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Old 21st Aug 2010, 09:47
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: FL 600. West of Mongolia
Posts: 462
Last one for this post. What was the CoG range? I remember when I started flying and finally twigged to what it was all about that the PA28 had something like a 5" from the forward to aft limit and was massively surprised by the small "balance point". Trim tanks on 1 aeroplane I flew would have been most welcome.
Sorry Biggles78, I'd forgotten to answer your CofG query, so here we go: CofG was a really critical parameter on Concorde, being a delta, with no tailplane made it more so at take off speeds, and as we've previously said, was how we trimmed the aircraft for supersonic flight. CG was expressed as a percentage of the aerodynamic chord line. To get indication of CG you needed to know the mass of fuel in each tank; easy, from the FQI system. You needed to know the moment arm of each tank, (fixed of course). You then needed the zero fuel weight (ZFW) and zero fuel CG (ZFCG); these were manually input into the CG computers by the F/E, from load control data. The final parameter you needed was total fuel weight, again easy from the FQI system.
The 'normal' T/O CG was 53.5%, but in order to increase fuel weight (and hence range) an extra 'bump' was enabled to allow a max T/O CG of 54%. (CG was indicated on a linear gauge, with forward and aft limit 'bugs' either side of the needle. These bugs would move as a function of Mach and at the lower end of the speed range, A/C weight also). As the A/C accelerated, the limit bugs would move rearwards (with of course the rearward shifting centre of pressure) and so the fuel would be moved from the two front trim tanks 9 & 10 to the rear tank. 11. Once tank 11 reached it's preset limit (around 10 tonnes), the remainder of the 'front' fuel would automatically over-spill into tanks 5 & 7. (Once the fuel panel was set up, the whole process was controlled with a single switch). At Mach 2, the CG would be around 59%, the whole rearwards shift being in the order of 6'. As we said before, the 'final' CG could be tweaked to give us a 1/2 degree down elevon, for minimum drag.
I really hope this helps Biggles78.

Guys, back to the Airbus thing; My friend ChristiaanJ gave some really accurate insights, (he always does) but there is another legacy that carries on the this day; some of the audio warning tones were COPIED from Concorde into Airbus. (For example, the A/P disconnect audio is identical). I think this is great, and gives 'our' aircraft a lasting everyday legacy.

As far as the fly by wire goes, Concorde had a relatively simple analog system, with little or no envelope protection (Except at extreme angles if attack). As has been previously poted before, production series test aircraft 201, F-WTSB, pioneered the use of a sidestick within a new digital fly by wire Controlled Conviguration Vehicle sytem, with envelope protection and attitude rate feedback. (This evolved into the superb system known and loved by the Airbus community). It is a really bizaar twist of fate that the Concorde FBW system has more mechanical similarities to the system used in the B777 than Airbus. (Mechanically similar at the front end, with an electric backdrive system moving the column in A/P mode; Concorde being backdriven by a hydraulic relay jack).
As a final piece of irony; the Primary Flight Control Computers on the B777 are designed and built by GEC Marconi Avionics in Rochester Kent, now BAe Systems. This is the same plant where Elliot (becoming Marconi and finally GEC Marconi Avionics) developed and built the UK half of the AFCS computers. Isn't this aviation world strange?
Galaxy Flyer
Your inputs here are great, and I'm sure appreciated by all. (I assume from your name that you were a C5A pilot. While I was in the RAF on C-130's, our Lockheed rep' used to supply us all with company magazines, that were full of stuff on this new (it was then) giant of the sky. I fell in love with it there and then).
Anyway, back to Conc': The decel' positions were carefully worked out and adhered to; the aim was to be subsonic to within (I think) 50 nm of the east coast. I'll wait for one of my Concorde pilot friends to confirm that here, but i think I'm correct. I do have a fond memory of one flight out of JFK; we were temporarily 'held' by Boston ATC to Mach 1.6 (and at around FL440) because of an Air France Concorde heading for JFK. We saw this guy above us, at around FL580 on a near reciprical , doing Mach 2, screaming straight over the top of us. We were excited by this amazing spectacle, and so were the AF crew over the VHF ('you never boomed us, did we boom you?'). But the most excited person of all was this guy in Boston ATC. ('I've never seen anything like it guys, your two blips whistled over each other on my my screen like crazy').
As far as the F/D noise levels were concerned, once the nose and visor were raised, it was as if someone had switched off the noise . The main source of noise up there was just the equipment cooling, and that was not bad either. It was, in my view, little noisier up than most subsonics. (But not the 744, where you are so far away from all the racket ).
You're making us blush here; thanks for your comments, I think we are just trying to share some of our experiences (and 'bit's we've picked up over the years).
From my perspective, I did write some stuff used by our pilots, AF even got a copy or two I think.

Last edited by M2dude; 21st Aug 2010 at 12:01. Reason: couple of corrections; this guy can't spell
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