Sometimes good old fashioned grit and perseverance can make your dreams come true, which seems to be the case for members of Club Concorde. The group—full of diehard fans, from former pilots and engineers to airline bigwigs and frequent fliers—has apparently pulled together £120 million ($186 million) in funds for their “return to flight” plan to get the supersonic Concorde aircraft off the ground.
Photo Credit: Aero Icarus/Flickr
The Concorde first hit the skies in 1976 and was able to reach a speed of 1,370mph, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in only three hours. Even though the original plan was to make 300, only 20 aircraft were actually made by the British and French governments—14 of which were used commercially. Because the cost to order one ended up being steeper than companies wanted to deal with once 1972’s Arab oil embargo skyrocketed fuel prices, the Concorde was pretty much given away to British Airways and Air France for commercial use. Things went great until an awful crash in 2000 at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport killed all 109 passengers on board before take-off even happened, staining the plane’s pristine safety reputation. Since the Concorde never really gained consumer trust back, once the September 11 terrorist attacks happened and changed the way we fly, the Concorde seemed to be the last aircraft anyone wanted to board and its last flight was in October 2003.
Obviously, the supersonic aircraft has had an equally stunning and sad history, which would liken its return to a phoenix rising from the ashes. According to The Telegraph, British Airways and Air France aren’t involved in the plans, but Club Concorde doesn’t seem to be worried about their lack of support. “We are in the process of compiling a new business plan based solely on a Return to Flight project. Since 26th November, 2003 this has been the dream of the global Concorde fraternity,” the club says.
The plan involves getting one plane displayed near Orly Airport in Paris and moving it to London to make it a tourist attraction, and buying another that’s currently at Le Bourget airport to restore it for flight. They hope to get the latter model it in the skies at air shows and to make it available for chartering by 2019.