As a druid, I was agast at the waste of resources, the sheer amount of fuel needed to shuttle rich folk between continents at supersonic speed. 6180 gallons per hour! What a waste of dwindling resource, what a producer of pollution, and for only one hundred people.
And yet as an engineer I can only marvel at the grace of this spirit of the air – as well designed for it’s environment as a shark. And recalculating the fuel economy as 17 miles per gallon per passenger, perhaps it wasn’t so bad; many 4×4’s on the school run manage far less.
I recall with some mixed emotion, standing at the end of the runway at Patchway, Bristol, watching the last of these great confusions of beast and beauty land for the very last time back in November 2003, surrounded by so many tearful folk. Here she is…
And it hurts me in a strange way therefore to learn that this very ‘plane sits rotting out in the weather, to the point that it was reported today that she has a hole in the edge of her wing. Druid or engineer, she is a part of the history of this place, heritage of our lands. We ought really to treat her with a little more respect. Like the space race, her design and engineering produced many innovations both inside her industry and outside it. Is it too much to ask that this monument to bygone achievement is cared for, if only for our children to shake their heads and decry the days of plunder?