NDiesel
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Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:18 pm

Dear all,

Apologies if this has been posted before.

I was wondering what turbulence was like on the Concorde. For those of you who got to fly it, did you ever encounter turbulence during cruise / speeds over Mach 1 at high altitude? What about takeoff and landings?

Best,
Mike
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gordonsmall
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:28 pm

You'll struggle to find much turbulence at typical Concorde cruising altitudes. (50-60,000ft)

The winds above the tropopause are light if they exist at all so the chances of getting much significant turbulence is slim. Clear air turbulence can still be found above the tropopause, particularly in the vicinity of the jetstream where vertical windshear can be an issue, but still unlikely at over 50k ft.
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SOBHI51
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:34 pm

Rarely during cruise, having said that, you felt the turbulence more on take off and landings.
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skymiler
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:59 pm

Not at altitude, but my experience was that during the approach to landing it wallowed and banged around seemingly on every mild gust.

Of course it was NOT designed to fly slowly!  
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:15 pm

Didn't concorde suffer more than a few engine surges in their time? I have heard a lot of crew say that they suffered them. They were more common for concorde because of their speed vs height?
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LAX772LR
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:47 pm

Did AF six times and BA once.... never felt the slightest bit of turbulence during supercruise. A bit during climbout, but wasn't all that bad.

As stated above, she flipped, flopped, wobbled and bopped during descent and approach though.  
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konrad
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:52 pm

Quoting NDiesel (Thread starter):
Apologies if this has been posted before.

Yes, indeed, and no problem at all. Perhaps some insight can be found here:

How Did Concorde Ride In Turbulence (by konrad Jul 29 2014 in Civil Aviation)
 
goldorak
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sat Dec 06, 2014 9:34 pm

On CDG-JFK, at cruising altitude, we did encounter some turbulences during about 15 min. The captain took the PA to inform us it was a very rare but known phenomenon (I forgot the specific name he gave). But it was nothing bad (like the minor regular turbulences you encounter on most "normal" flights. Nothing special on take-off or landing.
 
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:55 am

Quoting skymiler (Reply 3):
Not at altitude, but my experience was that during the approach to landing it wallowed and banged around seemingly on every mild gust.

Of course it was NOT designed to fly slowly!

My experience on Concorde was quite the same, but after reading into this, a lot of what is felt on Concorde during approach is self induced by the a/c itself. On one of my flights, I purposely positioned myself at the furthest window aft, as I was told this is where you would experience the roughest ride and I was not disappointed. You were able to see why Concorde frequently shed control surfaces. On this particular landing, I physically watched the entire trailing edge vibrate and shake quite violently. This was all caused by disturbed air flow over the delta wing, especially with the a/c's high angle of attack when flying at the lower approach speeds. It was one of the few a/c, you flew into the ground, rather than glided to the ground. A lot of what you saw on the trailing edge of the wing during approach, would simply transition to the cabin. Many construed this as turbulence, but in reality, it was disturbed air, that the a/c created on it's own.
 
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Faro
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:39 am

Concorde has high wing area and consequently relatively low wing loading...it would be sensitive to turbulence...


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nema
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:58 am

Did the large wing area of the Concorde allow it to have a comparatively slower approach/landing speed than that of a conventional aircraft?
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Faro
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:11 am

Quoting nema (Reply 19):
Did the large wing area of the Concorde allow it to have a comparatively slower approach/landing speed than that of a conventional aircraft?

Not necessarily, because i) it has short span and therefore lower aspect ratio than subsonic airliners and ii) it has rudimentary high-lift devices on the wing, basically elevons only. Concrode relied on vortex lift generated off the high AoA of the delta wing to maintain lower speeds for landing/TO.

From a neighbouring thread this contribution by Bellerophon:

"The standard approach on Concorde was a Reduced Noise Approach (RNA), which was usually flown manually. At typical landing weights, the approach was flown at 190 kts, down to 800R, at which point the speed was reduced to final approach speed, around 167 kts."

167kts landing speed is way above subsonic airliners' typical reference speeds of, say, 130-150kts...


Faro
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Nicoeddf
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:48 am

Quoting Faro (Reply 20):
167kts landing speed is way above subsonic airliners' typical reference speeds of, say, 130-150kts...

