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Old 25th Aug 2010, 16:15
  #114 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: FL 600. West of Mongolia
Posts: 462
Nick Thomas
You are right on the button first time, the white paint finish is for heat reflection purposes. (When I worked at Filton/Fairford I remember reading a document showing the difference in 'hot soak' supersonic skin temperatures for white and black paint finishes. I'm afraid I can't remember any figures (it was a couple of million years ago ) but there was quite a surprising difference.

A hearty welcome to this thread, and thank you for your very kind comments; I'm sure I speak for all the Concorde people here when I say that it is quite amazing that so many people, both aviation professionals as well as more 'normal' people are so fascinated by what most of us still regard as the finest aircraft ever to grace the skies. Your comment about 'men with slide rules' is so totally correct; I still remember the No7 & No8 design offices at Filton, these were huge rooms filled with draughtsmen's boards, a horde of designers, all without a single computer in sight.
Dave Rowland is a total gentleman as well as being an extremely knowledgeable flyer too, and I know he (like most of us) would be happy to talk about Concorde until the cows come home.

Aghhhh The dreaded AICU. I'd almost forgotten the innards, as you say the motherboard wiring was a total nightmare (good piece of knitting I seem to remember). As far as the 'secret' bit of the AICU, I think we all know that is a little bit of Concorde mythology, more science museum than secret really. Around ten years ago we had some fairly substantial modifications done to the units, due to component obsolescence. (I seem to remember that some of the components concerned were not only out of production, but only a few hundred examples existed worldwide}. I do remember that the power supply board, resolver demodulator boards as well as a couple of others were replaced with new ones using modern components. The modification did do wonders for component reliability.
The PROM board that you have the photo of reminds me of a really amusing anecdote, told to me by Dr Ted Talbot a while ago. Now Ted is one of the true fathers of the Concorde air intake, an absolute genius as well as being a really pleasant gentleman indeed. I'm pleased to say that when I met him a few months ago, he was still as sharp as ever in his advancing years.
The story goes like this: Much of the Concorde intake development trials were flown out of Tangiers and Casablanca, where cold stratospheric temperatures would be guaranteed. Software changes as a result of the flight trials had to be done in there and 'the field'. The way that you made programmed the PROMS was by 'burning' each individual logic gate with a 9v battery. It was highly specialised, as well as extremely tedious work indeed, as we can all well imagine. Anyway, in while he was in Tangiers with aircraft G-AXDN, Ted had arranged for a rather lovely looking lady to be flown out to do his ROM programming. The HS 125 from Filton landed at Tangiers and taxied in and parked next to Concorde, and all the flight test people were waiting on the tarmac. The door of the 125 opened and out stepped this really leggy lady. 'who's the bint then ?' pipes up a really gritty airframe fitter, in a really broad Bristol accent. Without giving it a thought, Ted chirps 'she's come to blow my proms'. The little fitter grunts, glares at Ted and comes out with 'typical office staff, you get all the ***ing perks'.
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