Concorde stories: Remembering the ‘pocket rocket’

Image copyright Getty Pictures

Concorde, perhaps the most iconic airliner of all time, made its first commercial trip between London and New York 4 decades ago today. Enjoying a trip that took a mere three hrs, the rich and the rushed quaffed champagne and scoffed lobster whilst travelling at twice the speed associated with sound.

Fans of the aircraft included the particular Queen Mother who, after using an earlier flight on Concorde, talked about to Captain Jock Lowe that will whenever she heard the plane nearing her Clarence House home working in london, she would go out on to the balcony plus wave.

This individual told her that from then on when this individual flew Concorde over central Greater london he would flash the aircraft car headlights in salute, which then became the tradition for all the Concorde captains.

Twenty of the birdlike aeroplanes with their distinctive droop-noses were constructed. Seven went to the then state-owned British Airways and seven in order to Air France. The remaining six had been prototypes that never went into traveler service.

Here are some from the tales of Club Concorde members who were inspired and fascinated by their experiences of “the wallet rocket”.

Picture copyright Getty Images
Image caption The first industrial Concorde flight was in January 1976, but US regulations meant United states did not have a service at all till May that year. The New You are able to route was opened in Nov 1977 after a local ban upon supersonic aircraft was overturned
Picture copyright Frank Barratt
Image caption British Air passage flew 35 competition-winners on the first flight between London plus New York, on 22 November 1977

Jazz band on board

On 31 March 1976 Captain John Eames was in command of Concorde G-BOAA in flight from Greater london Heathrow to Bahrain. “Soon right after accelerating to supersonic speed, the main steward came on to the flight outdoor patio and informed me that one of the passengers was a jazz band, filled with instruments. Moreover they wanted the permission to perform in the cabin.

“I was slightly surprised at this notion but determined that as the passenger load has been quite small, ‘why not? ‘ They did play and, I actually learned later, made a documenting of a tune that they had specifically written called The Mach 2 Mar.

“Later, right after we arrived in Bahrain, they arrived round to our hotel and offered a small performance in our hotel’s team party room. I then learned that our own erstwhile passengers were The Temperance 7 .

“On a later visit to Bahrain their particular leader, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, came to dinner at the team hotel and gave me a documenting that they had made and including the aforesaid March, interspersed along with my in-flight announcements. ”

Image copyright Concorde Club
Image caption The Ryder Cup is certainly flown home in 1995 simply by Captain Jock Lowe; Concorde Chief Dave Leney and his crew are usually introduced to the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana
Image copyright laws Keystone
Image caption The elegant aeroplane actually inspired accessories and makeup

‘The memories are precious’

As a teenager in London, Trish Dainton would certainly often stop in her tracks and appear up to the sky when hearing that will instantly recognisable sound. “It was obviously a regular sight but every time was just like the first.

“Unknown to me at the time, in another section of London, another teenager would furthermore look up in awe hoping to end up being on Concorde one day. Forward-fast a couple of years and our paths had entered.

“In 1987, the particular young man – Steve Dainton — and I got engaged. We wedded in 1988 and made the promise that we would do something quite special like travelling on Concorde for our 10th year as a the wife and hubby. We were so serious about it that people opened a 10-year joint diathesis policy and paid into it each month.

“We were definitely thrilled to find we had been allotted seats 1A and 1B. They are the seats at the very front side of the plane and where the details board was.

“The in-flight service was flawless, as would be expected. We were amazed we could get to meet the captain along with other members of the crew and get photos.

“The remembrances of that time are now even more valuable. In 2011 aged just 49, Sam died from Huntington’s disease he previously inherited from his father. Even though he did not have the gene officially diagnosed until seven years right after our trip, when we married we all knew that there was a risk all of us wouldn’t be growing old together therefore it was imperative we did not delay things for too long.

“I will always cherish having been capable to share living the dream along with Steve by my side. I really hope Concorde takes to the skies once again one day to allow others to wish and to fulfil their dreams such as we did. ”

Image copyright Getty Pictures
Image caption Air France and British Air passage each had seven Concorde aeroplanes
Image copyright Ian Waldie
Image caption Due to the time difference between New York plus London, those flying to the ALL OF US would arrive at an earlier hour compared to they left the UK

‘Knocked away my stool’

The finish of the runways at Heathrow most have public roads and footpaths near them. During the summer associated with 2003 Jetinder Sira often used to stroll to these spots: “I would endure on my blue stool awaiting Concorde to take off.

