Grado de dificultad: 3, por el idioma. El contenido es más fácil de entender (pero político, es decir que nosotros no estamos seguros de entender todo tampoco).

Columnista: Roberto

I recently saw this YouTube video from Vox Channel, on the “Concorde”. Please see it too, it´s only 10 minutes long:

Many elders will recognize this plane, and maybe new generations will be very surprised to learn that this plane was constructed in the seventies (AKA 40 years ago).

It made me sad to hear such a regressive opinion, compared to the many times I heard that same story, in the last 4 decades. Telling that the “Concorde” is a failure is a new (low) one.

Fancy stories

It started a long time ago, during the eighties, when there was this one and only supersonic transport, the “Concorde” (#Jealousy).

Cyclicly, dreamers came, claiming that within the next 20 years, it would have many competitors.

They would show beautiful artistic views of what these marvels would look like, then … Nothing.

Each time, they would give the same delay, which became too obvious after a while.

Ok, I admit: I am French citizen, and, yes of course, I am proud of the wonderful advances showed by the “Concorde“. But this is not the point.

I would equally admire this technological wonder if it was from England (who participated in the adventure), Germany (who was the key to Airbus success), Russia (who built one), USA (who surely has the engineers able to build a real wonder), or Japan, or China or whoever else.

All of them have what it requires to make such a project a success. So, why didn´t it happen?

The Vox video gives some unconvincing answers. Let us review some of the excuses they are giving:

  • The 9-11-2001 attack “depressed the industry”… A quick counting says it was 17 years ago, which is very depressing, I agree.
  • The noise level of this plane at take-off and landing was very loud. It’s true, but this trouble can be corrected by XXIst century’s engineers (nor other big planes are quiet).
  • It raised an environment concern. In the seventies? And keep in mind that the people talking are the same who retired from Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Now one from the twilight zone: People were afraid for the ozone layer because “a massive fleet of supersonic planes probably would have caused damage”
  • “A huge supersonic boom” seemed very dangerous to people at a 45000 feets high.
  • Concorde was aging up. This one is undeniable. What about the other fancy projects.

I would agree to review each of these concerns … It is only that, somehow, I feel that an American project would have wiped away these draw backs in seconds (which would be fine for me).

Then I read following article,

which is a recent reminiscence of other previous fancy tales on the matter. The same story is that supersonic aircrafts, more efficient, quieter and more affordable are on their way and will be there in … What is the delay, now? Oh yes, in 5 years from now.

Well, we got down from 20 to 5 years. However, this doesn’t change anything; they could continue promising and making beautiful drawings, only more often.

In another post:

we discover that there was a magic wand to reduce the supersonic boom (or maybe they are talking of a smaller plane …)


Under the YouTube video, many comments were protesting against its arguments. I agree with one: a 27 years commercial service is not exactly a failure.

However, the term “failure” can have different meanings. This is where the truly interesting answers of the Vox video get out:

They have to come with a business model and supply system”, reveals clearly who is against such project (and any other ambitious one).  It is all about “financial risk”, AKA a project that will make money, but not soon enough.

To make it even clearer, they also make a spectacular statement: “…classic midcentury faith in engineering…” This is exactly why our XXIst century is called “postmodern era”: the kings of today’s world are not interested in progress, only in quick money.

Among them is the directory board of Airbus, the very one that buried the Concorde (meaning that it´s not specifically Americans).

I guess that American engineers (hello, pals) must be eager of it, and I really wish that in the next few years, interesting projects could raise financing.

However, I can´t be sure of anything in a world who considers that healthcare and education are simple business cases.

We all know that “Concorde” was not a failure. On the other end, the new kings may be.