15
$\begingroup$

Based on this site, Concorde needed to fly 750 hours to prove its airworthiness and be used in regular service. Air France and British Airways flew two Concords (F-BTSC and G-BOAC respectively) on a total of 254 flights, with... 11180 passengers combined! How come there were passengers allowed to be on the plane when it was doing flights to get its airworthiness certificate?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Don't forget that if the aircraft hadn't been "safe to fly," the crew (who unlike the passengers can make a professional informed judgement about safety) wouldn't have flown it. You don't magically survive an accident better than someone else just because you wear a fancy uniform and they don't! $\endgroup$ – alephzero Oct 28 '16 at 16:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Southwest Airlines is currently conducting similar tests with the 737 MAX with employees and media flying on board. You might find this video informative. $\endgroup$ – codeaviator Oct 28 '16 at 16:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @alephzero I don't know, man. Their uniforms are really quite fancy indeed. $\endgroup$ – Williham Totland Oct 28 '16 at 18:29
16
$\begingroup$

Bear in mind that these tests weren't to prove the safety of the aircraft per se, just to show that it would work as an airliner. It had to be loaded up with an appropriate complement of passengers and luggage to prove this.

However proving flights may not generate revenue from passengers - they are either selected through an application process or chosen at random, and take part in the proceedings free of charge.

CAA AIRWORTHINESS INSPECTOR‘S HANDBOOK (Page 2, point 3)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was just wondering, in the Concorde case, was it a random lottery held for marketing reasons (how good would that be!), or "friends of the family", or ?? $\endgroup$ – Fattie Oct 28 '16 at 19:29
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @JoeBlow on a few of the very early test flights, the Minister of Technology (one Tony Benn, of all people) managed to get himself invited along - according to Francis Spufford, whose essay on Concord is worth reading, he was utterly starstruck and always brought a camera. He later arranged a flight - one of the later tests before the proving flights proper - for BAC union shop stewards and their wives. I assume they didn't haul the factory staff along when they went to Singapore, though! $\endgroup$ – Andrew Oct 28 '16 at 21:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Amazing stuff !!! $\endgroup$ – Fattie Oct 28 '16 at 22:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.