Incredible: Video Shows The Power Of Concorde Taking Off

The supersonic passenger aircraft known as Concorde entered service in 1976 and operated commercially until 2003. Wherever it went, this aircraft would most certainly stand out at airports for its unique shape and design. However, the roar of its engines at takeoff was something special to witness as well, as is demonstrated in old videos of the aircraft.

London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and New York JFK were the most common places to see the Concorde. Photo: Getty Images

The Concorde taking off

The video in question was taken in 1996 and posted in 2017 by the YouTuber’ Heathrow Aircraft,’ whose channel shows well over 150 videos of aircraft at various UK airports. This naturally includes London Heathrow, but also Gatwick, Kemble, and St Athan in Wales.

About his video, the planespotter, Steve, writes:

“For those who didn’t have the chance to experience personally and at close hand, the sound of Concorde taking off, turn up the volume on your tablet/phone. This still doesn’t really do it justice – it was such an amazing volcanic roar – as witness the effect Concorde always had on car alarms in the vicinity of the take off run!”

The video first shows a BA Landor livery Boeing 777, which Steve says at the time “had only come into service with BA a few months before.” Then, roughly one minute and eight seconds in, you can see the Concorde’s impressive takeoff (although you start to hear it much earlier).

The video was taken from Colnbrook Village, near the end Heathrow’s Runway 27 Right. Commenting on the fact that his recording was with a VHS camcorder, Steve says, “such a shame technology wasn’t better in those days too!” It is indeed an excellent angle with an impressive roar, but we can also imagine that the experience would be that much more impressive in person.

Concorde’s powerplants

Concorde was powered by four Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 turbojet powerplants. Equipped with reheat (afterburners), these engines were initially a joint project between Bristol Siddeley Engines Limited (BSEL) and Snecma. Rolls-Royce would go on to acquire BSEL in 1966 during the engine’s development.

These engines had a wet thrust (with afterburners) of 169.2 kN (38,000 lbf). Dry, or without the use of afterburners, its thrust was 139.4 kN (31,300 lbf).

The roar of these four engines at takeoff was always an impressive sound. “What other aircraft gave you that?” Steve asks rhetorically in his video’s description. “Even though I worked at the airport and was lucky enough to see Concorde most days, with the passage of time, I’d forgotten the orange-brown exhaust trail and the fiery glow of the reheat / afterburners too, which were lit at the start of the takeoff run and switched off around a minute and a half later, for noise abatement. That never stopped the car alarms going off though!”

Concorde engines
A close-up look at Concorde’s engines. Photo: Hugh Llewely via Wikimedia Commons 

Indeed, between 1:20 and 1:30 is an excellent shot of the orange glow mentioned, with the sound of the car alarms audible about five seconds later. While the constant roar of Concorde (and other aircraft) in the area would be one thing to tolerate, the sound of triggered car alarms would have been a whole other level of frustration!

Did you ever have the opportunity to see and hear Concorde’s powerful takeoff? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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