Finally I set foot on Concorde…

Concorde1.jpgWe visited the Museum of Flight this morning. I was last there 4 or 5 years ago, I think, and it’s grown significantly. The new Personal Courage Wing focusses on combat aviation of the two World Wars; a dreadful title, but a stunning exhibit. The section on World War One does a great job of relating the air action to the grinding, bloody mess that was trench warfare. (Too often the affairs of men like Bishop and von Richthofen, and machines like the Sopwith Camel and Fokker Triplane, are portrayed as if in another world, unconnected with the slaughter below.)
There was an interesting presentation by two docents entitled Blackbird Tip-to-Tail, in which they described the history of the Lockheed Blackbird program and conducted a detailed walk-around of the unique M/D 21 variant in the Museum. How fast could that thing really go? It was designed for Mach 3.2-3.5, and according to the docents none of the pilots really pushed it beond that, even though they were only using 70% throttle at that speed. Despite rumours to the contrary, it was never actually taken to Mach 4 – nobody wanted to be the one to find the actual limits.
Concorde2.jpgAnd then across the road from the main museum is the Airpark, with a Concorde, Air Force One (the VC-137B version of Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon), the first Boeing 747, and others. So after dreaming for years that one day I might get to fly in a Concorde, I finally got to walk through one….
(Click the thumbnails for the full-sized images.)

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