FlySSC
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First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:18 am

Tuesday January 21st 1976 - Saturday January 21st 2006.

30 years ago ...

On that day, the two sole operators of the Supersonic Jetliner Concorde, Air France and British Airways, inaugurated their supersonic flights from London-Heathrow to Bahrein for B.A, and from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Rio de Janeiro, via Dakar, for A.F.

Air France Concorde 085 took off at 12:40PM.
The 100 lucky passengers boarded Air France Concorde F-BVFA from the Satellite 5 at the brand new CDG airport, just opened two years previously.
77 of them were French, 8 Americans, 6 Germans, 2 Spanish, 2 Scandinavians, 4 Italians, 1 Swiss.
The oldest passenger was an 82 years old lady from Toulouse, who booked her seat several years in advance.

To symbolize 13 years of Franco-British cooperation, the two BA & AF Concorde took off at the same time.

Captain Pierre Chanoine landed F-BVFA at Dakar-Yoff airport at 3:27PM, welcomed by the President Leopold Sedar-Senghor.
They took off again at 4:45PM , to land in GIG at 8:06PM (Paris time).
It took exactly 7 hours 26minutes (including the 1h18mn stopover in DKR) to cover the 9200km/57736mi between Paris and Rio.

Concorde F-BVFA was donated by Air France in May 2003 to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, at Washington Dulles Airport.



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backfire
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:06 am

Ten points if you can recall the BBC children's TV presenter who hosted the coverage on the day.
 
GDB
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Thu Jan 19, 2006 2:28 am

Backfire, cannot remember!
But, my school was a few miles from LHR, it was only 4 storeys high, but you got a decent view.

Our teacher, Mr Morris, was it seems an aerospace buff. The previous year he had got us into the assembly hall to watch live TV coverage of the Apollo/Soyuz link-up.
Projects included painting what we thought some of the planets in the Solar system might look on the surface, "but no 25 headed monsters please".
Why '2001' was a great space film, (not that us 8-10 year olds would like it, or had even seen it).

So the first supersonic service nearby was very anticipated, for good measure, Mr Morris brought in his airband radio, to help with tracking movements.

It was a wet day, visibility was not great, I do remember a Trident taxing and taking off first, at least that is what Mr Morris gleaned from his radio.

Then came G-BOAA, even at that distance, on a grey day, the arrow like shape was just visible at it took off for Bahrain, our collective eyes were fixed on it straining to see.

Not long after, I often started to cycle to the crossing at the BA Long Haul Engineering base, waiting for the then siren to sound before an aircraft crossed over.
B747-136's, VC-10's, B707's, the odd L1011, less often but magically, Concorde.
My interest in aviation started here.
 
FlySSC
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:07 am

In France, Yves Mourousi was at that time presenting the "News" on T.V at 1:00PM everyday ...
He was on borad the AF Concorde on that day and the take off was shown "live" on T.V, as well as the arrival in GIG in the evening ...

I was 11 years old and I remember it very well !!!
 
backfire
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:37 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 2):
Backfire, cannot remember!

My (fading) memory believes it was the lovely Lesley Judd from 'Blue Peter'...  Smile
 
GDB
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Sun Jan 22, 2006 10:55 am

A suitable pic;
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/782379/l/

A related thread, including from one actively involved that day and some of those busy restoring Concorde 202, G-BBDG at Brooklands;
http://p102.ezboard.com/fconcordesst...rm2.showMessage?topicID=5570.topic
 
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EGTESkyGod
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:39 pm

Would have loved to add to this thread, yesterday, but I was flying from Exeter to Filton to see G-BOAF, in the glorious sunshine. She looks wonderful. Certainly a poignant day for anyone associated with Concorde.
I came, I saw, I Concorde! RIP Michael Jackson
 
afconcorde1
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:08 pm

Quoting EGTESkyGod (Reply 6):
Would have loved to add to this thread, yesterday, but I was flying from Exeter to Filton to see G-BOAF, in the glorious sunshine. She looks wonderful. Certainly a poignant day for anyone associated with Concorde.

