"When we were younger we thought ourselves the first generation when everyone would fly faster than the speed of sound. We were to be the last, not the first." So wrote Matthew Parris in the London Times on 25 October, in his report on the final commercial service of Concorde.
It all ended in co-ordinated fashion - much as it started in 1976 (see opposite) - with the final three passenger-carrying flights arriving consecutively at London Heathrow on 24 October. The last arrival - the BA002 service from New York - touched down at 16:05, bringing the first supersonic transport era to a close 27 years and nine months after it began.
At the post-flight bash, Birdseed Airways chairman Lord Marshall was keen to show the 300 guests who had just arrived on the three flights the BBC footage of their historic arrivals. Imagine his anger when the sound that accompanied the pictures contained commentator and former Concorde pilot John Hutchinson lambasting Birdseed and Airbus for retiring the aircraft while still in her prime, and singing the praises of Sir Richard Branson's efforts to keep her flying. Amid polite groans from the crowd, sound was suddenly lost - apparently interference from all the TV satellite vans parked nearby.
The five operational Concordes are being ferried to their permanent homes in the coming weeks. These will be the last flights of the supersonic airliner, as the top neddies at Hairbrush and Birdseed have decided that it would be "impossible" to keep one "heritage aircraft" airworthy. It was "can-do" thinking like this which propelled Europe to the forefront of supersonic transport in the first place!
If you would like to hang your own bit of supersonic history on the kitchen wall, then pop along to Christie's in Paris on 15 November, when Air France Concorde memorabilia will be auctioned. The lots include souvenirs, components - ranging from pilot seats to machmeters - commemorative pieces, and a series of exclusive photographs. Proceeds from the auction will go to the charitable Air France Foundation, which has supported various children's causes. Christie's tells me that all lots will be offered without reserve and will therefore be auctioned to the highest bidder. Estimates start from €20 ($24).
Source: Flight International