fbgdavidson
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Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:02 am

I'm not quite sure why but last night I found myself reading Concorde trip reports and realised the report I wrote on here was the first of many and perhaps it was time I put my photographic memory to good use and re-write it. Some of you may have read my original report but who knows this might shed some new light on the experience.

Concorde and myself go back a long way, it used to roar over my school en route to New York at 10.50am on the dot every morning and over my house at 5.15pm each evening on the way back. As that special aircraft went over I always wondered who was onboard and was always slightly envious about the experience they were embarking upon. As I went back to class to study the nuances of advanced calculus, men and women in lounge suits were sipping vintage champagne perhaps preparing for a meeting, a premiere for their latest film or some other lavish and prestigious event.

In 1996 a friend who was a Concorde captain took a book of mine about the history of the aircraft to New York and back and got the crew to sign it for me. Not only that but he gave me a vast array of other objects from duty free magazines, to Jeppesens to passenger folders all about the Concorde experience. This peaked my interest and I was just looking to find an appropriate time to fly her. In 2002 that time came, I was approaching the end of school and my father, who was well aware of my interest asked if I was interested in going to New York as a leaving present, oh and I've bought you tickets on Concorde. I couldn't believe it, and there he handed me the tickets! I kept them in their neat British Airways ticket wallet as if they were the winning lottery ticket I had to wait to claim. Claim day arrived....

Route: London Heathrow (Terminal 4) - New York JFK (Terminal 7)
Airline: British Airways
Flight Number: BA001
Aircraft: Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde 102
Registration: G-BOAD
Seat: 16A (Supersonic Class)
Distance: 3451 miles
Duration: 3hrs 19mins
Date: Thursday 5th September 2002



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Photo © Matthew I. Smith
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Photo © Art Brett - Photovation Images



My mother was joining me for the trip to New York City, however, she wasn't as enthusiastic about paying the premium for Concorde only to be cooped up in a smaller seat. However, we all travelled together to the airport making our first trip of the day to Zone E. With mother checked-in and off through to airside my father and I sat at the Costa coffee shop right at the other end of the terminal. We supped on some hot chocolate watching a BAA chap in a flourescent jacket chase some pigeons, a pretty futile effort analogous to chasing a deflating helium balloon around a cathedral!

I opted not to take advantage of Concorde's 30 minute minimum check-in and at 8.15am just over two hours before pushback we walked the length of Terminal 4, back to the Concorde & First passengers alcove. A small queue had formed just behind a British Airways member of staff. 'And where are we flying to today?' Without trying to crack too much of a smile, 'New York, on BA001'. The lady took me to the front of the queue and just afterwards a man was escorted past me by Special Services and taken right to the next waiting agent.

I was up next and I retrieved my ticket and passport and plopped my bag on the scale for weighing. My bag handle was wrapped with a thick grey and silver Concorde baggage tag and I was given one other for my hand luggage. I cheekily asked whether it was possible to get a couple more baggage tags for some friends of mine who knew about my trip and were eager for a little souvenir. I was told not to let on to any other staff  Wink

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/667/ccrcheckiniq0.jpg
Having just checked in for BA001

With my silver boarding pass for seat 16A in hand my father took a photo of me in front of the check-in area and I gathered my belongings together ready for the passage airside and to the Concorde Room.

I stopped off at the duty free shop on the way to pick up aftershave and then headed for the Lounge Pavilion opposite Gate 10. The wooden doors of the Concorde Room ahead of me and a flash of a boarding pass to the 'Lounge Pavilion warden' and a subsequent swipe by the ladies on the front desk and I was through. I took a seat with a great view of the aircraft on the tarmac below. A gentleman approached me in a waistcoat, offering me drinks and breakfast with a smattering of 'Mr Davidson' this and that in there too. This was quite a way to start breakfast! I realised that after years of waiting I was here, in an hour I was going to board the aircraft on the stand, and in five I was going to be across the Atlantic and in New York City. A quite remarkable thought! I sent a friend of mine a text message letting her know that in a couple of hours I was going to be buzzing her house  biggrin  I decided to go and fetch my own glass of champagne from the bar and whilst at it snapped a couple of pictures of the recently refurbished Concorde Room.

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/2994/ccrdoorsge4.jpg
http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/1354/ccr3xf7.jpg
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/3104/ccr2wj3.jpg
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/7829/ccrbargc6.jpg
The Concorde Room at Heathrow. (The top two pictures are from other visits)

I went back to my seat near the window when an elderly gentleman who seemed to be fairly deaf asked what flight I was on. He remarked he was also on BA001 and asked me to wake him up when the flight was called. I flicked through the paper and a couple of the magazines that were out on the racks, I was surprised by the wide range of magazines, quite an impressive selection. Supping on a glass of vintage champagne, reading the newspaper waiting to board Concorde to New York. That's the life!  Smile

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/2684/concordefromccrcg3.jpg
Enjoying the view of G-BOAD on the tarmac below

With boarding imminent I was taking a couple of pictures of Alpha Delta on the apron below when one other passenger asked if I'd like my photo taken with the aircraft below. I accepted the offer and returned the favour for him. Right on time the initial boarding announcement for 'Supersonic Service BA1 for New York' was made, noting that storage space onboard was limited and that if anyone wanted to store any coats for the flight that they should bring them to the Concorde boarding gate with their boarding pass.

I gathered my belongings and awoke the gentleman beside me who was most grateful. A small line had developed at the frosted glass Concorde doors (Photo from TravelScholar.com) which were now open with a gate agent processing passengers. As I stood I struck up polite passing conversation with the lady standing in front of me, it wasn't until afterwards that I noticed she was a rather well known young American actress en route to New York.

I handed my silver boarding pass to the gate agent and fortunately was left with the whole boarding pass, a much better souvenir than a lousy stub! I walked down the steps and along the corridor towards the jetbridge. I was pulled out of the line and given a full bag search and asked why I was flying Concorde today, 'well to get to New York of course!'. My belongings were placed back into my bag and I was on my way down to the aircraft. At this time it was beginning to hit me that I'd finally made it onto a scheduled Concorde flight. I showed my boarding pass to the flight attendant at the door and was directed to my seat in the rear cabin. I'd specifically wanted an 'A' seat so I could see my school, from where I'd seen Concorde so many times, however, at telephone check-in the night before the furthest 'A' seat I could get was 16A. I walked through the surprisingly full cabin, grabbing a copy of a golf magazine from the racks behind 10A and B. I found row 16 and squeezed past my seatmate who was already well into his crossword. I got my camera from my bag and settled in for the flight.

http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/8766/viewwindowgroundvz6.jpg
The view from the rather small window at seat 16A

I took a peek out of the window and was surprised to see how small it was. The window pane on the inside was actually quite large but within the thick fuselage it tapered inwards and the actual 'porthole' was only about the size of a passport!

http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/4504/boardingeu6.jpg
Welcome to Concorde

I was interested to see who else was onboard and so took a peek round, my neighbour was all suited and booted as were a number of others. A young couple dressed down to T-shirts were cradling a baby a couple of rows away and the rest seemed to be a mix of all sorts. After around fifteen minutes we pushed back and the experience proper began! What struck me about the seats, apart from the fact they were rather comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, was how much they smelled exactly like those in my father's car! It was quite uncanny!

http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/1203/taxiingrl0.jpg
Our standby aircraft G-BOAE on hand just in case Alpha Delta went tech

As we taxied out sister aircraft, G-BOAE was on stand beside, just in case Alpha Delta went technical. An announcement was made explaining the somewhat unique takeoff procedures involved with flying Concorde, noting for 'virgins' that takeoff was a little sportier than normal. I was quite surprised to hear Mike Bannister make this voluntary announcement bearing in mind a significant amount of Concorde passengers are regulars. Either way as the new guy I was grateful!  Smile During the taxi one of the flight attendants came round asking what drink we'd like to have post takeoff. After a couple of glasses of champagne in the lounge I went with orange juice.

