Sunday 24 February 2019

Sunday Snap – Supersonic

We were at the racing track for last week's Sunday Snap. I asked the name of the racing track and the answer is


Waving the chequered flag with the right answer were Kara, Anne and Mary.

This week we are popping over to the Brooklands Museum I mentioned last week. This aviation and motorsport museum this year is celebrating the 50th anniversary of both the French and British maiden flights of this famous supersonic airliner. Some of the first meetings about building such an aircraft took place at Brooklands in 1961 between the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) and the French Sud Aviation.

The first test flights took place in 1969 however despite initial interest it was hard to sell to commercial airlines. A number of orders were taken but most were later cancelled. In the end it was only Air France and British Airways who bought the new airliners. The first commercial flight took place in 21st January 1976 when it flew from Heathrow to Bahrain.

The benefit of a supersonic airliner as opposed to a subsonic one was its speed so to enable it to cover long distances in much shorter times. It had a take off speed of 250 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 1350 mph. The standard flight time for the journey between London and New York was around eight hours but this supersonic airliner could do it easily in under three and a half hours. In February 1996 it set its fastest time when it completed the route in 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

By the start of the 21st century the airliner was beginning to look old and its technology dated. It had always been expensive to run and maintain and had the reputation of being subsided by governments simply for wealthy people to travel on it. Tickets still cost around 30 times the standard air fare. Tragedy struck on 25th July 2000 when when one of its Air France versions crashed after taking off from Paris. All 100 passengers and 9 crew members on board were killed. Until then there had been no fatal accidents involving these airliners.

The decision was taken in 2003 by both Air France and British Airways to stop all flights later that year. The final flight took place on 26th November 2003 when 100 British Airways staff boarded the airliner for one last supersonic trip round the Bay of Biscay before landing at Filton Airfield just outside Bristol. It has remained there ever since as part of a visitors' display.

Its distinct design with its droop nose made it immediately recognisable. Growing up in south-west London this airliner was a frequent sight in the skies. On Friday mornings during my A-Level General Studies lesson we would hear the 'sonic boom' sound of the airliner first and then see it through the classroom window.

The model of the plane now displayed at Brooklands used to be an advertising feature at Heathrow for British Airways. Inside the museum there is one of the full-size versions of the airliner that was originally used for test flying and spares. Of the 20 that were originally built 18 still survive and are on display around the world. This week's question is

What is the name of the airliner?

We were joined last week by Sara and a rainstorm coming in over Arizona. Susan's cat found a tiny box to squeeze into. There was a ray of sunshine with a clump of daffodils found by Sarah. Kara has been travelling over the water on a trip to Ireland. Mary found the mystery carved door at Gloucester Cathedral. It's been crochet time at Anne's as she has finished her Axolotl. In Japan Minoru has been to the stunning snow festival in Sapporo. Lisa has finally made it to the Hadera River Park. Finally, Jesh has found the snow has arrived.

If you want to join in with this week's Sunday Snap then add your link to the linky below. Any theme is allowed. It doesn't have to be published today as you have until 23.55 on Friday 22nd February 2019 to join in. Grab my badge below for your blog post. Just make sure it is your photo and you hold the copyright for it.
Sunday Snap

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  1. It's definitely Concorde! We saw one at Fleet Air Arm Museum years ago. I'm now kicking myself about Brooklands from last week, as I had heard of it after all.

  2. PS I'm going to be singing Oasis Supersonic all day now.

  3. Great shot. I love to visit places like this :) Thanks for hosting.

  4. We’ve been on the Concorde there. Where I grew up in Surrey we were on the flight path. It’s such a beautiful aeroplane

  5. I remember seeing Concorde fly over when I was young - I always wonder if it felt any different than a normal plane - at the very least it must have felt more glamorous!

  6. I can finally comment, not sure what was going on with my phone. It is concorde and what a great photo. Hope you are having a great week x


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