Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


SORTING OUT OLD files, I am reminded of a career blessed with wonderful people and adventures. This particular bit of itinerary is titled Monaco ’93 Paris Mom (I visited her upon return, as part of my early retirement program).


Its details come rushing back.

Wednesday, May 19, 1993. Le Grill, Hotel de Paris, 7:40 p.m. This famed hotel is along the Monaco GP circuit, at the top of the hill across the street from the Casino. Motorsports legend Huschke von Hanstein says good evening to me in the hotel lobby. Rob Walker had once introduced us; this time, years later, the Baron greets me by name.


Fritz Sittig Enno Werner von Hanstein, 1911–1996, German racing driver, Porsche public relations manager and chief of competition department during the 1950s, motor racing ambassador. Image from

Sunday, May 23, 1993. Electric car laps, 2–2:30 p.m. This was just prior to the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix won by Ayrton Senna and his McLaren-Ford.


The Fiat Cinquecento Electtra I co-drove was no quicker than Senna through the chicane. Indeed, it was one helluva lot slower. Image by Nigel Snowden, R&T, September 1993.

Thursday, May 27. Paris/NY Concorde. Indeed, this was the second time I’d been aboard a Supersonic Transport. The previous time, though, the STT didn’t move. And they locked everything down before letting us anywhere near the controls.


Here I am at the controls of a British Air Concorde, part of R&T’s 1988 comparison test of the Concorde versus the Queen Elizabeth 2.

By contrast, on May 27, 1993, my Air France Flight 001 really moved. It departed Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport at 11 a.m. and arrived at New York’s J.F.K. at 8:45 that same morning.


Such were the wonders of transonic transatlantic travel.

The Concorde accommodated 100 passengers, all First Class. Among those that particular day was Henry Kissinger’s wife, Nancy. Unlike Baron von Hanstein, she hadn’t made my acquaintance.


I knew from previous research that 37,000 ft. was a key altitude for the Concorde. Initially, the aircraft’s outer skin grew colder with ambient temperature, around – 40 at that altitude. As a bit of scientific trivia, I don’t need to specify Fahrenheit or Celsius for this particular value: – 40 deg F = – 40 deg C.

As the SST continued accelerating beyond 37,000 ft. to its cruising altitude beyond 50,000 ft., its outer skin heated up with the craft’s increasing speed. At Mach 2.02, around 1370 mph, the fuselage’s outer skin was around 100 degrees Celsius/212 degrees Fahrenheit.

And, sure enough, you could feel warmth through the cabin wall. You could also see the curvature of the Earth from that altitude.


Air France Concorde. Image by Thierry Ducros at

Like I said, I’ve been blessed with life’s adventures. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays, 2017

4 comments on “MY RETURN TRIP AT 1370 MPH

  1. Paul M Everett
    February 25, 2017

    We’re all jealous seeing these notes of your trip! I’ve enjoyed the stories about von Hanstein (Ludvigsen’s “Excellence Was Expected,” R&T), so: If his name is Fritz Sittig Enno Werner von Hanstein, where does the Huschke come from?

  2. Frank Barrett
    February 25, 2017

    Trivia: Huschke von Hanstein’s glasses and sport coat are on display in the Sinsheim Museum in Germany.

  3. Frank Barrett
    February 25, 2017

    Trivia: Huschke von Hanstein’s glasses and sport coat are on display in the Sinsheim Museum in Germany. Did you grow up in Lancaster county? If so, why did I never see you at York US30 Drag-O-Way or Susquehanna Speedway or Williams Grove?

  4. stylumdesign
    February 25, 2017

    Thank you for sharing!

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