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Old 20th Aug 2010, 21:55
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: France
Posts: 2,319
Originally Posted by Nick Thomas View Post
Once again thanks M2dude and ChristiaanJ for such interesting answers.
No thanks needed.. I like plunging back into the history, especially when people are interested, and I have a sneaky suspicion that M2dude does too!
Would it be too much of an exaggeration to say that Concorde provided the sound technical foundations on which Airbus have now so successfully built?
As M2dude says... to some extent, yes!

As an example in my particular field, you have to be an expert to distinguish the Concorde ADI (Attitude Director Indicator) and HSI (Horizontal Situation Indicator) - the two big central instruments on the pilot's and copilot's panel - from those on the first Airbus, the A300, or the early A310s. Apart from a couple of lights and buttons, they were the same, and the innards were pretty well identical.

And a lot of the technology in the AFCS (Automtic Flight Control System, i.e., the autopilots, etc.) was also virtually indistinguishable (the circuitry was obviously different... an A300 did not do Mach2).

But even more than the technical foundations, Concorde also laid the foundations for an effective and successful international cooperation in aircraft design, development and production.
We learned a tremendous amount from Concorde... Airbus might still have happened without Concorde, but it certainly would have happened years later.

Am I right in saying that Concorde was the first fly by wire commerical plane?
Yes, you're right.
The one difference with "modern" FBW commercial planes (such as the A320) is that Concorde still did have a mechanical back-up for when all else failed.
At the time, there was still a doubt about all these new-fangled elektriks replacing good old rods and cables, so when you look under the floor in a Concorde, the rods and cables are still there.
But apart from tests and training for emergencies, essentially they were never used.
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