Even though I wasn't born yet to have witnessed the '76 event, I must say that I first went on board Concorde G-BOAD (U.S.S. Intrepid) last spring and it was amazing.

I will never forget the morning that I was taking the "A" train (subway) across Jamaica Bay when AF002 was taking off 31L. I didn't know it was even in line for take-off until the train literally started to rattle (afterburners/reheats must have been on, but quickly shut off as it was passing overhead when I was headed for Howard Beach.) It sounded like a B-1 bomber taking off 300 feet above over our train. All I can say it was not only an awesome site, but an awesome sound when I turned my head to look out the window to see AF002 taking off in all her glory. Truly made my day as any one of ours!  angel 

Jeremy / Afconcorde1
Je pense, donc je vole Concorde!
 
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EGTESkyGod
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:45 pm

Quoting Afconcorde1 (Reply 7):
Truly made my day

I know how you feel. It made my day when G-BOAC (my favourite Concorde) did a flypast of my first cricket match as Captain in 1999. I last saw a Concorde departure from runway 08 at Exeter, G-BOAA, on 15th July 2000.... Just 10 days before the disaster in Paris. I'll never forget the sound.

However, I made it my business that 15th July 2000 wasn't the last Concorde landing I saw, and made sure I was at Filton on November 26th 2003 for G-BOAF's final flight. Seeing her yesterday sat in a pen instead of roaring overhead choked me up slightly, but credit to the guys at Filton, she is well kept. I may well be working on her soon too, which I cannot wait for if it happens.

Looking at her in the winter sunshine, on the 30th anniversary of the first commercial flights from LHR and CDG, was indescribable. Makes me be proud to be British.
I came, I saw, I Concorde! RIP Michael Jackson
 
Gman94
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:12 pm

I still chokes me up as well when I think these beautiful machines are not doing what they were designed to do and it feels like the heart and soul of aviation was ripped out when Concorde was retired. These modern two engine clones just have no life to them that I've hardly visited LHR for photography since Concorde was pulled from service.

I still fail to believe that one frame could not be kept in flying condition for special occasions, I'm sure there is plenty of people in this country with expertise and money who could of done it, where there is a will there is a way.

British Airways may of owned the aircraft but they belonged to the British people.
British Airways - The Way To Fly
 
GDB
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RE: First Concorde Commercial Flight 30 Years Ago

Mon Jan 23, 2006 1:22 am

Sorry Guam94, but BA looked long and hard into maintaining, or part maintaining, a 'Heritage' aircraft.
The agreements needed at least two aircraft from one airline in service to get support, that's in regular service.
Simply put, if the revenue paying fleet were now too costly to support, so would a non revenue 'Heritage' aircraft, the costs were broadly similar doing either.

They were ours, we paid full price for the 1st 5 in 1972, after some half heartedness at first, once Lord King when he took over, we made it work.
We had to, or Concorde would never survive BA Privatisation.

Had we not taken that risk, in taking on the support costs from a UK government keen to exit from this, they'd have been in museums 15-20 years ago.
In return, we got to keep all the profits, not have, under the prior arrangement, 80% go to the Treasury as their fee for subsidizing the support costs. An unsustainable state of affairs.
However, being directly involved, I do understand how you feel.

But, my perspective was of an in service supersonic airliner, not some limited, neutered subsonic doing the airshow circuit.
It was operational, doing what is was designed to do, or nothing, at least that's how I see it.
But I still really miss it, from both work and enthusiast standpoints.

Ultimately, blame Bin Laden, but for that infamous day, we'd still be operating, but be retiring this year or next.
That day pretty much wrecked the long planned Re-launch, BA really needed the full double daily JFK's, but we just would not fill a second daily service.

Also blame the regular customers who en-mass cancelled 1st Class and Concorde from their travel budgets in 2002/3.
We could still get good loads, but with yields way too low.

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