How can we not feel emotional about an aircraft's retirement? Emotions are what we are as humans. Are we aviation enthusiasts because we have some other need? No, we choose this hobby because it makes us happy to look at planes and a lot of us got a great sense of pleasure from the Concorde's flights. For those of us that love Concorde, this Friday is something more like a funeral though since this plane is definitely going before its time. We know the reasons for it and this isn't the thread to debate those reasons, just to look back on past accomplishments. For a lot of us, this will be as close as we ever get to a flight on Concorde ever.
Personally, I am at least lucky I had a chance to see one up close. Kind of hard to do in the Midwest, but thankfully a rich individual decided to charter one for a birthday bash and when it came to town, it was like watching the space shuttle land (or at least Columbia from STS
-1 or 2). Local television stations pre-empted network programming to show it land live and my dad took me to the airport later that day to see G-BOAG in person.
Personally, I am feeling rather sad, yet proud. I knew the day was coming, but I felt an emptiness when I heard that the last revenue flight departed LHR
. Its an emptiness since it seems we are going backward, not forward (even though we have advanced pretty far since the late 1960s). We no longer send men to the moon and now, passengers can no longer feel the sensation of traveling at twice the speed of sound for more then a few minutes (like what most military pilots do). They can no longer feel the heat of friction on the windows and the increase in cabin temperature as a result. They will no longer experience a western sunrise at 60,000 feet while drinking champagne and enjoying fine cuisine. After Friday, BA
, like Air France, will seem to become "just another airline" as the flagship that helped make them unique will be gone. Granted BA
has other things going for it, but supersonic service is what helped make BA
what it is today and chances are most people on the street would probably reply "Concorde" at the simple mention of "British Airways".
Yes, "The Civilized Lady" seems like an appropriate title, even if not technically accurate. She was born from French and British parents in a marriage that wasn't all roses. Frankly, what marriage is these days?. Even though she didn't grow up to meet her full potential, she still could make heads turn wherever she went and most everyone who met her came away with a smile on their faces. And people will still talk about her long after she's gone.