One of my regrets is that I did not become much of an airplane watcher until after the Concorde exited from service. The only Concordes I have ever seen are currently museum pieces, specifically G-BOAD and F-BVFA. Fortunately, the advent of motion pictures means that we’ll still have memories of these beasts, and almost all of the Concordes have been preserved in museums across the world. Alas, for now supersonic flight is only a memory for many people. When will we attempt to tackle faster than sound travel again? I’m not sure. Sonic booms are a bitch, and even with today’s mitigating technologies people are still afraid of them.
There’s still a few crazy guys in France keeping F-BTSD, one of the youngest Concordes in near airworthy condition, but the thing won’t fly again. Unlike today’s twin engine borefests, there’s something artistic in the shape of le Concorde, as the French call it. Its graceful, bird-like shape evokes the dream of flight. Given that flying for many people is a common occurrence these days, it’s tough to keep the imaginative spirit that brought men to the sky only a century ago. One of the reasons I love airplanes is because, for all of the bullshit that flying entails these days, it’s still fucking amazing when you think about it. Thousands of aluminum (and soon to be composite) tubes take off and land safely every day without incident. The fact that we defy gravity on a daily basis with only rare disaster is a feat in and of itself. Think about that the next time you take to the friendly skies.