We taxied across Heathrow's active runway to depart from 27R, at this time due to resurfacing of the southern runway Concorde operations could only utilise the northern runway. As we sat the noise of four Rolls Royce Olympus 593 engines filled the cabin, and then the brakes were released. What began as a relatively normal (though noisy) takeoff roll became one that increased so rapidly I didn't know where to look; a very long, very noisy, but incredible takeoff roll that felt like a slingshot in fast forward!

http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/4354/aftertakeofflx2.jpg
A few minutes after takeoff, accelerating towards Mach 0.95 over West Berkshire

Unfortunately due to thick cloud I wasn't able to see my old school and as we climbed out towards the Bristol Channel I monitored our Mach speed, groundspeed and altitude. As we hit Mach 0.95, the fastest we could before going supersonic the seatbelt sign was switched off and I dashed for the bathroom. Several others had the same idea and I really didn't want to break the speed of sound for the first time whilst I was taking a pee!  biggrin  What was quite noticeable was how hot the mid cabin galley was, I wouldn't have wanted to wait there too long! After waiting a couple of minutes it was my turn to play contortionist. Bathrooms on aircraft are rarely spacious at the best of times but this was plain ridiculous! Anyone who claims to have joined the Mile High Club on Concorde was either two foot tall or found a quiet row of seats! The bathroom itself was exceptionally old fashioned, it appeared as though it hadn't received a renovation of any kind since it entered service! The presence of a lone rose in a vase was the only positive point, it certainly felt a world away from the vintage champagne and Connolly leather feel of the cabin itself!

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/3973/mach1kv4.jpg
Travelling faster than sound...

I managed to get back to my seat just in time to get a photo of the Marilake displays announce we were now travelling supersonically. Something I'd heard before my flight was that when the afterburners on the four engines were ignited in pairs for the transition to supersonic flight that quite a jolt is felt in the cabin, I didn't even notice it on this flight! From now the Marilakes slowly inched towards Mach 2.0 and our cruising altitude into the thirty and forty thousand feet territory. As Concorde burns fuel and loses weight it climbs, almost right up until descent into JFK is commenced. It seemed an appropriate time for the meal service to begin and where Concorde provides an interesting quandary. With a 10.30am pushback and meal service pushed out about an hour or so later do you go with a lunch based on London time, or a breakfast based on NYC time? Well the menu reads as follows:

'MENU:

Brunch


Canapes

Appetiser

Greek Yoghurt, fresh berries, toasted muesli and honeycomb

Entrees

Farmhouse brunch of scrambled eggs, pork sausage, grilled bacon, tomato and sauteed wild mushrooms

Sea bass with a leek and saffron reduction

Aubergine, red pepper torte with grilled courgettes, mushroom polenta, basil and tomato coulis

Caesar salad with free range chicken breast, quails eggs and shaved truffles

Dessert

Chocolate and banana mousse on a hazelnut crust

or

Cheese

Stilton, goats cheese and unpasteurised Kirkham Lancashire

Selection of bread rolls

Coffee, decaffinated coffee, a selection of tea with chocolates

As an alternative to the full menu, we are pleased to offer a selection of freshly made sandwiches including salmon and cucumber, chicken salad and pastrami

WINE LIST

Champagne: Cattier, Clos du Moulin

White Wine: Corton-Charlemagne 1991 Domaine Bonneau du Martray

Red Wine: Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafite 1994 Grand Cru Classe Pessac-Leognan

Port: Dow's 1978 Reserve Tawny Port'


