Concorde Engineering - Overview
“The Concorde was special, the quality of the work, the minds, the skills, the talent, the commitment that went into it, that’s what really mattered”
Tony Benn British MP
The MP who fought his own Labour government to prevent Concorde being cancelled
Concorde engineering, maintenance and servicing was a complicated procedure and when technical problems occurred, they also tended to affect the whole fleet at the same time, requiring particular attention and increased effort. The same engineers, therefore, looked after the aircraft from the moment it arrived on the ramp to its actual departure
Where Concorde was concerned, cost was always uppermost in the mind. Not only were its maintenance man-hour costs about four times that of a Boeing 747, each spare part had a similarly inflated price tag due to the fact that only a few aircraft were flying and purchase costs were artificially loaded by the governments to enable it to recover some of the large expenditure incurred in building the aircraft. Even so British Airways achieved the seemingly impossible, by managing and operating Concorde at a profit. Another significant aspect with regard to engineering was the complexities inherent in an aircraft which was in 2003 more than 27 years old. With all the superlatives heaped on Concorde, it seems rather strange to label it as old technology, but such it was in spite of all it’s state-of-the-art features which included fly-by-wire.
Maintenance was a complicated procedure and when technical problems a cured, they also tended to effect the whole fleet at the same time, requiring particular attention and increased effort. The same engineers, therefore, looked after the aircraft from the moment it arrived on the ramp to its actual departure, and thus this generated a tremendous relationship with the technical crews and other, non-engineering, staff.
Concorde engineers had been responsible for well over 300 modifications since the aircraft entered service. The great majority of these had been carried out to improve reliability – especially despatch reliability, which averaged with British Airways 95% – appearance and passenger amenities. The operational service of Concorde speaks volumes for the skill and dedication of the engineering team.