On an October afternoon in 2003, a Concorde airliner descended from a cloud-dappled sky and touched down at London’s Heathrow Airport. The plane had taken off from New York’s JFK International Airport just three and a half hours prior, carrying 100 people who’d come to celebrate the end of an era. Since 1976, the supersonic aircraft had flown thousands of passengers around the globe at speeds exceeding Mach 1.0—the speed of sound—but this would be Concorde’s last commercial flight. By sundown, the age of supersonic passenger travel rolled to a complete stop, where it has remained ever since.
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