I went for the Greek yoghurt followed by the farmhouse breakfast, not exactly what I was expecting from a meal on Concorde but what the hell. I didn't take any pictures of the meals themselves, at the time I took the flight a trip report was an unknown entity and taking pictures of airline food seemed, well, ridiculous!  biggrin  Fortunately for you lot though airlinemeals.net comes to the rescue and if you want to see a picture of the breakfast look at photo 091. The meals themselves were quite alright, rather quaint and best described as bonsai meals. As for the food I'm pretty fussy about scrambled eggs but these weren't half bad, rather buttery and not like dried out rubber you often find onboard. Despite the best work of Sir Terence Conran and design team the presentation of the meals and beautiful glassware was rather spoiled by the disposable plastic cutlery, that said at the time of flight 9/11 was still rather fresh in the memory.

http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/2374/mach2yl2.jpg
At cruising speed

After the meals were cleared away it was time to enjoy the rest of the ride. I chatted with my seatmate, a French businessman in his sixties that split his time between Paris and New York. He mentioned he used to fly Air France Concorde but found the BA service better and so shuttles himself up to Heathrow first thing in the morning. The crew certainly seemed to know who he was and vice versa and he certainly won blasé points by turning down food and drink, doing the crossword during takeoff and generally seeming uninterested! Then again if you're doing thirty or forty trips a year (as he was doing) then even something as unusual and exclusive as supersonic travel could be become mildly tiresome!

I made sure to get the Concorde cufflinks I was after so asked the flight attendant for a pair. Unfortunately ( Wink) they only had enormous bags left, about as far removed from a duty free bag as the plastic tat I'd received at Heathrow. The thoughtfully designed bag made of thick white card featured the word 'Concorde' and the Speedmarque embossed on it, both in white. As much a souvenir as the cufflinks themselves!

I listened to MiniDisc player and enjoyed the magnificent, unparalleled view from my little porthole. The deep indigo sky just within touching distance above me and the thing veil of cloud over the sea below. You really did feel as though any second from now objects in the cabin would begin to float around the cabin.

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/8653/viewfrom58000ig5.jpg
http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/1097/viewfrom580002ne2.jpg
The view from almost 58,000ft

I did my best to spot the curvature in the Earth but from my vantage point I couldn't really make it out, didn't know if the expanse of cloud below me was assisting or not. The distance between the large inner and small outer windows probably didn't help me eyes adjust either. One other point of interest was how warm the windows got during the cruise, even with the gap of several inches between the two windows the outer skin temperature of 198 degrees fahrenheit (92 degrees celsius) was noticeable on the inside. As mentioned before this heating of the aircraft was really noticeable in the almost stifling temperatures of the mid galley. I read an interesting factoid that over a quarter of the power of Concorde's four Olympus 593 engines was used to power the air conditioning when at altitude. How true that is, I'm not sure!

The one thing that really did strike me about flying Concorde was how noisy the cabin was. The flight attendants did their best to keep the 97 passengers aboard BA001 fed and watered but from my window seat communicating with those in the aisle proved troublesome!

After so many years of waiting my first supersonic flight was ending all too fast. I watched as the 'DTG' (Distance To Go) counter slowly ticked down towards zero, relishing every second as much as possible. Then the Marilake displays began to show a deceleration from Mach 2.00, and the altimeters confirmed the beginnings of our steep descent enabling us to fall back into JFK's traffic pattern. The descent felt as though Captain Bannister had just pointed the aircraft at the ground and applied throttle. It was quite marked and noticeable, much more so than any other descent I've experienced. Then again when you are bringing such a unique aircraft from twice the speed of sound and 58,000 feet back into the operating environment of more ordinary aircraft drastic measures are required.

The end of the flight became more of a reality when the Marilake displays ceased providing us with details of our progress to the ominous 'Thank You For Flying Concorde' and then the flight attendants handed coats back to other passengers. I watched from where I was sitting as the familiar swan like shadow of Concorde was projected onto the Atlantic. There was no doubt the aircraft was beautiful from every angle, a true blend of art and science.

The Rockaway neighbourhoods became visible just ahead of us and our shadow grew larger as the final moments of our flight came to an end. We touched down on runway 4L and the reverse thrust was applied. This was no ordinary reverse thrust, deafening beyond comprehension for just a few seconds but enough to bring us from a landing speed of 160kts down to a pedestrian taxi.

