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Concorde aircraft

26 Jun

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Thirty years ago Concorde entered revenue service. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Scale Aircraft Modelling has presented Rolando Ugolini’s two-part artwork event on the type. Now it has teamed up with www. airlinerart. net and Whirlybird Decals to offer the first prize of a signed Ugolini print, and a Whirlybird Decals Concorde sheet for the four runners up answering the following question correctly: One Concorde was operated by three airlines. What was its registration?

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Specifying your choice of airline from SAM’s Concorde artwork for the print and whether your chosen decal scale is 1:144 or 1:72

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Part 2 of Rolando Ugolini’s spectacular visual tribute to Concorde illustrates the aircraft in the colours of airlines that placed options or orders for the type, or showed a fairly serious interest in operating it. The reasons for Concorde’s failure to secure orders other than those from Air france and British Airways are well documented and this feature represents a ‘what if scenario. What if… an American SST had gone into production, would Concorde then have sold in more significant numbers? What if… fuel prices had not become inflated, making Concorde more economical to operate? The artwork here shows how Concorde might have looked in the original colour schemes envisaged by the airlines and its manufacturers when orders were placed, hence schemes are illustrated on both pre-production and production-standard Concordes. ВОАС British Overseas Airways Corporation
BOAC was nationalised before Concorde entered service. The airline’s publicity machine obviously had no concept of the practicalities of operating aircraft that could fly at sustained supersonic speeds, since it used lots of dark colour and natural metal in its artists’ impressions of the type. Concorde’s skin had to be covered in a specially developed white paint to accommodate changes in fuselage length due to kinetic heating and to dissipate the heat generated during supersonic flight.
BOAC British Overseas Airways Corporation
Ultimately, the iconic BOAC scheme would have had a much sleeker blue stripe on overall white for Concorde. It would have been unlikely that the nose would have been all dark blue since, apart form the engines, this area, together with the leading edges of the wings, was subjected to the most extreme temperature changes in flight.

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Air Canada

Air Canada placed options for four Concordes in 1965. With most of its intercontinental routes over oceans and many domestic routes over sparsely populated areas, and with the vast size of the country, Air Canada just might have found a suitable niche in which to operate Concorde with some success.

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Air Canada

Would Air Canada have been able to continue operating Concorde through its financial troubles in the 1990s? It seems unlikely. At best its Concorde fleet might have lasted long enough to wear the carrier’s dark tail scheme, before being sold off.

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Air India

With its many long international routes, Concorde would have been a very useful aircraft for Air India, which placed options for two in 1965. A problem that may have arisen was that many stages of these routes would have been over populated areas, making a fully supersonic route network unlikely and reducing Concorde’s effectiveness.

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Air India

Whether such a small fleet – two in the case of Air India – of high technology aircraft would have remained viable in service for long is debatable. Concorde needed far more man hours of servicing time per aircraft than conventional airliners. The leasing of Concordes from other airlines to cover for maintenance schedules and technical problems would likely have been a necessity, making it even more expensive to operate such a small fleet.
American airlines
Half of the airlines that placed options and orders for Concorde were American. American Airlines ordered six aircraft in 1965 and its classic lightning flash scheme would have given the fleet a unique look. The predominantly natural metal scheme would have given way to overall white.

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American airlines
AA continually expanded its international routes through the 1970s and Concorde would almost certainly have played a major part in this, although in 1975 the airline exchanged its Australasian routes with Pan Am for Caribbean schedules. AA might therefore have tried to unload a few Concordes on to Pan Am, especially since it suffered a prolonged financial slump during the 1970s.

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CAAC Civil Aviation Administration of China
China signed a preliminary agreement on 24 July 1971 (hence only a production-type aircraft is illustrated) for two Concordes. A third aircraft was added to the order a month later. China was yet another country with vast distances between many major cities and many international routes over water, making supersonic services a real possibility, but CAAC eventually cancelled its orders.

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Braniff International Airlines
The only American airline to operate Concorde and technically ‘own’ a fleet as well, albeit only one aircraft at any time, Braniff initially ordered three machines in 1965, with each to be painted in a different colour of the famous Girard livery of the time. At least the wings would have been white, although the nose may have got a little too hot!

Braniff International Airlines
Braniff operated Air France and British Airways Concordes on its Washington to Dallas service and created some very convincing publicity shots of its intended colour scheme (illustrated here) for the type, although no aircraft actually carried it. The Concorde fleet would almost certainly have been sold off after the airline filed for ‘Chapter 11’ in 1982.

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Continental Airlines
Continental showed an early interest in not only Concorde, but other SST projects, and both Concorde and the Boeing SST feature in the company’s publicity material of the period. Options for three Concordes were placed in 1964.

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Continental Airlines
As one of the more stable of the big American airlines it is possible that Continental would have kept its Concordes in service to the turn of the century. The gold pin-stripe and spinning ‘World’ tail logo of the current Continental livery would reflect the aircraft’s capabilities very aptly.

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