40 years ago today the Concorde took off for its maiden flight. Although it would last another seven years until the supersonic jet would carry it´s first jet-set passengers.
When I saw the Concorde for the first time on the runway I was surprised how small the jet actually looked, and I remembered how I had read some comments by passengers who complained about the tiny interior of the plane. How typical: Flying at kerosene guzzling Mach 2.23 while eating from custom made china all they could think of is how small the rocket-shaped jet was.
Once, while I was waiting to fly out of JFK with British Airways, a computer malfunction kept the passengers from checking in and for some reason the Concorde travellers would not be allowed to wait in the exclusive lounge. Instead they had to wait with us regular travellers which became a very interesting, slightly nasty experience. It turned out that most of these Concorde travellers were not exactly the Bianca Jagger-type. Instead they were mostly regular, middle-class people with issues who had saved a very long time for a one-way trip with the legendary jet. As soon as their trip deviated from their jet-set fantasy, they were seriously pissed. A matter that got only worse when they got served free champagne...
The last time I have seen the Concorde was at a CSD party in London´s Clapham common. While Björn Again were doing their rendition of "Dancing Queen" and fireworks were going off, the Concorde was majestically crossing the sky, surrounded by explosions of light as thousands of people were cheering this perfect moment!
You can buy a variety of interesting and ugly Concorde memorabilia including cutlery and a whole jet engine, which will only cost you one million Pound Sterling!
After the Russian Tupolev copycat (which also looks amazing) never really "took off", there are currently plans for the "son of Concorde", new supersonic jets that would reach up to 5 Mach. London to Sydney in five hours! Both planes are now grounded and exhibited in an aviation museum in Germany.