Find out why supersonic air travel never worked, and eventually led to the most ambitious air travel project being scrapped. Meet the Concorde.
In the 1950s, air travel took a huge leap forward in commercial aviation technology with the manufacturing of jet engines for passenger flight. Jetliners now offered a far more comfortable experience as commercial planes could now fly above the weather, which resulted in far less turbulence, and the flight time across the Atlantic was drastically reduced.
Aeroplane companies quickly hopped aboard and adopted this new technology to offer the latest in air travel. However, around a decade later, the British started working on a new project which they believed would be the future of commercial air travel. They wanted a plane that could go much faster than commercial jet engine planes, and could cross the Atlantic and return back in the time it takes a normal commercial plane to cover half that distance. In order to successfully pull this engineering project off, British Airways teamed up with Air France to develop what would later become the worlds most iconic commercial plane ever, the Concorde.
After 14 years of development, the Concorde was ready for its maiden commercial flight from London to New York, successfully completing it in just 3.5 hours.
Despite the Concorde's record flight time success, the public submitted thousands of complaints on the same day due to the excessive noise of the supersonic commercial jet. It was so loud in fact, that it was measured to be twice as loud as a regular jetliner of the time. The Concorde also broke the sound barrier, which resulted in ear-piercingly loud sonic booms and, because of this, numerous countries banned supersonic commercial flight. Furthermore, the Concorde used twice as much oil and fuel than that of a jetliner, which raised environmental concerns. Then, in the 1970s, there was an oil price spike which ended up costing British Airways and Air France a fortune more.
After a few years, British Airways and Air France realised that they had to change up a few things in order for the Concorde project to continue being viable, as by now the Concorde was banned from flying over many countries. What Concorde decided to do was change how they marketed their services by keeping Concorde flight exclusive, offering 5-star in-flight service and charging much more per ticket.
However, despite British Airways and Air France's attempts at keeping the Concorde project alive, they were forced to cancel it entirely in the early 2000s.
Take a look at the video below by YouTube channel, Mustard, on Why You Couldn't Afford To Fly Concorde.