Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, sending many into mourning. Fellow Boarding Area blogger Matthew Klint noted several of her family members rode a Royal Air Force Dassault Falcon 900LX to Scotland earlier in the day.
But to take the aviation-related trivia even further, business travel aficionado Joe Brancatelli noted Thursday evening:
To put Queen Elizabeth’s 96 years in aviation perspective: She was born before the first transatlantic nonstop flight, began her reign before the first commercial jet flight, witnessed the birth of supersonic and jumbo jets and is honored with Queen’s Terminal at London/Heathrow.
Interesting, isn’t it?
(For those of us with family members turning 97 or older sooner: thank you, Joe, for this wonderful tidbit. This will come in handy for birthday party speeches.)
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Have a hospitalized relative aged 96 years old who may be turning 97 years old this month if she defeats death a while longer. Such dignified people whose lives were so interesting — and even way ahead of their times with travel and more even in an era when women were more typically pigeon-holed by government and society than nowadays — have greatly informed me in so many ways that no amount of thanks giving does justice to their contributions to their families, society, the state and the world at large.
Unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth saw the decline of the British aerospace industry. Near the start of her reign was the deHavilland Comet, years ahead of the Boeing 707. Later came the VC-10 and Concorde.
On the military side, the first stealth bomber, the Avro Vulcan. The supersonic BAC Lightning.
Now the British don’t make commercial airliners. BAe ATP – gone. Jetstream 31 – gone. BAe 146 and BAe RJ85 – gone. They only make Airbus wings. Even the military side is smaller. They make part of the Eurofighter Typhoon.
As with de-industrialization in other places, de-industrialization in the UK has led to and exacerbated problems in the UK. And yet the standard of living in the UK had risen tremendously during the course of her reign as head of state, some credit of which she certainly deserves as she provided stability of a sort that does advance business and the royal family under her were strong ambassadors for British trade.
Not being as much of a manufacturing hub — for aviation or anything else — as in the past is not necessarily a sign of things gone entirely wrong in the UK. But the UK is now also at risk of having its best days as a trading hub of various sorts being behind it. The Queen couldn’t have done much of anything to stop or even slow de-industrialization trends. But she could have spoken out as an ambassador for trade by opposing Brexit; however, she didn’t, and it seemed like she also made sure to try to keep her family out of taking strong stances on the matter. But she deliberately tried to stay above the heated political issues of the day and be a figure of non-partisan stability — and that was her at her pinnacle best for her country and for her legacy in an era where institutions respectful of democracy are under threat in far too many places.