back to article Virgin Galactic pals up with Rolls-Royce to work on Mach 3 Concorde-style private jet that can carry up to 19 people

Virgin Galactic, Beardy Branson's ongoing spaceflight wheeze, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to develop "engine propulsion technology" for its "high speed commercial aircraft". Following Friday's announcement that SpaceShipTwo's interior will include a giant mirror so paying passengers can gurn at …

  1. Mark192 Bronze badge

    "Concorde [carried passengers in] the very best surroundings that commercial aviation had to offer"

    That ain't true. Noisy, not much space.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      @Mark192

      So, just like every other airliner, even before the budget brands started carving away everything and anything to make a couple of extra quid.

      Ahh, you want your knees in the same place on your body when we land and you also want Oxygen, yep, those are all extras.

      Would be nice to see a new leading edge aircraft design, but you have to wonder how many of those meetings could really be done over video conferencing given that its 2020 and all.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        uncomfortable

        My Aunt used to fly on Concord quite frequently and commented that it was just as uncomfortable as all the other planes but that it had the benefit of being not very comfortable for not very long. Neither my Aunt or Uncle were very tall so perhaps didn't notice the lack of headroom.

        I sadly missed out on my one possible trip when a family problem meant cancelling my air mile funded trip, at least they gave me the air miles back.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: uncomfortable

          I did ride the Concorde one time on an unforgettable day in 1991 and it was small but not uncomfortable. The leather seats were a bit wider with more legroom than a slow plane economy. Noisy in the cabin, yes but people really don't care about that.

          1. ChrisC

            Re: uncomfortable

            That was my recollection from an equally unforgettable flight in '96 - I'd describe the cabin experience as cosy, almost verging on private jet like, but certainly comfortable enough to accommodate my six foot frame in a way that the average economy seat of the era could only dream about.

      2. mark l 2 Silver badge

        My brother in law had to fly from Brisbane to Sydney only last week for a meeting, which his boss insisted he had to attend in person and couldn't be done over video links despite the COVID19 pandemic.

        He was lucky to be able to fly back to Brisbane just before they mandated a quarantine on all people coming in to Queensland from NSW due to there being several new cases of COVID19 in Sydney.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not a Concorde story

          I don'y know why you're telling us this as it was on the BBC news last week.

  2. Alister Silver badge

    The basic parameters of the initial high speed aircraft design include a targeted Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft that would have capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet

    Why? What is the point?

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      The point

      So Hollywood celebrities can get to their destination faster and spend more time lecturing us on how to save the planet.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: The point

        More for rich business executives who can expense it.

        So we'll all be subsiding it through the tax system.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: The point

        Aint that the truth!

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      This article says nothing about range, but the point is to move well-heeled people around the planet in less time than it would normally take, whilst extracting a tiny tiny drop of their personal fortune which would amount to a very large amount of money. Being a business jet, the normal air terminal wait doesn't apply, the thing can load from a limousine very shortly before its slot and off it goes.

      So a sector time from London to New York could be around 3 hours, instead of 10 or more. If I had so much money that it accumulates faster than I could spend it then I would do it.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Holmes

        As long as the range....

        is enough to get old beardy to his private island then it will be enough.

        PErsonally, it needs to be able to fly from London to Sydney over the ocean all the way (i.e. down the Atlantic, hang a left at Cape Town and over the Southern Ocean all the way to Oz.

        Naturally, that ain't gonna happen so this will be another DODB (Dead on Drawing Board) project.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: As long as the range....

          Projects don't become DODB because of your personal requirements.

          1. seven of five Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: As long as the range....

            That is sooooo mean.

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: As long as the range....

          Why would you deprive the rich oil shekes of Dubai the chance to fly in this wonderful machine? Are you some kind of ist-o-phobe? thats not very PC of you.

          Not that I'm down with PC People anyhow. Then again neither are the People who would ever fly in such a thing. But, they would deffinitly tell others how to enjoy the PC way of life.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Why?"

      To get to those private islands, of course.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        You mean like Little Saint James?...

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      The point is to sell to *private* customers, who then have the advantage of being able to get where they want to go in better than 1/3 the time they can manage currently. There are a small but significant number of wealthy people who would value such a saving of time very highly, so it is a perfectly viable product with currently no competition.

