|About the Book|
Once we are through it, once we have burned enough fuel fast enough, pushed our little jet plane into the air compressing before us to use it to our own advantage, then our machine develops a peace in harmony with its environment. On the way thoughMoreOnce we are through it, once we have burned enough fuel fast enough, pushed our little jet plane into the air compressing before us to use it to our own advantage, then our machine develops a peace in harmony with its environment. On the way though it is ugly- our transonic world is an ugly place where the control loads are high, our efficiency at its worst, and our anxieties wallow in a winter of misery. This is not a place to linger- the transonic region, like a deep dank subway station, is not a place to hang around. It is place through which to pass with all speed.At twice the speed of sound we are at peace. Our engines are super efficient, our long, slender, delta wings have shaped the shock waves and bled away the subsonic air needed to support us against gravity. Here we can travel at fourteen hundred miles an hour while burning fuel no less efficiently than a 747: reducing airframe fatigue time by sixty percent and engine fatigue time by four times that amount. A Concorde in super sonic cruise is a thing of great beauty.My nephew never did reply to my letter but Amanda, his sister, did, and suggested a time and place to meet.Meeting this child, all my memories of her were as a toddler, grown to a woman of thirty with two children of her own, was a strange experience. She started by calling me Uncle Bill, such formality, almost pomp. I was at a loss as to how to manage the conversation because I had not had any meaningful exchanges with Amanda since she was very small, when I changed her diapers, and only a little later when I took her swimming. Since then there had been no contact- I did not know her. How was I to glean intimate, family, information that she might well be at lengths to hide, from a stranger with whom I had been so familiar?“How old are your boys?” I asked.“Samuel is seven, Martin is five,” she said simply, adding nothing further.