This is the only picture ever taken of Concorde flying at Mach 2 at 2,172 km/h (1,350 mph). This unique picture was taken in April 1985 by Adrian Meredith from a Tornado fighter jet, which only rendezvoused with Concorde for just 4 minutes over the Irish Sea. The RAF Tornado rapidly running out of fuel, and was struggling to keep up with Concorde.
The Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet that operated until 2003. It had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04, with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued flying for the next 27 years.
In 1953, Col. Scott Crossfield would don a flight suit, parachute and helmet, then be secured to an ejection seat inside the cramped cockpit of a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. After weeks of planning and preparation, a four chamber rocket engine would thrust Crossfield into the history books, making him the first human being to exceed twice the speed of sound. During that golden age of flight test, few could dream that we would one day sip Champagne and watch movies aboard a double sonic airliner. Concorde would make that dream a reality.
The joint Aérospatiale / British Aircraft Corporation Concorde flew at Mach 2, allowing passengers to enjoy opulence and comfort as they traveled from New York to London in 3.5 hours, not the 8 hours of a conventional airliner. Concorde flew for more than three decades as the first supersonic transport. It truly made the world a smaller place.
One of only 20 built, tail number F-BVFA was the first ship delivered to Air France. She would roll up 17,820 flight hours over the course of 6,966 flights, culminating in one last landing at Washington Dulles International Airport for permanent display at Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, as the first Concorde to be permanently displayed in the United States.
The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane in the world, this huge badass aircraft can carry 525 people in the 3 class configuration (economy, business and first class) or have 853 seats in an all-economy configuration.
Emirates is the biggest operator of this giant although the introduction of the happened with Singapore Airlines in 2007.
The Short Sperrin - August 1951, an insurance policy for the truly space-age endeavors being undertaken at Handley Page and Avro - only two were built.
The Vickers Valiant -
May 1951, a very capable but less advanced aircraft, crucially available much sooner than the competition.
The Avro Vulcan - August 1952, the most iconic and enduring design, rugged and highly maneuverable at high altitude, they were effectively immune to interception by early jets.
The Handley Page Victor -
December 1952, with its
crescent-shaped swept wing it was the most aerodynamically advanced aircraft to fly at that time. Downward lift on the tailplane also meant that in calm winds the aircraft would level itself out and land smoothly without input from the pilot.
The Vickers Valiant B.2 -
September 1953, an all black one-off badass independently developed by Vickers.
Capable of 640 mph (1030 km/h) at sea-level it could even outrun the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. It was scrapped in 1958 however, ironically as new missiles would force the ill-suited V-Bombers to low altitude - where this thing thrived. When Vickers test pilot Brian Trubshaw saw the bomber’s muscular shape in the Vickers design office, he signalled his approval, then added “And paint the fucker black”. Best of the lot.
The TSR-2 -
September 1964, it represented the same generational jump in capability as the Vulcan and Victor had from the Lancaster. As an all-weather mach 2+ low level penetrator, the aircraft was groundbreaking. Spiraling costs, a hostile press
and an idiotic Labour government however, all contrived to steal a truly magnificent aircraft and valuable export product from the nation. As James Holland said: ”…it’s the culmination of 20 years of being at the top of their game - makes you wanna weep".