The Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Airliner
By Jonathan Glancey
Published by Atlantic: Distributed by Allen & Unwin
RRP $45.00 in hardback; 384 pp
I picked up this book from my review bookshelf and immediately thought, this is one for the aviation tragics, of which I know there are quite a few.
The introduction to the book sets the scene in the very first sentences:
On a looming day of low cloud and swept snow in February 1969, test pilot Jack Waddell lifted a massive Boeing 747 into the air above Everett, Washington. The maiden flight of the Jumbo Jet lasted eight-five minutes. The aircraft was, Waddell told waiting journalists on landing, ‘ridiculously easy to fly, a pilot’s dream ….’
The following month, on a dull and damp day in southern France, Concorde 001 reached for the clouds brooding over Toulouse. Andre Turcat had the dream job of piloting this pencil-thin machine, a supersonic rapier to Boeing’s subsonic broadsword. Keeping Concorde’s drooping nose-cone and stork-like undercarriage down throughout the twenty-seven-minute rite of passage, Turcat returned to tell a packed press conference, ‘Finally the big bird flies, and I can say …. It flies pretty well.”
Jonathan Glancey traces the development of Concorde not just through existing material and archives, but through interviews with those who lived with the supersonic project from its inception. The resulting book is a celebration of the achievement of Concorde, as well as a thoroughly researched history.
As I said, a book for aviation tragics.
About the author:
Jonathan Glancey loves trains and planes – he is a pilot – his previous books include Harrier and the bestselling Spitfire: The Biography.