Supersonic history

SUN JOURNAL

October 24, 2003|By SUN STAFF

Supersonic history

1956: Research begins in Europe to design a supersonic airliner.

1962: British and French agree to a joint venture to manufacture a supersonic jet.

1965: Construction of two prototypes begins.

1967: First test version unveiled.

1969: A supersonic flight from Toulouse, southern French city where the Concorde was built, to Le Bourget Airport near Paris.

1973: Maiden flight of the first commercially produced Concorde. Oil crisis causes fuel prices to skyrocket. Several air carriers cancel orders for the gas-guzzling Concorde.

1976: Jan. 21. first passenger flights begin: British Airways from London to Bahrain and Air France from Paris to Rio de Janerio, Brazil. On May 24, regular service between London and Paris to Washington begins.

2000: On July 25, Air France Flight 4590 en route to New York crashes shortly after takeoff outside Paris, killing 113 people. Air France Concordes are grounded; British Airways suspends Concorde operations.

2001: Service resumes on both airlines.

2002: Engine, electrical and structural problems begin to plague the aircraft.

2003: In February, engine problems force an emergency landing.

In April, Air France and British Airways announce that they will retire the Concorde fleet this year.

On May 31, Air France's final Concorde commercial flight, New York to Paris. The plane will be put on display at the French Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget.

Today marks the final commercial flight of the British Concorde, from New York to London.

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