      Airlines are not interested in faster aircraft (indeed most run their existing aircraft significantly below their maximum cruising speed), because it comes at the expense of far higher operating costs, and would not attract sufficient mass-market customers who are prepared to pay hugely more expensive ticket prices for the time advantage to make up the money. In any case, for the normal commercial traveller, the time spent on the ground in airports is likely to be longer than the time spent in the air, so shaving 8 hours off the flight time doesn't decrease the total door-to-door travel time by a large percentage. Certainly not enough to justify an additional outlay of several £1000's

      Private jets can use small airports that are quicker to get to from where the passengers live, and do not have long queues, onerous security checks, long waiting times for departure or to collect luggage at the destination. Thus the flight time is a far higher percentage of total journey time than it is for us plebs.

      1. AK565

        I think the key phrase is "small airports". If one is in the suburbs the drive out to an uncrowded ex-urb airport as opposed to a metro can result in less door-to-door travel time and less time queing.

  3. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Afterburners

    ‘ The engine became unique as the only power plant in aviation history to use an afterburner on a civilian airliner.’

    The Soviet Union’s Tu-144 used afterburners as well and needed them to maintain high speed flight unlike Concorde which could cruise without afterburners.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Afterburners

      Concorde would use them to take off, switch them off for the climb. Then it would light them again for the push through transonic and then switch them off for supercruise.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Afterburners

        Supercruise IS a cool word!

      2. Klimt's Beast Would

        Re: Afterburners - IT support?

        Have you tried turning it off and then on again?

        Requested icon: sticky fingers

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Afterburners

      Why not call it by its proper name there comrade? Its Concordski...

    3. Spanners Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Afterburners

      Not the only one. I'm not sure if we can count anything from the USSR as "civilian" but someone stuck afterburners on a Falcon 20.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl1tzsLlUAo

      It was a civilian aircraft even if that one was owned bt the USCG

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Hollywood celebrities can get to their destination faster

    and spend more time lecturing us on how to save the planet.

    You scoff.

    That's a significant percentage of their target market you're talking about.

    Clearly at 6-16 it's not exactly the SST for the rest of us. :=(

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Short and sweet.

    Do we REALLY need this?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Short and sweet.

      Of course not, we don't REALLY need any aircraft.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Short and sweet.

        Except to move novel viruses or, more specifically, their vectors around the planet. It was mass aviation that got us into this mess.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Short and sweet.

          Spanish flu ran round the world in 1918 just fine, without the benefit of mass aviation.

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Short and sweet.

          Ok explain the Spanish Flu of 1918 before the advent of mass commercial aviation then?

          1. this

            Re: Short and sweet.

            They used boats. Slower, but just as effective.

            1. Daniel Bower

              Re: Short and sweet.

              Probably more effective as people were in very close proximity for far longer sailing around than flying...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Short and sweet.

              They used boats. Slower, but just as effective.

              They still do, they're just a lot bigger now and I mean a LOT - some of these cruise ships are ginormous. That said, maybe I should say "were" because the one cruise company that decided to resume business is already reported to have a Covid19 outbreak on board, QED..

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Short and sweet.

            Viruses are carried by people not aircraft.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Short and sweet.

              Read what I wrote. "more specifically their vectors". That's people.

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Short and sweet.

            "Ok explain the Spanish Flu of 1918"

            WWI

            Lots of soldiers from all over the world brought together and then dispersed. I thought that was common knowledge.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Short and sweet.

              Not necessarily true: The first wave came in early 1918 when a stalemate was looming and most of the warring population were permanently entrenched. Field hospitals had to be enlarged and repatriations were curtailed.

              Incidentally, it's a misnomer that the virus originated in Spain or even Europe at all. That tag likely stems from the fact that Spain's press was still relatively free to report the original outbreak whereas the majority of the Europe's was tightly restricted to protect soldier's morale.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Short and sweet.

      I think yes, just another way to part fools and their money, generate jobs, part more fools from their money?

      Fleecin' rubes... no finer feeling, especially rich rubes!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Short and sweet.

        "this" is a pr spin to get beardy (and RR) back in the public eye when it comes to airline bailouts

      2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

        "part fools and their money" Almost nobody who travels like this pays with their own money...

        ... mostly it comes, either directly or indirectly, from tax payers. Lucky us...

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Short and sweet.

        Yes thats the point... Very rich fools, who want to get toplaces very fast.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Short and sweet.

          How are they fools?

    3. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Short and sweet.

      Do we really need the wheel? I mean I can walk wherever i need to go, and heck if i need to carry something heavy i can just stick it on the Ox over there. Wheels? bah! Do we REALLY need them...

