Retrospective: Safran on board Concorde, 49 year after its maiden flight
Concorde is an aircraft which captivates many more people than just aviation enthusiasts. The supersonic airliner, capable of flying at twice the speed of sound, completed its maiden flight 49 years ago on March 2, 1969. Did you know that Safran had several systems and pieces of equipment on board this legendary aircraft?
The story of Concorde began in late 1950, with the project to design a supersonic airliner capable of taking passengers beyond the speed of sound. A co-development treaty between British and French governments was signed in London on November 29, 1962. The various components of the aircraft were therefore outlined: as such, it was specified that the contractors were British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation.
As far as propulsion was concerned, each Concorde was powered by four Olympus 593 engines designed and developed by Snecma (now Safran Aircraft Engines) and Rolls-Royce, each producing 17 tons of thrust. For the nozzles of the Olympus, Snecma and Hurel-Dubois (and later on Hurel-Hispano, which became Safran Nacelles) were responsible for a part of the eyelid assembly.
Furthermore, Safran (later Snecma Group) supplied numerous pieces of cutting-edge equipment to Concorde. The aircraft was fitted with an electric braking system, specially developed and designed by Messier (now Safran Landing Systems). Hispano-Suiza provided the main landing gear used by the supersonic airliner, stretching more than 4 meters high, as well as the SPAD braking controller (activities now also led by Safran Landing Systems).
On March 2, 1969, 49 years ago, the French test pilot André Turcat completed the maiden flight of Concorde 001 from the Sud Aviation plants in Toulouse, at 15:40. On March 29, 1969, Concorde 001 flew over Paris at low altitude before making its way over to the Paris Air Show where it was showcased as the star of the show.