Concorde Goes Down, Takes my spirits with it

Date:         16 Mar 2001 05:56:31 
From:         pro-entropy! (Eric A. Seiden)
Organization: Pro-Entropy  +1-305-994-3578  (DAR Systems Int'l -- Miami, FL)
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Hello :

And now a brief interlude for a serious post. Today a Concorde crashed. Some
of you are thinking "That's sad, but it was just another airplane." You can
stop reading now. This isn't for you.

Concorde, first came out in the late 1960s and entered commercial service in
1969. In March of this year it celebrated 30 years of accident-free service.
That safety mark will likely remain untouched by any aircraft.

I've seen the news reports on many plane crashes over the years, I've even
survived one (Eastern Air Lines little fiasco at Washington National Airport
8/20/88). I'm always saddened when a plane goes down -- loss of life, loss of
friends, family. But this one touched me a bit more than usual.

I'm lucky, I've actually flown on Concorde, and it remains perhaps one of the
most memorable experiences in my life. To fly on Concorde is to literally
leave earth and fly so high you are in the deep, dark purple of the outer
reaches of the atmosphere. There are no clouds, no bumps, an impossibly
smooth ride. Out the window you see the curvature of the earth whilst sitting
in the lap of luxury 60,000 feet above the planet. Concorde is unique is many
ways: it actually lengthens as it flies from the friction of its speed, it
has fuel that is moved to different compartments in its hull to change the
balance of the aircraft. On Concorde I was with a slew of celebrities (whom I
politely ignored), which made it seem even more elegant than it was, if
possible. But Concorde is not only a means of absurdly fast
transportation, it's a majestic, beautiful creature.

Concorde used to visit Miami every day and it passed over my head every
evening whilst sitting in traffic near the airport. Every time I saw it, I
was in awe and always hoped to one day fly the magical metal bird.

One day that wish came true. I have many souvenirs from that trip. One of the
ones is a picture of my inside the terminal at CDG with Concorde in the
background. It very well could be the same one that went down today.

Concorde will still fly, perhaps three to five more years as they hope. But
the amazing stress on the metal will ground Concorde much sooner, I'd
imagine. It's too bad. With no company actively developing a modern SST, it's
likely supersonic travel will cease to exist for the rest of our lives.

If you are of a mind to, I might encourage you to save up for a trip on
Concorde. The fleet will be grounded for some time, but it will take again to
the air. There are great deals to be had -- probably even better to come as
they encourage people to return --  including buy one, get one free. Yeah,
it's a lot of money, but it's worth it. The sheer joy of being cruising at
Mach2 is not to be believed. The view of earth from a perspective only an
astronaut or a Concorde passenger can see is not to be believed. If I win the
lotto, I'd take Concorde again.

This piece has no point whatsoever. Maybe it's a eulogy to a way of travel
that's no longer here. Maybe one of you will decide to try Concorde. It's a
work of modern man that is beyond belief.

As I type this, I stopped several times to look at the momentos of my
Concorde trip. It makes me sad. But save your condolences for those who died.

I'll end with this.....
"... with silent lifting mind I've trod the high untrespassed sanctity of
space, put out my hand and touched the face of God." John Gillespie McGee Jr

--  E

"I'm going to do what every San Franciscan does who goes to Heaven. I'll look
around and say, 'It's not bad, but it ain't San Francisco.'" -- Herb Caen
 Administrator NHL Panthers and Panthers Affiliates/Prospects mailing lists.
      "Imagine there's no heaven; it's easy if you try." -- John Lennon
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