      OK, to be less facetious, WE may not need this specific aircraft, but if they crack Supersonic flight without being massively loud, and whilst being comparably energy efficient to a standard flight, then eventually that tech will appear in our regular civilian jets. I mean we didnt jump from the Wright Brothers to the 747. You need these in between steps, and if rich buggers want to spend their money funding that tech development, then I'm all for it... And even if it doesnt work out, at least some of that rich people cash has made its way into various designers pockets, so I'm failing to see a downside here...

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Short and sweet.

        I think physics is stacked against it, both regarding sound and energy efficiency.

        If anything I think commercial aircraft speed has gone down the last decades, ever so slightly. It saves a bit of fuel, and with all the time wasted at the security circus anyway who notes?

        I have tried to calculate the door to door average speed from my mum's in DK, with train to the airport, change of plane somewhere (with 1h connection), to here in the Algarve. In several cases it was less than 200km/h. Any private jet could at least double that, all included.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Short and sweet.

        Speaking of that delight. the 747 is dead. 1969 - 2020 RIP

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Short and sweet.

        I mean we didn't jump from the Wright Brothers to the 747

        .. although the 737MAX appeared to have resurrected some of those early Wright brother results ..

        Joking aside, I agree with you. There are not that many other routes to develop new airline tech - this way the very well off end up funding new developments.

        Those who don't like rich people getting around a lot quicker can console themselves with the thought that the aforementioned rich will be doing so on new tech, so they'll act as guinea pigs, testing it before the tech ends up in regular commercial flight :).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Do we REALLY need this?"

      My thought exactly -- "just what we need"...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "Do we REALLY need this?"

        I want one! Says Boris.

        An ideal showcase project for my Brexit Research Agency says Dom.

        We could nod it through under the Covid 19 emergency legislation without any scrutiny says someone from the Cabinet Office

    5. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Short and sweet.

      Do you really expect the Bollywood elite to have to sit in the same plane WITH YOU for 18h+?

  6. Greybearded old scrote

    Afterburners

    The next (cancelled) version of Concorde wasn't going to need afterburners, so they shouldn't be necessary now. No citation, because the best I could find was one of those bloody awful Wix sites.

    As for the noise, the Boeing 747s of early '70s were just as loud on take-off. It's why the opposition to Concordes at New York failed.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Afterburners

      It might be using reheat partly for fun and to make it a more exciting ride, the acceleration for take off and climb out push on Concorde was an experience on its own.

      1. Roger Greenwood

        Re: Afterburners

        "the acceleration for take off" makes sense as it has a much faster take off speed than conventional aircraft. Runway can get used up awfully fast.....

        p.s. why is it not called a Vulcan2?

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Afterburners

          p.s. why is it not called a Vulcan2?

          No space left for the bottled sunshine.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Afterburners

          The Concorde wing requires rotation to a bigger angle for take off so the passengers are already feeling their weight pushed into the seat back, then its reheat thrust which doesn't relent after it has left the ground gives a feeling of going up much more steeply that you are. My flight was a joyride round the Bay of Biscay, so we we had no hold luggage and a light fuel load, which meant it went even better.

          1. ChrisC

            Re: Afterburners

            "My flight was a joyride round the Bay of Biscay, so we we had no hold luggage and a light fuel load, which meant it went even better"

            Though if it was anything like the one I was on, the lack of hold luggage and fuel was at least partly offset by all the extra bottles of champagne they managed to cram into the galleys - even after we'd all been plied with bubbly for the majority of the flight, there were still enough unopened ones left over for the cabin crew to be handing out as extra souvenirs as we disembarked...

      2. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Afterburners

        Like the supercars that inject petrol into the exhaust when you lift off to make it bang and flame.

        If some new technology comes out of this then it may have some purpose. The only upside is that in the current environment small aircraft with more space (fewer self load freight per cubic m) are likely to be more viable. Something this small is just for the mega-rich and is of no use to the normal person. You cannot really see it popping up like a Cessna 172 on your local airfield.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Afterburners

          If built I'm confident there will be loads of these popping into my local airfield, FAB!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Afterburners

      Concorde was noisy, I was on Digital course held in an office ion reading centre on a high floor (you can't expect details it was a long time ago), come 11am (or whatever time) the instructor just stopped talking as Concorde went over.

      Living in Wokingham at the time used to be good to see it going over.

      I did get to fly to New York on Concorde once, I remember it being comfortable, as ling as you sat down but noisy. Then again I arrived in New York an hour before I left Heathrow slightly drunk...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Afterburners

        Concorde engines were necessarily pure turbojets, which are loud. They were loud on all the early passenger jets that were powered by turbojets or low bypass engines.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Afterburners

          These days there’s plenty of supersonic turbofans, as fitted to most fighter jets today.