“The idea was in order to stand on the stool near the finish of the runway, peek over the edge fence and look down the runway.

“When I saw Concorde coming I got my camera plus started taking photos. As the lady very rapidly flew over the fencing and over my head, she produced a shockwave and this shockwave pulled me off my feet plus off my stool. It was an incredible experience, it wasn’t a one away, it happened on every single take-off.

“No additional plane, not even the ‘overweight’ Boeing 747 (which was twice the dimensions of Concorde) could ever knock myself off my feet, but Concorde did. ”

Image copyright Getty Pictures
Image caption A retired BA Concorde had been sailed up the Hudson River within New York to be exhibited at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Art gallery
Image copyright Ron Moran
Image caption Cleansers go over the inside of Concorde from its development site in Filton, near Bristol

Champagne apology

Stephen Gay flew Concorde twice, each times from London to Ny, in the early 1980s: “On the 2nd flight, one of the flight attendants leaking some of the lunch offering on our trousers while she was helping me. Needless to say she was many embarrassed and apologised profusely.

“As I disembarked at JFK, she met myself at the door and handled me personally two bottles of French bubbly and stated her hope they would offset the cost of dry-cleaning the suit, to which I replied along with understatement: ‘Yes, that would just about include it. ‘

“A class act on her part which of BA. ”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Higher fliers view the eclipse in 1999 throughout a flight in Concorde at fifty five, 000 feet over the Atlantic, whilst (right) flight crew show a unique Concorde postage stamp
Image copyright laws Bruno Vincent
Picture caption Captain Mike Bannister poses next to the captain’s seat with members of the flight team, at a viewing of memorabilia to become auctioned


Doug Newton , who was located in the Concorde Flight Test Section at Fairford, recalls: “During the particular flight-testing days we flew right down to Casablanca for a day out when we had been asked by another snail airplane who we were and what we were carrying out.

“Our solution: ‘We are at 600mph, accelerating; fifty, 000ft climbing; mate – this really is Concorde over and out. ‘

“‘Jeeez’ was the just reply!

“So Concorde 202 – G – BBDG sped on with some wry grins in the cockpit. All in a day’s work!

“Still extremely proud of our aircraft and what we all did to get it into air travel service. I was in fact on the shipping flight from Fairford to Heathrow airport in January 1976 of the very initial Concorde for BA. ”

Image copyright Graeme Robertson
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The particular Queen on Concorde with Erina Heseltine

‘Floods of tears’

“I booked a trip designed for my husband’s 30th birthday like a surprise, ” says Jan Ward . “It has been one of the best experiences of our lives and had an amazing weekend.

“The day they did the last Concorde landings, we were on our method to Devon. It must have been the only real time that we were grateful to be in a traffic jam. Our Audi had a television in it, and, once we were stationary, we were able to view them come in from their final trip.

“It produced me so emotional. I was within floods of tears. It was fortunate that I wasn’t driving. ”

Image copyright Sion Touhig
Image copyright Ian Waldie
Image caption The particular British Airways Concorde is ready for its final flight in the year 2003

‘Lifted from our seats’

Neil Kemsley says he had been one of the lucky people given a totally free flight on Concorde as part of a campaign.

“We boarded at Gatwick and then landed on Heathrow.

“This trip was passengers-only and no baggage, as well as the captain was very aware of the truth that the aircraft would be a lot lighter in weight than usual and was in order to impress us all on the performance. Whenever we were all seated he asked for that we all ensure that our seatbelts were securely fastened.

“We taxied to the end from the runway. We took off like a topic out of a gun, climbing nearly up and down. When we had reached some incredible altitude he took the power away from and we lifted out of our chairs.

“What an excellent experience. ”

Image copyright Bruno Vincent
Image caption Concorde was instantly recognisable because of its birdlike shape and dropped nose

Skipped opportunity

Dennis Williams , who lived within Woking until 1986, said: “Concorde was a familiar sight and audio overhead our house.

“When we moved to Herefordshire, we changed Concorde for low-flying military aircraft, which appeared to be much noisier.

“Nearing my 60th birthday celebration, my wife thought that she would surprise me personally by booking a champagne Concorde flight.

“She then realised that a hefty drawback from our joint bank account would entice suspicion, so she had to confide her plans with me.

“I was overjoyed with such a wonderful birthday present, but made the decision that I would rather wait until I actually retired at 65 and take those trip then.

“Sad to say, as history relates, just before I reached retirement, Concorde has been withdrawn from service and I by no means flew in her. ”

Image copyright Graeme Robertson

Words by Bethan Bell.

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