, but noticeable nudge in the back, and it didn't feel any different, crossing through the sound barrier.
After landing in JFK I was thinking, I don't ever want to fly this route subsonic again because it takes so long. When I got to LGA to fly back to DFW I asked the captain the flying time, and it was pretty much the same as on Concorde, 3:24. I asked him what our Mach speed would be, because I knew it wouldn't be anywhere near Mach 2. It was Mach 84.
Concorde was a once in a lifetime experience (not everyone can afford 50 flights on Concorde), and I'm glad I had the chance to fly it once.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
airbazar
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:12 pm

Quoting civetfive (Reply 14):
If so, it means that as long as we continue to design planes the way we do (relatively high aspect ratio wings, high-bypass turbofans) we're pretty much constrained to about the cruising altitudes that we see now.

But like ETOPS, don't you think that would "evolve" too if there really is a economic need for it? Do airlines feel any need to fly at higher altitudes? Are they asking for it?
 
rwessel
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RE: How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence

Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:07 pm

Quoting airbazar (Reply 23):
But like ETOPS, don't you think that would "evolve" too if there really is a economic need for it? Do airlines feel any need to fly at higher altitudes? Are they asking for it?

A problem with that comparison is that ETOPS is reasonably based on engine reliability, and the unrelated failure of *two* engines. Cabin altitude limits would require some sort of equivalent level of reliability for the entire cabin and pressurization system. I'm not sure how that could reasonably be done.

In any event, there's little (commercial) point to subsonic flight at 60kft. It's certainly technically possible, but you end up with an aircraft that looks more like a glider, and getting a high mach number out of that sort of configuration is difficult (the U-2 had an Mmo of .67, for example, and that was far deeper into the coffin corner than is likely plausible for a commercial aircraft). So you'd likely end up slower. Although you might well burn less fuel for the trip.

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