Supersonic biscuit man

Well, the really big news here this week is not the Prime Minister’s heart palpitations, not the leadership revolt in the Conservative party, not even the sensational conviction of a British woman for running Europe’s biggest prostitution ring, but the end of the era of supersonic flight.

British Airways announced in the spring that it would retire Concorde this year, and the last flight is tomorrow.

Consequently, this week has seen a lot of emotional coverage of this story in the press, online and on television. Apparently, many ordinary people think of Concorde as Britain’s last great feat of superlative engineering. One elderly man even went so far as to suggest on TV that it would be Britain’s last such achievement ever (what a presumptuous pessimist he must be)!

No one remembers, or perhaps more accurately cares, that Concorde was developed in co-operation with France. Nor does anyone appear to care that France was the sole beneficiary of all the cutting-edge technology that Concorde produced. France has a vibrant aeronautical industry based in Toulouse, while Britain’s commercial aircraft manufacturing ceased completely years ago.

Of course, if you asked today’s taxpayers if they’d like to pay exorbitant sums of money in order to transport the rich and famous at speeds faster than that of sound, you’d be ridiculed beyond belief. I suspect even Concorde’s biggest fans would balk at paying for it now.

Justin Cornell in Concorde's cockpit

The best Concorde-related story by far came from the BBC: "My supersonic seat cost