Concorde – Ingo W. Bauernfeind

Review by Charles Page.

If ever an aircraft can be described as charismatic, it is Concorde. This is an aircraft that combined technical excellence with grace and elegance, and captured the imagination of the world for 27 years. So for the 50th anniversary of Concorde, it was pleasing to see a book as superlative as the aircraft. In this lavishly illustrated book, we imagine ourselves reclining with champagne and caviar at 60,000 feet and Mach 2. We gaze in awe at the dark blue sky, the curvature of the earth, and race the sun.

The author takes us through the early days of jet propulsion and supersonic flight to the Anglo-French agreement of 1962, and the design and production at BAC Filton and Sud Aviation Toulouse. The British build the nose, droop snoot and tail, and supply the Olympus engines, while the French produce the curved delta wing and centre fuselage. The broader technical details are well covered in the book, and it is not generally known that Concorde was the first airliner to use fly-by-wire controls. Highlights include the maiden flights in 1969 by Andre Turcat and Brian Trubshaw, and the first commercial services in 1976.

The human element is well represented with enthusiastic anecdotes and quotes from pilots, flight engineers, cabin crew and ground crew. Passengers adored Concorde, with one tycoon making 718 flights, and it was adopted by a whole host of celebrities, VIPs and aviation enthusiasts.
The saddest part in this book describes the freak accident to the Air France Concorde on 25 July 2000. Though Concorde was modified, the service never really recovered and, in 2003, the aircraft were retired. They live on in museums and as an icon ever to be remembered. This is a handsome and emotive book and comes with videos that can be accessed via the supplied QR codes.

ISBN 978-3-9815-9841-4

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