background image
Page 191
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 11
About the time Gary Cole had the Con-
corde engine polished, painted, and ready to
go, David Hannah and I flew over to Austin
Executive Airport and examined the layout
for the light fixtures above and below the en-
gine. Everything looked fine. The most ob-
vious problem, it occurred to me only then,
was getting the gargantuan engine through
the door without damaging anything in the
process. All told, the thing was 13 feet long, 6
feet high, and 5 feet wide. And did I forget to
mention this ponderous hunk of machinery
weighed more than eight thousand pounds?
When the engine was ready to install, I ar-
ranged to have it trucked to the airport, trans-
ferred from its heavy-duty yellow shipping
stand to the light-weight display stand spe-
cially designed and built by Gary Cole. Then
I rounded up every hand I could get (about a
dozen men in total) who collectively shoved
and cajoled the bulky contraption clear of the
door, past the reception counter, through the
waiting area, and into its final display location.
In all, I made just one mistake--in under-
estimating what that weight might do to a
freshly installed stone tile floor. As hard as
we tried to protect the new tiles by covering
the floor with sheets of plywood, the shear
weight of the engine and stand left small scars
etched into the stone as a reminder of the in-
stallation. Compared to what could have gone
wrong (some minor devastation to the build-
ing itself, an unmerciful forklift accident, a toe
or a finger mashed in the moving process), I
considered a few scratched tiles a resounding
Nearly eight years after my last flight on
Concorde and seven years after buying my
very own Rolls Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593
Turbo jet engine, I had accomplished what I
set out to do. I had exhibited this historically
significant piece of aviation technology in a
place of honor, where anyone with a passing
interest could get as close as they liked--see
and smell and touch cold metal, experience
the sheer size of it, try and grasp (if just for
a moment) what a monumental feat the Con-
corde engine was in the history of commer-
cial supersonic flight.