          Concorde used the Olympus because a lot of the development of that engine into a supersonic capable power plant had been done on the TSR2. The French company SNECMA did the afterburner, instead of the TSR2’s one. Concorde needed only a small afterburner.

          Just a few years later the RN was flying F4 Phantoms with RR Speys. The age of supersonic turbofans had arrived pretty much as Concorde went into service.

      2. dvd

        Re: Afterburners

        I was at the Reading Rock Festival in '81 when Concorde flew over.

        Couldn't hear it...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Afterburners

        I went to secondary school in Winnersh.

        whenever on the playing fields we'd always look up when Concorde flew over and knew exactly what the time was.

        You couldn't help but look up, despite seeing and hearing it hundreds of times already.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      The next (cancelled) version of Concorde wasn't going to need afterburnersq

      True.

      The 17th Concorde would have improved aerodynamics to the point that the it could power through M1 (when there's a big jump in drag that subsides past about M1.5) without burners.

      The tough parts the the noise and the drag now that you can't buy straight turbojets, they are all low BP ratio fans (I looked it up. Even the ones on the SR71 and the F-111 are actually low BPR fans There's a J58 patent about it.).

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: The next (cancelled) version of Concorde wasn't going to need afterburnersq

        Well, the SR71 was a bit different, because the bypassed air was fed back into the exhaust rather than going around the engine to provide thrust directly. Apparently the idea for doing this was spur of the moment. They knew they had to bleed large amounts of air out of the compressor at high speed because of the ram compression the inlet was getting. They were thinking of just dumping the air. But a moment of inspiration led to them changing the design so as to put the air back into the engine at the afterburner, and this is what led to it being termed a turbo ram jet, and added usefully to the efficiency.

        Though the bulk of that power plant's efficiency came from the inlet compression. The inlets provided heaps of compression, meaning that there was far less need to use engine power to run the actual compressor itself. So that power went out the back as thrust. The faster it went, the better this worked.

        Concorde did effectively the same thing, though with a totally different inlet design philosophy.

        Incidentally, the inlet design of Concorde, F15, B1A, Panavia Tornado, various Migs and Sukhois - sloped cut square inlets - are like that because it makes the inlets fairly robust to upsets in the air flow. The round inlets of the SR71, operating on the limit at the best of times - were sensitive to airflow disturbances, causing the infamous un-starts.

        So the SR71 inlet was all about peak performance at any cost, Concorde's was all about good performance without risking spilling the champagne.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same day return taxi

    Ideal for those billionaires needing to nip across the Atlantic or similar for dinner (and back again the same day).

    ;-)

  8. Ryan 7

    It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

    Their tech and Virgin's resources might have produced some magic. I half expect RR to lumber around for a while, haemorrhage a bunch of cash, then cancel the project.

    1. a_builder

      Re: It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

      If anyone has the tech RR do.

      I’d be more concerned at the paper tiger that is Virgin TBH

    2. Andrew Newstead

      Re: It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

      Royce’s have been putting money into Reaction engines and investigating the use RE’s precoolers with conventional Jet engines. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that technology being involved in this project.

    3. steelpillow Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

      I wonder if they have missed out. They have no production facilities, while R-R is one of their heavy investors. R-R have limited choices:

      1. Develop a Mach 3 commercial engine out of thin air.

      2. Copy the venerable Pratt & Whitney J58 hybrid turbo/ramjet technology of the Blackbirds.

      3. (Hypothetically) Accidentally know about the classified US engines of the hypothetical Aurora replacement for the Blackbirds.

      4. License the Reaction Engines SABRE and get a healthy shareholder's rebate on every license fee paid.

      I'd say the SABRE option looks way the most cost-effective.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        "They have no production facilities"

        Actually they do.

        They invested in a large vacuum furnace a few years ago capable of doing a full size SABRE pre-cooler.

        They also have specialist skills in ceramics needed for other HX's in the design.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a shame that Reaction Engines missed out on this

      Yes on paper Virgin and REL's relationship seems made in heaven.

      Let's say Alan Bond doesn't suffer fools gladly.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Full circle?

    In the mid-eighties I worked on a project called HOTOL - a planned stratosphere capable aircraft that could operate as a jet at normal altitudes or a sort of super speed rocketty thing in a high altitude rarefied atmosphere. Lovely notion, but sadly, it never got off the ground.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "In the mid-eighties I worked on a project called HOTOL"

      I rather doubt it if that was all you understood of HOTOL.

      You might have passed a model of it at some time.

  10. 45RPM

    Has ol’ beardy not heard that we’re fscking up the environment, and toys like this have no practical benefit - they only accelerate the damage?

    That’s not to say that I won’t tolerate any damage. I’m not in favour of going backwards - but we need to weigh up the cost / benefit carefully. For example, exploration of space gets a tick from me, as does the building of solar, wind and advanced new nuclear reactors. I’d also be in favour of building advanced new sailing ships for the transport of goods which don’t need to be delivered quickly.

    On the other hand, I’d put a tick in the ‘hell no, are you mad?’ box for nuclear weapons, fossil fuel guzzlers like supercars and SUVs, social media - and Branson's new toy.

    1. John Jennings Bronze badge

      there is a problem there - what if you researched a fuel guzzler that was twice as efficient as currently - total damage to environment (BUILD/RUN/RECYCLE)? that would likely build more benefit to the environment than ripping up all the lithium and obscure minerals from the Congo for batteries in the current tech - nevermind the strain on the grid and investment in power production that mass adoption would cause...

      Bransons bird will likely never get off the ground - but - it might develop technologies/techniques which improve the way things are done currently.... so keep on trucking, I say.

      1. 45RPM

        According to the RAC, the average journey distance in the UK is a little under 10 miles. Granted, some people are unable to cycle for health reasons or because they’re carrying heavy loads - but they represent a minority of journeys - and even fewer people need a large vehicle (any vehicle bigger than, say, a Focus). So it isn’t the fuel source that I object to so much as the guzzliness of the vehicle - whether guzzling electricity, petrol or diesel. And a small car will always be more efficient than an SUV or a supercar, and a bicycle will always be more efficient than that.

  11. jonathan keith Silver badge

    and fuelled with..?

    So this is going to be entirely powered by renewables, right? Right?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: and fuelled with..?

      Beard trimmings perhaps?

      1. harmjschoonhoven
        Thumb Up

        Re: and fuelled with..?

        No beard trimmings but waste coffee grounds which contains coffee oil, a clean biofuel.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fifth of a concorde

    How does it compare to Concorde for fuel efficiency?

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: A fifth of a concorde

      Should be far more efficient...if not somethings seriously wrong.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A fifth of a concorde

        Carrying 1/10 as many passengers it needs to be 1000% better

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: A fifth of a concorde

          Carrying 1/10 as many passengers it needs to be 1000% better

          Not really, as Concorde was a commercial service aircraft. These intended to be private jets.

        2. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: A fifth of a concorde

          It'll never happen.

          If first class travel means being able to stand up in the cabin it'll need to be almost as big as Concorde to meet supersonic design requirements and carry the fuel for a useful range. (Concorde has a cabin not much wider than a gulfstream biz-jet).

          Concorde wasn't allowed to overfly any large populated landmass while supersonic due to the shockwave, I can't see this getting more favourable treatment unless it manages to not drag a supersonic shockwave behind it.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: A fifth of a concorde

            There are loads of business jets where cabin space is restricted. This thing would be a business jet where cabin space is restricted for much less time.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: A fifth of a concorde

            > I can't see this getting more favourable treatment unless it manages to not drag a supersonic shockwave behind it.

            Or Boeing ensure that they have a friend in the EPA in the same way as the FAA.

            "However a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists, and had them all shot"

  13. cheesey01

    not sub-orbital?

    I have a spaceship that (just about) gets me to space, what else do I need? A supersonic plane? Not very ambitious - surely Spaceship 3 should be developed for sub-orbital travel instead?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: not sub-orbital?

      I propose the name Spindrift.

      Icon - Giant looking for little people in his pockets.

  14. streaky

    RR..

    .. went in deep on REL's series B, just throwing that out there.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    ...delta-wing aircraft...

    The pic would seem to confirm that, so not the same wing layout at all. Concorde famously sported an ogee wing which gave supersonic performance without compromising low speed lift. The only drawback was the monumental angle of attack required at low speeds for takeoff and landing, necessitating the "droop snoot".

    I was sat in an MGB roadster in traffic on the A4 at the 312 roundabout when Concorde went over on final into LHR. When it got about 1/2 mile ahead of me I got pressed down into the seat by the wash off that wing. At high attack angles it creates a sheet of air behind it, confined by the vortices from the leading edges. This acts as an extension to the wing, generating additional lift. You can really feel it when underneath the thing.

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