Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Public Perception Of Concorde

Concorde was normally perceived as a privilege of the rich, but special circular or one-way (with return by coach or ship) charter flights were arranged to bring a trip within the means of moderately well-off enthusiasts. It is a symbol of great national pride to many in the UK and France; in France it was thought of as a French aircraft, in the UK as British.

The aircraft was usually referred to by the British as simply "Concorde", whilst in France it was known as "le Concorde" due to "le", the definite article, being used in French grammar to distinguish a proper name from a common noun of the same spelling. In French, the common noun concorde means "agreement, harmony, or peace", and the aircraft’s name was almost certainly chosen for its allusion to the collaboration between the British and French governments. Concorde’s pilots and British Airways in official publications and videos often refer to Concorde both in the singular and plural as "she" or "her".

As a symbol of national pride, an example from the BA fleet made occasional flypasts at selected Royal events, major air shows and other special occasions, sometimes in formation with the Red Arrows. On the final day of commercial service, public interest was so great that grandstands were erected at London’s Heathrow Airport to afford a view of the final arrivals. Crowds filled the boundary road around the airport and there was extensive media coverage.

Thirty-seven years after her first test flight, Concorde was announced the winner of the Great British Design Quest organised by the BBC and the Design Museum. A total of 212,000 votes were cast with Concorde beating design icons such as the Mini, mini skirt, Jaguar E-type, Tube map and the Supermarine Spitfire.

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