Thursday, 7 June 2007

Visit to Concorde & Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands

Last night Jon and I went to an IET lecture at Brooklands. I have not been to Brooklands for years but was impressed by the changes.

The two biggest changes were Concorde and the Mercedes-Benz super-dealership.
Concorde, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The Concorde is fantastic. It is the first ever production spec Concorde to be flown in britain and only the third ever built. This particular Concorde never actually made it into commercial service and was used by BA for spare parts. When Concorde services stopped, BA gave the Concorde to Brooklands. The entire nose section of all Concordes (English or French) were built in Brooklands along with the tail section.

From the outside the plane still looks futuristic and I cannot believe how it must have looked in the 1970s. It is a shame that it no longer flies.

The IET lecture was from Christopher Orlebar, an ex BA Concorde pilot and author of "The Concorde Story". He was funny and had a really interesting talk about the history of Concorde and how it works.

The second part of the lecture was from David MacKay a pilot at Virgin Atlantic and soon to be a pilot at Virgin Galactic. Lucky man! The talk was perhaps a little less technical than I hoped. There was little content of the science and it was mostly an advert for the spaceline service. How long will it be before "Spaceline" and "Spaceport" are as common (or even replace) "Airline" and "Airport"?


Virgin Galactic looks fan-bloody-tastic! You get to fly into space, experience weightlessness for around 5 minutes and get the most amazing view of the planet all for a mere $200,000. The experience is so intense that you have 3 days of training before you get to go on the spaceship.

It is incredible to believe that in around 3 years time we will be able to experience commercial space flight. I am hoping that the cost comes down quickly because I want in!

They are already talking about point to point travel via space between 2 points on Earth in two hours. London to Vegas in 2 hours! Cool.

Lastly a word about the venue, Mercedes-Benz world. Wow.
Mercedes-Benz World
Mercedes-Benz World, originally uploaded by xrrr.

It is a three story mega-dealership with 3 floors of EVERY production Mercedes-Benz car you can buy today including the SLR and Maybach plus a fair sprinkling of classics too. There must have been around £10,000,000 worth of vehicles in that building. You can sit in the cars and do anything other than drive them. If you want a drive, then there is also a test track that you can pay to test the cars on. Wow. I wish BMW would open one up nearby too!

2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren x7
2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren x7, originally uploaded by xrrr.

No comments: