As the world’s first supersonic airliner, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial operations for British Airways and Air France until 2003.
She regularly allowed passengers to travel across the Atlantic in just 3½ hours – with a record-breaking flight time from London Heathrow to New York JFK achieved in 1996 of just 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.
Concorde landed and took-off with a very high angle of attack. A fixed, streamlined nose, whilst necessary to achieve bullet-like supersonic speeds, would have completely obscured the pilot’s view of the runway to about 5 degrees on take-off and landing. And so her “droop nose” was invented…
The drooping nose could be configured during the different stages of the flight, accompanied by a moving visor that retracted into the nose prior to being lowered. There are 4 positions of the combined visor and nose. During take-off and landing the nose fairing and visor, which it houses, were lowered to improve the pilots’ field of vision. In flight, the nose and visor were raised to give clean, aerodynamic lines; the visor also protected the windshield from extreme frictional heating.
Concorde’s hydraulic system provided the power for raising or lowering the visor and droop nose. The movement was obtained by a system of selector valves, jacks and locks; using the green hydraulic system for normal operations and the yellow system for standby operations with a manually operated emergency free fall if both failed.
Only 20 Concordes were ever built and of those, 18 still exist today. Discover more here.
Explore the world of Concorde at Heritage Concorde