Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hurled Through Time and Space: Concorde Episode 6:What 60,000 ft. looks like from the Flight Deck

Concorde Flight Deck, Flight 9091, June 26, 1988
What we must have looked like!
"Altitude: 57,600 ft. Filling out U.S. Customs forms. Only 760 miles to go to New York."
The Captain invited us up to the flight deck to say hello. They were very cordial but pretty busy and pretty cramped. Didn't have nearly the space the flight crews enjoyed on the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser back in the 1950's, but then what aircraft ever did? Especially a supersonic one.
"Just clearing 59,000 ft and on our way to 60,000 ft." The Concorde was flown as high as 68,000 ft. in experimental flight, but with passengers 60,000 ft. was as high as the aircraft were certified to fly. Still at Mach 2:00.
"So what does it look like out there on the horizon? Clear. Kind of a hazy blue, fading into an orchid hue where the horizon curves. Yes, curves! Ever so slightly, but clearly, we witness the curvature of the earth. That was worth the price of admission right there.
Beginning our descent into New York we left 60,000 ft at Mach 1:85 airspeed. The Captain announced he was taking us "out of orbit" now. His exact words.

Next Post: Hurled Through Time and Space: Concorde Episode 7: Return to Earth



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