The Concorde Makes A Comeback
After a ballyhooed farewell last week, a retired British Airways Concorde will tear through the sky over Southern Queens one more time as it returns to JFK – before being transported to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in Manhattan, the fabled "Speedbird’s" final home.
Representatives from the Intrepid and British Airways (BA) announced on Thursday that one of the supersonic jets, which took its last London-bound flight out of JFK last week, will be coming to rest at Manhattan’s floating museum.
The Wave learned of the agreement before the Intrepid made the announcement to the other members of the media, but at press time it was unclear exactly when the flight would arrive, although an Intrepid Museum spokesperson did say that it would be at the Aircraft Carrier Museum "sometime next month."
BA Spokesperson John Lampl confirmed that the Concorde would arrive in the U.S. by air, and then be taxied to the end of a runway and placed on a barge for its trip to the Hudson River museum, at Pier 86 on the West Side.
Many Rockaway, Broad Channel, and Howard Beach residents and elected officials cheered and savored a champagne toast, last week, as the Concorde flew over Howard Beach for her "final flight."
As the sun rose over the back of runway 31-left that crisp Friday morning, the crowd gathered at Charles Park, in Howard Beach. The view of Jamaica Bay, with the early morning rays turning the sky pink and orange and highlighting the water’s ripples, was picturesque even before the Concorde burst into the frames of awaiting cameras. The scene was so radiant that many photographers’ images suffered from solar flare, caused by shooting directly into the light.
For nearly three decades the Concorde, which traveled faster than any other commercial jet, was the pride of British and French aviation. It was also admired and cursed by residents living near the JFK and Heathrow airports.
But Queens’ residents were more likely to growl back at the roaring, fuel guzzling status symbol in the sky. According to Limpl, most residents around Heathrow were "avid Concorde followers."
Windsor, England, a tony town over which the jet frequently passed over, was the site of a special salute. The Round Tower of Windsor Palace, the Queen’s official residence, was illuminated to honor the "final flight," according to Roger Cullingham, a lifelong resident of Windsor. Cullingham, 55, called it "a rare occurrence…permitted only for major state events."
Residents of Southern Queens, meanwhile, appear to be just one more "final flight" away from seeing the Concorde in a way that will please her admirers and foes –she will be closer-than-ever, and silent, at the Intrepid.