Key Concorde Photo Snapped by Eager Airport Buffs
By Gary Regenstreif
PARIS (July 25) - Most visitors to Paris first rush to the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee or the cultural wonders at the Louvre museum.
But two young Hungarian airport buffs on a tour of European hubs opted instead for the unglamorous Charles de Gaulle airport and got more than they bargained for when a Concorde airliner crashed in a ball of flames.
The aircraft, operated by Air France and chartered by a German tour operator, plunged to the ground shortly after takeoff from the Paris airport. All 109 people on board and four on the ground were killed.
Andras Kisgergely, 20, flanked by 22-year-old travel mate Szabolcs Szalmasi, snapped a picture of the aircraft in flames while it was still in the air.
The photograph, obtained by Reuters, was flashed to media subscribers around the world and earned a little place in air travel history for two blond young men whose passion is merely looking at, and photographing, aircraft.
''I suppose the Eiffel tower is nice but we were more interested in the airport,'' Szalmasi said in an interview. ''Some collect stamps or coins. We collect pictures of airplanes.''
The two young men, who cannot afford air travel themselves, spend up to three weeks sleeping in their car for the pleasure of seeing planes.
The engineering students at the Hungarian Technical University in Budapest have collected thousands of pictures of planes. Planes became Szalmasi's passion when he was 12 and living next to an airport. Kisgergely got the bug more recently, and they reckon they have visited 150 airports in Europe.
Now they are on a three-week vacation, visiting airports in Berlin, Frankfurt, Zurich, Ostend and other cities.
''If I go on vacation with my family, they see the city and I see the airport,'' Szalmasi said.
It is not the first time Kisgergely saw a plane go down. Last year, he was on hand when a Hawk 100 military aircraft crashed after failing to execute a loop at a show in Bratislava.
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