Not so many of us can claim to have flown on Concorde and now it is no longer in service, the opportunity has gone for ever. Or has it? Brooklands Museum at Weybridge now has the plane sitting on the runway waiting for you to board. Just pay your fare and you are off and, not only that, but the fare has been reduced from £6,000 to only £4!
The first production Concorde has painstakingly been reconstructed and now stands in all its glory after being transported in varying parts to the site. In fact parts of the body were originally made on the same site which used to be BAC Weybridge. Think how often it flew the Atlantic route and wonder at the engineering and beautiful design.
The ‘Concorde Experience’ as it is now known means that visitors are taken by stewards into the plane and escorted on a grand tour of its interior. After being shown to a seat in the cabin you prepare for take-off. The pilot powers up the four engines and sets off down the runway. It is soon up to 100mph, 200mph and then at 250mph the nose is raised to its 13 degrees and the plane soars into the air. The engines are powered down to some degree to reduce noise level over the city and then it is let loose to climb to its height. 30,000 feet is easily achieved and then up to 60,000 feet – some 12 miles high – just on the edge of space to reduce to the minimum the drag of air on the plane. It is now going at twice the speed of sound.
It is such a shame that the aircraft is still on the ground! What you will have seen is a simulation of the experience on a giant screen inside the cabin, but it is still exciting. It is sad that the plane is no longer flying!
The Concorde design dates back to the late 1950’s and is unique. The advanced computers we have now were not available and during that time the best computers used valves, not transistors or chips. The designers used slide rules for their calculations. Flying at those types of speeds brought enormous stress on the body of the plane and had so many new consequential problems. The exterior of the plane becomes incredibly hot, upwards of 120 degrees, so that passengers inside might cook! The heat also causes much expansion to the body shell. The jet engines are incapable of taking in air at 1,350 mph and ways had to be found to slow down the air before it entered the engines.
After only a few weeks of exhibition some 10,000 people have already taken on the ‘Experience’ – it is well worth the sensation. Remember to book your flight – ‘take offs’ are at regular intervals throughout every day (phone 01932 857381).