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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.
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.
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.
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.
Like I said, I’ve been blessed with life’s adventures. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays, 2017