The Concorde "was the culmination of a belief in the aviation industry that aircraft would always get faster," said Jeremy Kinney, curator in the Smithsonian Institution's aeronautics division in Washington, D.C. "It was the ultimate fast airplane."
Twenty of the aircraft were built and 14 entered commercial operation, Kinney said.
In the years it took French judicial investigators to work their way to trial, amassing 80,000 pages of court documents, the Concordes were revamped, retired and finally sent to museums.
The Concorde wasn't the first supersonic jet to crash in Paris. The Soviet Union's equivalent, the Tupolev 144, made its debut in December 1968, just days before the first flight of the Concorde. They were mothballed after one crashed at the 1973 Paris Air Show.
Lori Hinnant in Paris and Josh Freed in Minneapolis contributed to this report.
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