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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 15:30
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: France
Posts: 2,319
Re Mach 2 ....

In the earliest days of the project, Concord(e) was described as a Mach 2.2 airliner.

Once the RR58 alloy arrived, and the first thermal fatigue tests were underway, Mach 2.2 appeared as somewhat optimistic, and to assure an acceptable airframe life, the Mmo (maximum operating Mach number) to be certified was brought down to Mach 2.04.

Interesting question just asked by somebody on another forum....
Why Mach 2.04 ? Why not Mach 2.10, or Mach 1.96 ?
With thermal fatigue still being a field that was only starting to be explored, was that a fully technical choice.... or was there a commercial aspect ?

Mach 1.96 would again have meant a few more hours life for the airframes, and would not really have made a significant difference in the flight duration.
But think of the huge difference between "more than twice the speed of sound" and "not quite as fast as twice the speed of sound".....
Mach 1.96 would simply not have "sold"......

I have no answer to the question who finally decided on '2.04', and I don't think many of the people that wrote the "TSS spec" are still with us, so we'll probably never know.

And along the very same lines, another snippet.....

In 1985, during a major cabin upgrade, BA installed the "Marilake" displays, that showed Mach, altitude, groundspeed, etc. in place of the simple Mach-only displays that Air France kept until the end.
Nice display, complete with microprocessors.... you must have seen photos.

Of course everybody wanted their photo taken next to the display saying "Mach 2".
So these display were subtly programmed to read "Mach 2.00" as soon as the Mach number was above 1.98, and they stayed there....even if the aircraft went to Mach 2.03 or beyond.
A tiny bit of cheating... but commercially it made a lot of sense, of course.

Like the earlier BA cabin displays, the Air France displays only showed the Mach number, and they were little more than "rescaled" digital voltmeters that directly displayed the 0-12V Mach signal from the Air Data Computer. They tended to flicker a bit from 2.00 to 2.01 to 2.02 and back, but at least they didn't "cheat". And I still proudly have a photo of myself with a "Concorde grin", at Mach 2.03 !
ChristiaanJ is offline