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Half a century ago, the Concorde, the first supersonic passenger airplane in history to fly commercially, was introduced to the general public. Over 27 years of operation the Concords carried more than three million people, but since 2003 the flights were discontinued. RTVI recalled the history of the legendary plane.
The abandonment of the Concords was primarily explained by economic reasons. When flying at a supersonic speed, the engines of the plane consumed too much fuel. Therefore a round-trip ticket from London to New York cost more than $10,000. For each flight the company had to find from 108 to 144 people willing to pay such money. Another reason for the cancellation of the flights was the Concorde's construction - it proved to be unsafe.
In 2000, an Air France plane crashed on takeoff from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. It caught fire as it left the runway, flew for just over a minute and crashed into a small hotel. 100 passengers, nine crew members and four hotel guests died.
As aviation expert Alexander Romanov recalls, the basic theory is that part of the tire ripped off, which punctured the fuel tank, causing a kerosene leak.
"There was no explosion, but the plane burned up very quickly after the fire," Romanov said.
After the accident, the Concords were not abandoned right away. This type of aircraft was tried to be saved. It was necessary to reinforce the tires of the landing gear, encase the fuel tanks with bulletproof Kevlar (a high-strength polymer material), improve the electrical wiring on the landing gear struts. But all this was expensive, and it was impossible to fundamentally alter the design (for example, move the landing gear struts to the rear or make the fuselage thicker). It would have been a different aircraft, which most likely would not have reached supersonic speeds. So in November 2003, the project was closed.