The Concorde's cruising altitude was 60,000 ft. I believe if the cabin ruptured at this altitude, everyone onboard would be almost instantly killed, if not from the Armstrong limit then from hypoxia (as oxygen masks cannot supply sufficient oxygen at that altitude).

Therefore, there should have been extra protection against cabin decompression in the Concorde. This type of accident would have probably caused an immediate stop to the Concorde program.

What safeguards did the Concorde have against an uncontrolled decompression?

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    $\begingroup$ Why would it need extra protection compared to other planes? Pressurisation problems are extremely rare as it is, rapid decompression even more so. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2016 at 5:38
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a near instantaneous explosive decompression (I think you are since you mention "cabin rupture") or some other failure in the pressurisation system? It makes a big difference to the answers. E.g. Concorde could lose 2 windows entirely and still maintain a cabin altitude of 15,000 feet, whilst cruising at 60,000 feet indefinitely. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Jul 24, 2016 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ I guess all airliners are at the same level of safety in case of rapid depressurization: they need to go down to a safest oxygen partial pressure. Descending with a delta wing can be done at a higher rate (12,000 / 15,000 fpm) as explained in the linked pages, but anyway 15 minutes of oxygen in the pax masks seems a large margin and pilots already wear their masks. See on PPRuNe, here // and // here. Ironically, the only accident for Concorde occurred during takeoff, on the ground. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jul 24, 2016 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ If you have an explosive decompression at mach 2; either it was caused by a rapid disassembly of your plane; or it will probably be followed by it within seconds. Pressure just became one concern on a the many concerns you now have. $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Jul 25, 2016 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


This is the main reason why Concorde had such small windows. It was calculated to reduce the rate of decompression to a survivable level in case one window fails. (The prototype, by the way, had much larger windows).

Other than that, I don't know of any other 'special' decompression mitigation measures that would be unique to Concorde.

There were, of course, things that had to be done in a very special manner on Concorde in case of decompression. For example, rapid emergency descent: there was a special program that transfered fuel forward during emergency descent. It could be activated by a single button, and the flight engineer had to keep the program up to date for the current flight conditions. (Generally, keeping the CG/fuel balance was pretty much a full time job for the Concorde flight engineer). But this would hardly help in case of 'uncontrolled' (explosive) decompression.

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    $\begingroup$ I hope I corrected that typo in the intended way! $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2016 at 19:00
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    $\begingroup$ Concorde could lose an entire window and the pressurization system could maintain cabin pressure without loss of compression. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jul 25, 2016 at 2:44

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