Breathtaking one-of-a-kind photo emerges of Concorde breaking Mach 2 barrier

  • This is the only picture ever taken of Concorde flyinbg at Mach 2
  • It was taken in April 1985 by Adrian Meredith, from a RAF Tornado
  • The RAF jet, rapidly running out of fuel, was only able to keep up with Concorde for four minutes over the Irish Sea

Published on Feb 20, 2024 at 6:36 PM (UTC+4)
by Adam Gray

Last updated on Feb 20, 2024 at 9:45 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

There’s a fair few pictures of Concorde taking off or landing floating about on the internet.

However, it’s rare you see a picture of the iconic supersonic airliner mid flight.

And there’s good reason for that – very few aircraft could keep up with it.

READ MORE! Witness the final commercial takeoff of Concorde from JFK Airport in gripping emotional footage

Taken in April 1985, this cool photo is the only picture of Concorde flying at supersonic speed.

It was taken by Adrian Meredith, who was flying a Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornado jet, during a rendezvous with Concorde over the Irish Sea.

Although the Tornado could match Concorde’s cruising speed, it could only do so for a matter of minutes due to the enormous rate of fuel consumption.

Believe it or not, several attempts were made to take the photo.

Concorde had to slow down from Mach 2 to Mach 1.5 so that the Tornado crew could get the shot.

What’s more, the Tornado was stripped of everything to get it up to that speed for as long as possible.

After racing to catch Concorde and struggling to keep up, the Tornado broke off the rendezvous after just four minutes, while Concorde cruised serenely on to New York’s JFK Airport.

It’s worth noting that the supersonic airliner’s fastest transatlantic crossing took place on February 7, 1996.

On that particular day, it completed the New York to London flight in just two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

Concorde was able to achieve that incredible feat because it had a maximum speed of Mach 2.04 (2,180 km/h / 1,354 mph), over twice the speed of sound, while carrying between 92 and 128 passengers in luxury.

The supersonic airliner flew regular transatlantic flights from London’s Heathrow Airport and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport to John F. Kennedy International in New York, Washington Dulles International Airport and Grantley Adam International Airport in Barbados.

It was capable of flying these routes in less than half the time of other airliners.

The iconic jet was eventually retired in 2003 after the crash of Air France Flight 4590 on July 25, 2000, in which all passengers and crew onboard were sadly killed.

The general downturn of the commercial aviation industry following the September 11 attacks in 2001, and the ceasing of maintenance support for Concorde by Airbus, also contributed.


Adam Gray

Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.