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Those glorious flying machines

By CNN's Richard Quest

French supersonic plane Concorde makes its last landing at Le Bourget.
French supersonic plane Concorde makes its last landing at Le Bourget.

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LE BOURGET, France (CNN) -- Am I an anorak? There comes a point in everyone's life when one must face up to some harsh truths.

In my case, it is that I love planes. Exciting, beautiful and those magical things that go up in the air.

So I must also come to the regretful conclusion that I am probably an aviation anorak.

For those unfamiliar with the derogatory term, it is usually used to describe those railway enthusiasts who stand at the end of British railway platforms taking down train numbers.

They are the most notable for the cheap but functional anorak overcoats they wear along with their thermos flask of tea and sandwiches -- a very British eccentric tradition.

So it was that I found myself at the Paris Air show at Le Bourget.

Now, I have been to the Farnborough Air Show in England several times, which rotates with Paris every other year to host the display, and have always reveled not just in the sights and sounds of the planes.

But more importantly the opportunity to talk planes, think planes and gossip planes without my usual friends and partners eyes glazing over.

What the Paris show reminded me is that I am very much an amateur.

Oh, I can tell my Boeing 747-400 from my Boeing 747 Classic. I can recognize an Airbus 340 at a thousand feet in the sky.

But I am babe in arms when it comes to my military planes. F15's? F16/6? Eurofighters? Nope. Can't do it. I flunk the big test.

I am certainly behind the gentlemen who having just walked around the Airbus mock-up of the inside of a plane -- yes, just a regular plane, the sort you'd fly on anywhere in the world and complain as you do so shrieked:

"It's like Christmas. I just don't know what to look at next."

Does this matter? Not really, because at the end of the day I just get a simple delight from watching these beautiful birds fly.

My producer looked on in horror as I had the look of an enraptured beau on my face as the Airbus A340 twisted and turned in the air.

As I scampered into the brand new Global Challenger executive jet to see what $18 million would buy she pretended she didn't know me.

So, while I might not know enough about aircraft to qualify for a real anorak, a cheap imitation model is certainly on my shopping list.

I must go now, my Thermos flask is getting cold and there is a rather interesting model of the new superjumbo that I want to investigate at close quarters.

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