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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Back when Fairfax tried to ban the Concorde

Editor’s Notebook: Back when Fairfax tried to ban the Concorde

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The history items that run in the paper each week provide some insight into the past, but also show that human nature doesn’t change much, especially when we’re talking politicians.

Consider back in 1976, that year of the bicentennial when Captain & Tennille were at the top of the pop charts and that saucy “Three’s Company” debuted on TV.

It was back this very time of year in 1976 that the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors was trying to convince a federal judge that it deserved standing (love that legal jargon!) to challenge British Airways and Air France serving Dulles International Airport with the Concorde.

Fairfax officials were responding to constituents, some of whom were complaining about the noise involved.


It was on March 13, 1976, that the Northern Virginia Sun reported that the judge, perhaps after having stopped laughing heartily in his chambers over the audacity of Fairfax supervisors trying to trump federal transportation law, issued his ruling that the Concorde indeed could serve Dulles despite the complaints at the local level.

Some of the aforementioned supervisors promised an appeal. But in the end, that lovely if extraordinarily ineffecient aircraft would in fact be seen plying the skies of the local area.

In fact, when the ol’ McCaffrey crew moved from Vienna to the wild, wild western Fairfax County area right around 1980, I recall playing ball (or some such) in the back yard as a Concorde made a very low pass on approach to Dulles. Left quite the impression.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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