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Concorde may fly again by the end of the decade

Concorde may fly again by the end of the decade


A supersonic classic, back from the dead

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Concorde, one of only two commercial supersonic jets ever created, may take to the skies again if an ambitious and dedicated crew of enthusiasts is successful in bringing it back from the dead. Club Concorde, as the group is called, is comprised of former pilots and frequent Concorde fliers and charterers that have kept the spirit of the plane alive over the years. The group now thinks it has enough cash in the bank from private investment to both open a Concorde tourist attraction in London and restore another Concorde for use in air shows and for private charters, according to a report in The Telegraph today.

Concorde, constructed by French aerospace company Aérospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation, was retired after 27 years of commercial service in 2003 due to a number of factors. Those included the plane's only crash in 2000 and Airbus, the successor to Aérospatiale, ultimately deciding to stop maintenance on the aircraft. A handful of the planes have since become idle displays at airports in the United Kingdom and France. Concorde Club, with around £160 million, wants to purchase two planes located in Paris airports. The first would be turned into a £16-a-person tourist attraction near the London Eye ferris wheel on the waterfront of the River Thames. The proposed attraction would include a restaurant featuring meals originally served on Concorde flights.

Supersonic flights are gaining newfound momentum

The more ambitious initiative is to purchase the second plane, have it restored, and get it in the air once more. Concorde Club president Paul James is aiming to resume flights by 2019, while the tourist attraction would be opened around 2017 if all goes according to plan. British Airways and Air France have no plans to resume commercial Concorde flights, meaning it would likely cost quite a lot of money to grab a private ticket if and when the plane gets off the ground again.

There are a good number of near-flight-ready Concorde aircraft out there, making a Concorde revival more realistic than it sounds. Granted, groups in the past have tried and failed to revive Concorde. Helping the cause this time around are a number of other aviation companies that have begun toying with the idea of supersonic flights. Airbus is looking into a "Concorde Mark 2" supersonic jet that would ferry passengers between New York and London in an hour. Meanwhile, Boston-based Spike Aerospace's S-512 supersonic jet project, which would encase the interior of a $80 million jet with curved displays, is supposed to enter the manufacturing phase by 2018.

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