Taste of Quality #16: The Concorde Jet
Also: Adam Wathan and NeverTooSmall apartments
Today I’m grateful for…
The Concorde Jet.
When it comes to iconic designs in aviation, the Concorde supersonic jet is undoubtedly near the top of the list. Developed and produced jointly by the British and French governments, the Concorde made its first flight in 1969 and began commercial service in 1976. With its sleek and aerodynamic design, this supersonic jet could reach speeds of over 1,300 mph (2,100 km/h), more than twice the speed of sound, making it possible to fly from New York to London in about 3.5 hours.
But the Concorde's design wasn't just about speed. The engineers and designers behind the project also had to consider factors such as fuel efficiency and noise reduction. Unfortunately, the Concorde's supersonic capabilities made it much more expensive to operate than traditional subsonic jets and noise pollution from sonic booms made it, unsurprisingly, unpopular with residents living near airports.
However, despite these challenges, the Concorde was still a revolutionary aircraft worthy of our design gratitude.
So, why was it a good design? Let's count the ways...
Rams Principle #1: It's innovative
Supersonic Flight: The Concorde was the first commercial jet to fly at supersonic speeds (faster than the speed of sound). This allowed it to make transatlantic flights in around half the time of traditional subsonic jets.
Aerodynamics: The Concorde featured a sleek, delta-wing design that minimized drag and maximized lift. This allowed it to fly at high speeds and altitudes and also made it more fuel efficient than previous supersonic jet designs.
In-flight Technology: The Concorde featured an advanced auto-pilot system and a fly-by-wire control system that replaced traditional mechanical linkages with electronic signals. This made the plane more stable and easier to fly.
Rams Principle #2: It's useful
I mean, do I need to say more than "New York to London in 3.5 hours"?
That seems pretty dang useful to me.
The only downside was that for the privilege of that super convenient travel, you'd have to cough up around $20-25k for a standard ticket (in today's dollars).
So, I guess I’ll let Ferris Bueller sum it up for me: "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."
Dishonorable mention: It wasn't long-lasting (Principle #7)
Unfortunately, the Concorde's service was eventually discontinued in 2003 due to a combination of factors including the high operating costs, noise pollution, a tragic crash in 2000, and the general downturn in the airline industry after the September 11th attacks in 2001.
But, even though the Concorde is no longer in service, it will forever be remembered as a design masterpiece that pushed the boundaries of what was possible.
PS. There's some interesting stuff happening again in supersonic air travel from companies like Boom Supersonic. Worth checking out if you're curious!
Adam is a developer and the creator of Tailwind.css.
While Twitter loves to argue over the technical merits of Tailwind, you can't argue with the business results Adam has been able to achieve.
I really admire his ability to commit to an approach he believes in even if it's far from a consensus opinion. It's clear what he and his team are making resonates with people and I'm curious to see how they continue to grow.
If you're into the technical side of things, it's worth going back and reading his first article talking about CSS utility classes and separation of concerns. Interesting stuff!
Moment of Zen 🧘
Never Too Small - Amsterdam Loft
The YouTube algorithm served me up this delightful bit of designer catnip and I fell deep down the Never Too Small rabbit hole.
Out of all the videos I watched on the channel, this one sticks in my mind.
It's a lovely one-bedroom loft on the river in Amsterdam where the owner has incorporated a bunch of thoughtful touches into their space: from the spice rack ledge in the kitchen to the chunky, reclaimed, industrial light switches to the little hidey holes for their cat... so many small delights.
It's inspiring me to do more custom work on whatever space I live in following my move in the spring. That's what makes a space feel personal and special!
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