I don’t have many regrets in life, but one of them is that I never had an opportunity to fly on the Concorde when it was still in service. As someone who grew up with the promise of tran-continental flight in mere hours,the Concorde represented everything that was going to be right with the future. A future that wasn’t filled with a global recession, ecological disasters, incompetent world leaders and the ever present threat of terrorism.
I was on business in Italy when the Concorde crashed outside of Paris, and I remember watching the news feeds with a mixture of horror and sadness. Horror, because the Concorde had a spotless safety record and the best trained crews in the business. If a Concorde could go down, then was any plane really safe? My sadness stemmed from the fact that I knew an era was over. Although the Concorde did return to limited service after the 2000 crash, it was never again profitable and was retired from service in November of 2003.
Now a group of British and French fans are working together to return a single Concorde to flight in time for the 2012 London Olympics. Testing of the planes four engines, idled since 2003, was recently completed and at least one airframe has been maintained in near air-worthiness condition in a Paris museum. It’s unlikely the plane will ever be put back into commercial service, but it will be displayed, like a vintage warbird, at airshows and special events.
I may not ever have the chance to fly on a Concorde, but seeing it fly again is better than nothing at all . If you’ve ever seen one fly, or even gazed at one out the window of a lesser aircraft, you’ll know exactly what I mean.