Our meeting on Friday 4th October was once again very well attended to hear an illustrated talk by Tony Buttler. Tony is an engineer but has written a book about the Concorde airliner and came a long distance to deliver his fascinating talk.
Books that were available sold very well after Tony gave an outline of some of the design ideas submitted before a final configuration was decided on.
Concorde was an ambitious Anglo-French venture. It was undoubtedly a boost to aviation design and innovation and that may have been its chief advantage. Designs and ideas were submitted by several British aircraft companies, including Bristol, Vickers Armstrong and De Havilland. This was in the 50's before the government rationalised the British aircraft industry, mainly combining leading companies in the name of the British Aircraft Corporation, (or BAC).
Unfortunately the Concorde was a financial failure and with the oil crisis of 1973, which saw the huge increase in fuel its future was bleak.
Eventually disaster struck when a French Concorde taking off from Paris struck a piece of metal which had fallen off another airliner. One of the tyres was punctured and a piece of rubber hit the rear of the fuselage with the force of a missile causing a fire and subsequent crash with the loss of all on board. The inquest on the cause of the fire concluded that the pilot had authorised considerably more fuel to be loaded than was necessary and that fuel was in the rear of the aircraft where the piece of the tyre hit the aircraft.
It will go down as a brave attempt to further aviation in the 20th century. A vote of thanks was given by our chairman, Martyn Cook.