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The Concorde carries about 119,500 liters (31,569 gallons) of fuel and burns about 25,629 liters (6,771 gallons) per hour in the air. But fuel isn't just for flying. It's also used to balance the plane.

As the Concorde flies at supersonic speeds, the center of lift shifts towards the back of the plane, making the nose heavy and the plane unbalanced. To keep the plane balanced as it accelerates during flight, fuel is moved from the front to the rear. Transferring the fuel shifts the center of gravity. By adjusting the center of gravity at the same time as the center of lift shifts, the plane remains balanced. When the Concorde slows down, the center of lift moves forward and fuel is transferred again—this time from back to front—to maintain balance.

animation showing movement of fuel during flight

  1. During supersonic flight, center of lift shifts back.
  2. Fuel is transferred back to shift the center of gravity and balance the aircraft.
  3. During deceleration, center of lift shifts forward.
  4. Fuel is transferred forward to shift the center of gravity and balance the aircraft.

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