Except heavy MD11s...they have no problem reaching >160kts approach speed with 80tons of payload.
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Faro
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:49 pm

Quoting nicoeddf (Reply 12):
Quoting Faro (Reply 20):
167kts landing speed is way above subsonic airliners' typical reference speeds of, say, 130-150kts...

Except heavy MD11s...they have no problem reaching >160kts approach speed with 80tons of payload.

Wow, that's very fast landing indeed...I wonder if that's the highest operational landing speed for any current subsonic airliner...quite a challenge in high crosswinds and rain...


Faro
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jetwet1
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:59 pm

Quoting Faro (Reply 9):
Concorde has high wing area and consequently relatively low wing loading...it would be sensitive to turbulence...

As noted above, I only got to fly on her twice, both times smooth as silk, the 747 flights back were rough, as has been noted, once you clear 50k ft, it's a pretty smooth ride in anything.
 
triple7man
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:59 pm

We did encounter some light turbulence at Mach 2 flying BA 001 LHR-JFK.
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highflier92660
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:02 pm

I've read that Concorde essentially flew across the Atlantic in a constant cruise-climb. It would climb slowly as it burned-off fuel, reaching an altitude of fifty-eight to fifty-nine thousand feet before start-of-decent. I read that Concorde was certificated to sixty thousand feet.

Question: For all those who flew aboard Concorde, did you experience any actual IFR at cruise altitude? During the summer months did Concorde fly through the tops of any anvil-heads?
 
Bellerophon
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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:50 am

Ndiesel

...I was wondering what turbulence was like on the Concorde. For those of you who got to fly it, did you ever encounter turbulence during cruise / speeds over Mach 1 at high altitude?...

As gordonsmall has already answered your question very succinctly, allow me just to mention one small oddity about Concorde, on those rare occasions when we did encounter turbulence in the super-cruise.

In general it was the flight deck that was bounced around whilst the passenger cabin remained rock-steady.

An analogy with a vibrating tuning fork was sometimes used to describe this effect, with the flight deck being the tip of the fork, vibrating away, whilst the passenger cabin was the handle, hardly moving!

On one of my very first flights - in the days before closed and locked flight deck doors on BA aircraft - I can remember being about to switch the seat belt signs, because we were being bounced around on the flight deck, when the First Officer suggested that I glance back over my shoulder and take a look down the passenger cabin first.

The passenger cabin appeared completely unaffected by the turbulence we were experiencing on the flight deck and cabin crew members were moving around serving meals and pouring drinks as normal; no need for the seat belt signs to be switched on!



... What about takeoff and landings?...

At subsonic speeds and lower altitudes, Concorde suffered from the same turbulence as every other aircraft.

Others will be better placed than me to comment on what that felt like in the passenger cabin or how it compared to other aircraft because I did not sit in the passenger cabin very often!

Other factors to bear in mind however, as some posters have already touched upon, is that below around 250 kts, Concorde’s wings were developing vortex lift and this generated a slight “burble” that could easily be mistaken for light turbulence.

These vortices can be seen in this photo from a wind tunnel test:




Similarly, on approach, at around 800R as she reduced speed - typically by about 25 kts - her attitude would increase by about 3° to 4° and her engines would power up significantly, both of which could mistakenly be thought to be due to turbulence.


Speedbirdie

...Didn't concorde suffer more than a few engine surges in their time?...They were more common for concorde because of their speed vs height?...


Concorde did experience engine surges from time to time, but I would suggest that almost invariably these were due to a momentary glitch in the variable intake ramps in the engine intakes.

Very simply, above M1.3, these intake ramps became active and were continually moving to generate and position shock waves in the engine intake. These shock waves were used to slow the air entering the engines down, over a distance of around 14 feet, from 1,350 mph to 350 mph, a speed the first stage of the Olympus 593 engines could handle.

If the surge continued, broadly speaking the procedure was to decelerate below M1.3 when the ramps were no longer used and the engine intake became conventional.


Best regards to all

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RE: Turbulence On The Concorde

Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:06 am

Quoting Faro (Reply 11):
167kts landing speed is way above subsonic airliners' typical reference speeds of, say, 130-150kts...

I've had a few landings on the 764 with a vref higher than 160 knots.
With a heavy weight landing and gusty winds it can happen.


Had a couple of landing with flap and slat problems in the early days of operation with a vref speed of 180 knots.


That got our attention.  
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