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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 02:45
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 257
Nick Thomas

... My other query concerns the FE. I understand that he set take off power etc...

Actually the F/E didn’t set T/O power, but did set most of the other power settings.

Broadly speaking, taxy-out to gear up, and gear down to engine shut down, the handling pilot operated the throttles. At other times, it was (almost) always the F/E.

Bear in mind that several of the routine engine power changes were effected through controls other than the throttles. For instance, selection of the re-heats, engine control schedules, engine ratings and intake lanes were all switch selections.

... I also understand that he also checked the pilots inputs into the INS system...

Correct, using INS3.

...So was he/she also a qualified pilot?..

No, they were professional flight engineers, who held a Flight Engineers Licence; they were not pilots biding their time before moving to the right hand seat.

I believe one or two may have held a PPL, but that was purely incidental, not a requirement.

All of the Concorde FEs had spent years on the VC10, B707, DC10, L10-11 or B747 fleets before coming to Concorde.


...Am I right or even slightly so in thinking that cruise climb and cruise descent was the flight...

Cruise climb, yes. Cruise descent, no.

...and there was minimal actual level cruise in the "pond" crossing?..

Correct, any level flight in the “cruise”, was just coincidence, probably caused by the outside air temperature increasing very gradually. Typically, she drifted up at around 30 to 50 fpm, but, if encountering warmer air, she would start to drift back down, in order to maintain M2.0.

... As you have said, fuel flow was reduced the higher you got. I think it was 5T per powerplant at FL500 down to 4.1T at FL600...

Rather optimistic figures for FL500 I’d have said! 6,000kg/hr/engine would have been nearer the mark!

...I am curious to see how much less fuel would have been used at the higher FLs considering it was reduced by 900Kg/hr for just 10K feet...

The reason the fuel flows dropped so much at the higher altitudes was that the aircraft had to be a lot lighter before she would get up there. It was her lighter weight that was the primary reason for the reduced fuel flows, not the higher altitude.

Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood you, but in her cruise climb, Concorde was flown at her optimum speed (M2.00) with (constant) optimum power set (max cruise power) and so (assuming a constant OAT above the tropopause) the only thing which affected her cruising altitude was her weight.

So, in theory at least, in cruise climb, she was always at her optimum altitude.

Any variation from that optimum altitude, such as a premature climb to higher altitudes, would have cost fuel, not saved it.

... How much of the descent was carried out while supersonic...

At the decel point, the cruise climb ceased and she was flown level at constant altitude. The F/E partially throttled back the engines and she stayed in level flight until her speed reduced to 350kts IAS, typically M1.5.

This took about 50nm, and most of the passengers would have sworn that they were already descending.

She then descended at 350kts IAS, meaning the Mach number would reduce constantly. On a straight in approach to JFK, with no subsonic cruise section, she would become subsonic descending through (around) FL350.

For a straight in approach, in zero wind, on a standard day, from FL600 to touchdown, typical figures would be something like a track distance of around 200nm, flying time of 22 minutes and 3,500kg of fuel.

Into LHR, she had to be subsonic much further away from her destination, and then had a subsonic cruise section on airways, so a slightly different procedure was used, and approaching FL410 she was slowed still further, becoming subsonic around FL400.


In response to your PM, earlier posters were correct in what they posted, however the manual reversion they refer to is a reversion from electrical to mechanical signalling to the flying controls.

There was no way to operate the flying controls manually in the absence of hydraulic power.
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