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Supersonic Dream

Program Overview

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Concorde NOVA takes a look at the world's first supersonic jet, the Concorde, and its place in aviation history.

The program:

  • follows Britain's and France's independent bids to build the jet and explains how rising development costs led to a partnership between the two countries.

  • looks at how costs skyrocketed during the plane's 10-year development, eventually totaling £1.4 billion, ten times the original estimate.

  • reviews some of the plane's notable technological developments, including its air intake, jet engine, and electronics package.

  • notes the public's continuing fascination with the plane ever since its maiden flight in 1969.

  • reports early successes of the plane that projected a fleet of 250 aircraft.

  • notes how sentiment toward the plane began to change during an international sales tour that met with growing environmental concerns about the sonic booms created during supersonic flight.

  • follows the Concorde's struggles to survive, noting key turning points such as securing landing rights in New York, raising fares, and targeting new clientele.

  • looks at American efforts to build a supersonic jet.

  • traces the events that led to the Concorde's retirement in 2003, including the launch of the Boeing 747, the 2000 crash of France's Concorde, and the 2001 Word Trade Center attacks that resulted in the death of many of the plane's regular clientele.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Supersonic Dream
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