The Concorde, Futurism, and The Future

Sixteen years ago, a Concorde crashed outside Paris right after takeoff on its way to New York. It was its last, catastrophic flight, if we do not count the farewell tour three years later. Soon after, British Airways and Air France decided to withdraw the supersonic airplane, that covered the London-New York route in less than four hours, and even as little as two hours and fifty two minutes. Unlike many other plane models, it was the first and only crash of the Concorde in its twenty seven years of service. Yet the plane, a technological marvel that still fascinates airplane spotters and buffs, was futuristic in a strict sense of the world. Everything from its aesthetics to its very low fuel efficiency was so futuristic that it was doomed to age quaintly. Futurism is an early 20th century Italian art and thought school that vigorously advocated modernism, even violently, embracing the promises of technology. Like most futuristic things, as seen in old science fiction movies, the sight of flying cars, pedestrians in shiny astronaut suits and spiraling skyscrapers that disappear in the clouds, the Concorde was showing its age. There are efforts to revive the plane, with a more sustainable design. Its achievements, mainly bridging the Atlantic in as little as a long weekend drive, are well worth the efforts.

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