Review: The 50th anniversary of the Concorde

The line for the Concorde was several meters long. It was almost like in 2004, when the white “super bird” was placed on the roof of the Technik Museum Sinsheim. On March 2nd, 2019, however, many visitors came for another reason: the 50th anniversary of the Concorde’s first flight.

But let’s start at the beginning. On March 2nd, 1969, the Concorde took off for the first time and thus heralded the supersonic era. On the exact same day 50 years later, the Technik Museum Sinsheim honoured its “super bird” by preparing a small but very nice celebration. 300 aviation enthusiasts filled up the IMAX 3D cinema and only few seats remained empty. All of the visitors were listening to a very special guest. None other than the former captain of the museum’s own Concorde, Jean-Louis Chatelain, was giving a speech about the myth surrounding the Concorde. He was the one who landed the “Queen of the Skies” at Baden-Airpark in June 2003 and he had a lot to talk about.

However, he had imagined the subsequent autograph session a little different: for hours, he signed books, model aircrafts, photos and even textiles. In the morning already, he had been very busy: a film team from the German broadcasting company SWR had come and filmed for the evening programme.

In the course of the celebration, the museum opened a whole new exhibition with focus on the Concorde. In the museum hall, basically beneath the Concorde and its Soviet equivalent, the Tupolev Tu-144, interested visitors could take a look at the engine and other technical equipment or use some of the original Concorde seats for a break. This was also where the people involved in the transport at the time reminisced about old times and told interested visitors about the challenges that occurred during the transport of the Tupolev Tu-144 and later the Concorde to Sinsheim.

The biggest highlight, however, was an experience visitors could make a few meters above, in the aircraft itself. Thanks to an audio installation, visitors could “fly” across the Atlantic in the Concorde. After the typical announcement “ready to take off”, the inside of the Concorde started vibrating and some people covered their ears. Recordings from the last flight of the exhibited Concorde were used. It was great to see all the amazed and grinning faces.

“The Concorde will be famous forever because it was so progressive at the time,” said Chatelain and confirmed once again that the French-British “super bird” will always stay unequalled.

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