What Does The Future Hold For Young Airplane Geeks?

The other day my seven year old son, Max, asked me why I can’t take him on the Concorde. When I explained to him that Concorde had been retired in November 2003 I was met with the follow up question enquiring why there were supersonic jets when I was a kid, but none while he is a kid.


Answering this question was more of dancing the question that actually answering it.


Just after my Son asked about Concorde the Space Shuttle Discovery flew over Washington, DC … piggy backed atop of a 747-123/SCA, stripped of her engines, for her last flight, to her new home at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center.


I sat with my son and showed him photos of Discovery and discussed how the Space Shuttle was essentially a massive glider once it reentered the atmosphere … and began pondering, what does the future hold for young airplane geeks?


The Airbus A380 is a massive aircraft and a breathtaking to stand beneath, the Boeing 787 is incredible and amazing to be just a few yards from as it puts its wheels down, the Lockheed Martin F-35 is fantastic in its technology and versatility … but only one of these new aircraft breaks the speed of sound and chances are neither my Son nor I will ever get to take flight in it … and none of these aircraft travel into space.


Of all the photos that sum up the question of what will young airplane geeks dream about, one stands out, a photo shot by Carolyn Russo and published by the National Air and Space Museum on the 17th of April.


Take a moment to look at the photo below and ponder why I had the Concorde and Space Shuttle as a kid … but my kids do not.


Happy Flying!






  1. I worked for Northwest Airlines for 10 years. In addition to their JFK- and (MIA-) IAD-LHR service, British Airways used to run a fair number of Concorde charters. They would occasionally run an interline employee special where you could enter a lottery to fly a deadhead/repositioning flight on Concorde from the East Cost to LHR for under $1000. I submitted my application and cashier’s check 5 or 6 times, but never got picked. If/when air travel goes supersonic again, I’ll be the first one in line to by a revenue ticket!

  2. To be brutally honest, the airplane geek in me is just about dead. What do I see at every airport? The same parade of boring aircraft. I just can’t get excited over seeing a WN 738 because I’ve seen it countless times in other livery.

    Even the military aircraft are getting boring and don’t even get me started on the sad excuse for airshows today. Do I care if a rocket truck can beat a Pitts Special down a runway? No, but that’s what most airshows seem to be moving to. I remember an F-15 crossing over the crowd from behind at trans-sonic speeds before lighting up her afterburner and going vertical, the ground shaking from the power of the engines at such a low altitude and the heat on our faces from the afterburner. When is the last time that happened? Or a B-1B coming low and fast across the crowd line and lighting up her quad-afterburners at show center? Sure there is the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels, but once you’ve seen them once it is like watching the same A320s taking off at DEN.

    Don’t get me wrong. I still love aircraft. As I type this I hear one headed toward final at DEN and I find myself searching the sky to try to see it, but I know in my brain it will just be another A320, 757, or 767 even as my heart wants to see something new and wonderful.

    I often discuss this lack of something Concorde-esce with my stepfather who worked on the 757/767 project at Boeing. We end up agreeing that the drive today is toward risk aversion and higher profit margins. Companies just don’t want to take a gamble on something too cutting edge. Airbus had the A380, but even that concept had been considered at Boeing previously. We aren’t a nation or risk takers (be it US, France, Britain, etc). We want to keep our jobs and mitigate our risk.

  3. I’m with Rocky. Your son will likely have the pleasure of orbiting earth, a pleasure you and I might enjoy, but we will be much later in our lives than he will be in his.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *