Friday, September 4, 2009

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

From my Concorde journal June 26, 1988 approaching New York City:
"Dropping fast . . . now at 52,000 ft. at Mach 1:38. Outside temperature -67 degrees celsius.
"At 10:07 New York time we have 90 miles to go. Now at 14,000 ft., Mach 0.67. Made a visit to the lavatory to freshen up before landing. Discovered everything I needed and then some! Not only linen towels and hand-milled soap, but also hand lotion, body lotion, cologne.
"10:12 a.m. and 9,500 ft. Outside temp is +10 degrees celsius, Mach 0.63. Chances are we will be 2-3 minutes ahead of schedule. The captain announces that 'he would be grateful if we would fasten our seat belts now and stay in our seats.'
"10:17 a.m. and 7,500 ft. at Mach 0.61. Outside temp +16 degrees celsius. We're doing "S" turns and a couple of 360 degree turns out over the water to slow us down. The captain says we're 10 minutes to touchdown and it could be quite choppy until we land. He announced he would be grateful if the cabin attendants would strap themselves in.'
"Low, scuddy clouds and some thunder-boomers building up overhead. Now at 7,000 ft. and we can feel drag. If I knew where in heck the flaps were, or if I could see them on this delta-wing baby, I could confirm that.
"10:22 a.m. at 5,000 ft. Actually, pretty smooth. Can't see anything, though. Now the digital display on the bulkhead says simply, 'Thank you for flying Concorde.'
"Coming through 4,000 ft. I can see the ground through the soup.
"10:26 a.m. Now full power. Gear coming down, flaps extended. Noisy! Turning on final over rows and rows of houses. More power. Light rain. More power. Perfect Landing! On time at 10:30 a.m. Engine reverse was so loud and powerful Diane says she has wet her pants."
The last word in my journal was "Incredible."

And so ends the story of "the trip of a lifetime" with my dear friend, Diane Goulett. I have enjoyed reliving our Concorde adventure in vivid detail. . . . just one small chapter of our 43-year-old friendship. Farewell, dear friend, Diane Mayhew Goulett: June 18, 1929 - August 3, 2009.


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