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Aviation Dollar History

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Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Aviation Dollars
2004 Aviation DollarThe Concorde

The Concorde has been selected to grace the front of Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce's 2004 Aviation Dollar because of its unique design and service, being the only design of aircraft to enter the commercial airline service.

Its beginnings started in 1956 when a Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee was formed to study the feasibility of building a supersonic airliner. In 1961 British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation of France held discussions on such an aircraft. In 1962 cooperation from both the British and French governments was called for, as the building of a supersonic aircraft would be too costly for either country to finance alone. In 1964 a management group was put in place by both governments to oversee the building of the Concorde, both Countries to share equally in the cost and any profits. The stage was now set for the building of the world's first supersonic transporter.

In 1965 work began on the production airframe and other components of the Concorde, with two prototypes to be built, one for each country. On March 2nd. 1969 the French prototype made its first takeoff run, followed by the British prototype on April 9th. Both aircraft were on display at that year's Paris International Air show, which drew wonderment from the international aviation community and the public sector.

2004 Coin Back
In February 1970, the new improved Olympus 593 engine, which would enable the Concorde to reach supersonic speeds, was tested and ran for 300 continuous hours, which would be the equivalent of 100 flights across the Atlantic for this aircraft. With the engine reliability proven, the first pre- production model rolled off the assembly line in Filton, England, in September 1971. In December that year the aircraft met American airport noise limits and the stage was set for supersonic Trans- Atlantic passenger flights. By 1975 after exhaustive testing and redesign, the aircraft was ready for some additional testing and Gander International Airport was chosen as a test location. This aircraft then became a familiar sight to Gander residents, drawing crowds to watch it take-off and land. Also, in that year the fourth production aircraft, number 204, made two return trips from London to Gander in a single day.

2004 Coin Front
In 1976, after twenty years of design, testing, and production challenges, the aircraft began commercial flights, carrying many of the rich and famous to the capitals of the world in complete luxury, providing gourmet meals and service. It could cross the Atlantic from Paris to New York in just over three hours, four hours faster than a 747 aircraft. This aircraft, billed by some as the sleekest aircraft ever build, is 168 feet long, powered by four Olympus 973 engines, each developing 38,000 pounds of thrust, enabling the Concorde to cruise at Mach 2 speed (1,336 mph/2,150 km/h), which is twice the speed of sound. The cruising altitude is between 50,000 and 60,000 feet. To give you some idea of the power of this aircraft, it can accelerate from zero to 360 km/h in only 20 seconds, which is its take-off speed. To fly round-trip on this aircraft from New York to London would cost $9,000.00 U.S.

In the years following during the testing of the Concorde, it visited Gander International Airport several times for fueling and other services. Sixteen of the production models were built before production ceased in 1979. This aircraft went into service with only two airlines, British Overseas Airways, and Air France. Apart from one fatal crash in 2000 of this aircraft proved to be the most reliable aircraft ever put into service.

The Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to have this unique and wonderful aircraft grace the front of its 2004 Aviation Dollar.