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Concorde, A Designer's Life: The Journey to Mach 2 [Paperback]

Ted Talbot
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2013
Concorde flew for 34 years and is still unmatched. Much has been written about the aeroplane itself, but relatively little about the people who designed it. This book is partly an autobiography and encompasses some of the team, several technicalities and a good measure of the lighter side of the job, especially during the period of actual design. Ted Talbot, who began his career at BAC as an aerodynamicist and became chief design engineer, has combined the technical narrative with personal and family reminiscences to remind the reader that engineers have a life too. The path to Mach 2 was bumpy, with threats of cancellation and opposition from the Americans and the Russians, but this generally indicated to the Concorde team that they were on the right path!

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752489283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752489285
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ted Talbot began working at Bristol Aeroplane Company as an aerodynamicist, working up to chief design engineer. He worked on major projects from "Concorde" to "Airbus," and is now retired.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Bob Yew
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am privileged to have known Ted Talbot as a work colleague (although not in his Concorde days), so I can’t offer you an impartial review of his book – but I will offer an honest one.

Ted is a brilliant engineer and a true gentleman. He has a dry, incisive wit that he brings to bear at exactly the right moment – as you will see from his many anecdotes in this fascinating book which covers personal and family reminiscences as well as accounts of technical aspects of Concorde that he manages to portray in a way that’s not only accessible to his technical peers but also to the rest of us who are left marvelling at the ingenuity of Ted’s generation of world-class engineers.

Concorde, although not a ‘business’ success, was an engineering achievement of global proportions – streets ahead of its rivals in the USA and Soviet Union despite their cold-war funding and resources. What was achieved by Ted Talbot, his colleagues and their equivalents in other engineering offices in Britain and France was unique and miraculous: Concorde’s passengers travelled in luxury – faster than a bullet from a rifle (much, much faster than any of today’s airliners). How was that achieved? It was by the wit and ingenuity of guys like Ted, engineers to the core, working with their tools of the trade – such as slide rules and mechanical calculators. No supercomputers in those days – no PCs even.

This account by Ted Talbot brings you close to how it felt to be a Concorde development engineer; the technical and organisational challenges, the successes, the fun enjoyed along the way. It’s a lively account; very few books make me laugh out loud, but this one did several times.

Whatever you may think about the ‘politics’ of Concorde, set-aside your doubts and just relish this account of how engineers (at the same time ordinary guys – but also quite exceptionally unordinary) created a technical marvel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It turned out to be something quite different 19 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read lots (too many!) technical works on Concorde and to be honest that is what I though I was buying in this book. But it turned out to be something quite different, and quite brilliant. This book gives a wonderful insight into the human side of this great Franco-British project. Yes, I already knew such things as that the aircraft was built using both metric and imperial measurements, that it was built in two countries etc... but I never had an insight into how it all happened. How did the two cultures really interact? What were the real practicalities and logistics of manufacturing in two distant locations? And what did the American and the Soviet engineers (as opposed to politicians) really think? All these fascinating aspects are given an insightful airing in this entertaining book. The diversions away from Concorde to narrowboats and housebuilding are entertainingly written and give the book the ability to stand alone as general reading rather than simply a technical work. And the break-out 'Techno-bit' sections serve to sate the engineering reader while the more general reader may simply skip them. All in all an excellent book, it adds a whole extra dimension to the understanding of the Concorde story.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Concorde was one of the magnificent achievements of mankind. Truly ahead of its time. This book holds your attention with the excitement of the developing project through to completion.
Having lived through the period of history covered by this book as 'the one's son', I read it with considerable interest, with recall of many memories and some sadness. I am sure that the author will understand.
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