Mach 1.7 – Reached
In the cabin
I realised that had just witnessed the 2nd sunrise of the day (21st October 2003), this was mind blowing stuff as I had only ever seen one sunrise per day in my whole life but in the space of roughly 13 hrs I had seen the sunrise in Romford at 6.30am, seen the sunset at Heathrow at 6pm before my flight and now at around 7.30pm UK time I had seen the sunrise again while I was flying on Concorde.
This was mind blowing stuff but on Concorde it just seemed normal, routine and natural it didn’t seem odd or unreal at all (and this was part Concorde’s magic).
I looked at the mach meters the display now started to alternate from displaying
Mach number, height, outside air temperature and speed
Mach number, height, outside air temperature, DTG and speed.
Above is a simulation to show how the mach meters behaved, it is not based on actual data from my flight. I wanted to enjoy my flight and only looked at the mach meters from time to time to see how fast, how high and how cold it was outside.
(Press F5 to see animation again)
DTG alternated with the outside air temperature sign, some times I’d see DTG other times I’d see outside air temperature in the same place as DTG was few seconds before.
I wondered what DTG stood for ……… as numbers changed it clicked inside me, DTG stood for Distance To Go and Concorde was showing us how many miles we had left to New York.
This was clever stuff but I didn’t want to “count down“ to the end my flight and end of my dream so I ignored the DTG display and mostly looked at the Mach number, height, outside air temperature and speed displays as that’s what mattered to me.
We where now at 47,000 feet and had reached mach 1.7 (1,129 mph).......We where flying at 1 3/4 times the speed of sound.......Having broken through the sound barrier and reached mach 1.7 minute by minute night was slowly turning in to day.......Sunrise which normally takes 1-2 hrs to happen on ground took minutes to happen on Concorde as we where flying nearly twice as fast as the speed of sound.
We where now starting to catch the setting sun up, our optimum cruising height and speed had not yet been reached so we still had away to go but we where gently and effortlessly continuing to smoothly accelerate and climb to our specified height and the magic Mach 2 (1,320 mph).
On the distant horizon I could see the sky gradually turning from black in to a band of light rainbow colours stacked on top of each other starting with dark red and slowly graduating in to orange, pinky orange, pink, pinky purple, purple blue, white, turquoise, sky blue, blue, dark blue, navy blue and finally black at the top.
At 47,000 feet the colours where richer and clearer than they would be if I’d seen them from the ground.