Concorde taking off, c 1970s.
© British Aerospace / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1959 the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee recommended the construction of a fleet of long range intercontinental airliners which would fly almost twice as high and over twice as fast as those in service at that time; at Mach 2.0, twice the speed of sound. In 1962, the British and French Governments signed an agreement to develop the aircraft together. Two prototypes were built, 001 (French) and 002 (British), which had to have low drag at high speed and high lift at low speed. The 002 maiden flight was on 9th April 1969.