Faster Than Sound: The Concorde

Photo by Henry Salome
A few months ago I made a list of things I’ve done that I never thought I would do.  No, I haven’t robbed a bank or sailed solo around the world.  Some of them were things I never wanted to do, however, like choosing the flowers for my boyfriend’s coffin.  Others were adventures that never crossed my mind as a child in Tennessee, like going to Australia and New Zealand.  My dreams were pretty small, really.  One big adventure (among many) that I was pushed into by that same boyfriend was flying in a Concorde.

I had gotten sick when traveling in Guatemala and Jamaica on business, and was ill for several weeks after I got home.  Somehow this translated into panic and a fear of flying, which I’d never suffered from before.  Ron was panic-stricken at the thought that I didn’t want to travel.  Travel was life’s blood to him.  He was happiest when setting off to somewhere he hadn’t been before, preferably with a luxury hotel in an exotic setting at the other end, or at least Paris, his favorite city.  He often traveled without me on business, but was insistent that I come along as often as time permitted and I could afford it.

He had a trip coming up to France to visit a client and discovered that Air France was running a special:  buy a round trip business class ticket, and the New York-to-Paris leg was on the Concorde.  “You have to do this,” he said.  “We may never get this chance again.  And the client will pay!”  I was scared, but I agreed.

The plane was actually kind of claustrophobic.  It was narrow and the ceiling was low.  I took deep breaths and drank some wine.  Then the plane took off, and I felt–nothing.  You literally could not feel the acceleration.  After that, it was like being in a very luxurious subway car, only much smoother.  Then after a while I noticed the speed indicator; we were approaching Mach 2.  And I looked out the window.  I could see the curve of the Earth.  Wow!

I still felt a bit scared and shaky, but after that flight I didn’t panic again.  It really was magical.  The Concorde made absolutely no economic sense for the airlines, and I understand why the supersonic plane no longer flies.  But it’s a little bit of magic that’s gone from the world.


Author: writinghersense

Marketer, memoir writer, cat lover, Tennessee native, now a NYer.

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