False start

Aerospatiale’s Concorde made its maiden flight 40 years ago this week

This Concorde is now in the National Air and Space Museum.

Aerospatiale's Concorde made its maiden flight 40 years ago this week, a half-hour hop out of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport on March 2, 1969.

What heady days those were for aviation and space. Not a month earlier, the Boeing 747 had made its first flight. And a month and a half prior to that, the Saturn V had launched with humans aboard for the first time, headed for ten orbits around the moon. Politicians and engineers were dreaming big, and turning those dreams into reality. Could the Wrights, brought back from the dead, have believed their eyes? All this in a three-month period just 65 years after their wobbly first flight?

It's darned possible that they'd believe it more than we do now. Was it a dream? Did we go to the moon? Did we fly daily across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound? With the lumbering Jumbo Jet the only survivor of those three, it's clear that the combination of size and economy won out. Speed, well, it's a luxury. And moon bases and Mars voyages, still a fantasy.

One outa three ain't...bad?

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