For more than 27 years, Concorde took passengers to their destinations faster than a bullet could fly.
We pretty much all assumed that Concorde would be around forever, and that we would get to fly it some day, to travel at supersonic speeds. Additionally, in all of its 27 years, the Concorde never had an accident. The Concorde was a perfect symbol of 20th century optimism.
Concorde’s last flight was on October 24th of 2003. Concorde was always a unique mix of beauty, advanced technology and perception problems that ultimately doomed the jet. In 2000, an Air France Concorde ran over a piece of metal on the runway that had fallen off another plane. By the time it was airborne, a tire had exploded and the Concorde was engulfed in flames. Ninety seconds into the flight, the Concorde crashed into a hotel near Gonesse, and burned. All people onboard (113 people) were killed, as well as four people on the ground.
After the accident, many alternate theories on the crash abounded. The piece of metal, about 17 inches long, was considered too small to down something as gigantic as the Concorde. Also, witnesses say they saw Concorde on fire before it ran over the metal strip of debris. Experts said the Concorde had a history of tire problems. The plane had suffered more than 50 burst tires in its time of service. But none were fatal until that late summer day.
After the crash, the remaining Concordes were retrofitted to prevent a similar occurance. However, damage to the Concorde’s reputation of safety combined with the economic downturn of 2000 and the attacks of 9/11 doomed the return of the only viable supersonic jet.
The Concorde now sits in a museum.
The documentary, Concorde’s Last Flight, was published on YouTube in 2014.