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Bright And Brief

May 20, 1988

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A group of air travelers paid nearly $1,000 for a champagne flight to nowhere, but there wasn’t a complaint in the bunch.

Thursday’s flight was aboard the supersonic Concorde, which is starring at the Air-Space America ’88 show at Brown Field, flying passengers halfway to Hawaii and back on demonstration flights scheduled to continue through Sunday.

″For me it was a dream of a lifetime to get a chance to go up and do that sort of thing,″ said Barbara Hayes, 57. ″It was especially wonderful to see how much darker outer space looks when you’re at 70,000 feet.″

During the journey, the plane reaches Mach 1, the speed of sound, and Mach 2, about 1,400 mph and twice the speed of sound. It travels at a maximum altitude of 59,000 feet, from which the Earth’s curvature is visible.

The flight includes a lunch of caviar canapes, smoked salmon, chocolate mousse and French champagne. San Diego Postmaster Margaret Sellers stamped post cards and letters with a commemorative postmark featuring the Concorde.

About 700 people are expected to pay $985 for the privilege.

″It’s the excitement of it, the exclusivity of it,″ said Joan Berliner, a 44-year-old Los Angeles insurance broker aboard the first flight Thursday.

″I’m glad I did it,″ said Dick Davis, 64, a retired pilot who figured he’d flown ″everything but the Concorde and a rocket.″

″I’m getting old now ... and I figured it was time to try it,″ he said.

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