We were welcomed to New York and an announcement was made for me (yes, just me!) to remain in my seat at the end of the flight. I watched as all the other passengers disembarked and a flight attendant approached me asking how the flight was and if I was looking forward to my cockpit visit. It turned out that my father's friend who works in operations at BA had specially rostered Captain Bannister for my flight  biggrin . A few other newbies were milling around the cockpit getting their photos taken on the flight deck and I started talking to the Cabin Services Director. I asked him if any of the writing kits were available and was told they'd used up their stock in-flight but he took down my name and address, gave me his business card and said something would be on its way to me.

I was the last to get a cockpit visit and was given the grand tour, I spent probably a good ten minutes with Captain Bannister asking him about his career, talking about Concorde in general and the aforementioned friend of the family and charismatic Concorde captain. Just before I left I had my picture taken with Captain Bannister beside me. A great end to a very enjoyable flight!

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/3860/cockpitnh1.jpg
Myself with Captain Mike Bannister

Terminal 7 was, as one would expect, very empty this early in the morning and since all the other passengers had gone through already immigration and customs took around a minute, with my cases already placed to one side. My father had booked a limousine to pick me up and take me to the hotel downtown. The driver was waiting there with a sign for me and expressed surprise that it took me so long to pass through arrivals formalities. Unfortunately the flight was all over much quicker than I'd hoped, it was one of the few flights where I'd relished every minute onboard...and wanted to go around again!

The power of Concorde was more evident than ever after the flight. I'd made no rush of getting to Midtown but had checked in to the hotel (right after Anna Kournikova!  Wink), read the newspaper, gone for a walk and taken a taxi to the Empire State Building, gone to the 86th floor and returned back to the hotel before my mother had even arrived. I even gave her a two hour headstart at Heathrow! Amazing!  biggrin 

Conclusion: Well, what can one say! I've heard many people say meeting your heroes is the biggest disappoint but in my case my supersonic flight to New York was a very enjoyable experience. From start to finish I was treated exceptionally well and I do feel with the retirement of BA's flagship that some standards have slipped across the board. On recent visits to the Concorde Room it seems to have lost the refined and elegant charm it once had, almost just another lounge.

Six months after my flight I heard the news BA were going to retire Concorde and I had very mixed feelings. Part of me really wanted to do it all again one last time, part of me was sad that such an advanced piece of technology was being retired with no equivalent replacement and another part of me was glad I did my flight before the announcement was made. I was one click away from booking a second Concorde flight but decided against it. Something told me my flight was all I asked for and more and that doing it again was unnecessary.

Some final pictures:
http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/9199/concordeticketgs9.jpg
http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/8858/boardingpassif1.jpg
http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/7648/bookentrynl8.jpg
http://img355.imageshack.us/img355/5435/souvenirs1rl3.jpg

1) My paper ticket
2) Boarding pass and ticket wallet
3) Entry that Captain Bannister put in my book, 'The Concorde Story'
4) A host of souvenirs, some of which came from the flight but the rest were sent to me by British Airways after the flight.

Related Links and Thanks:
-BA001: Concorde from London Heathrow - New York John F. Kennedy Int. Airport (Imagestation Album)
-Souvenirs from three Concorde flights and some other Concorde items (Imagestation Album)
-Concorde souvenirs from BA001 (26th May 1996) and BA002 (27th May 1996) (Imagestation Album)
-Last Concorde Passenger Flights (Imagestation Album
-Trip Report by 'The Travel Scholar'
-Concorde SST
-'Losing My Concorde Virginity' by Charles MD
-The TravelScholar's trip report
-My original trip report
-Airlinemeals.net

Special thanks to Dad, Max, Mike and Terry for making the flight that bit special and to Mum for dragging herself to New York with me!  Smile
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
UAL747
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:31 am

Something I always wanted to do, but never got the chance. There were Concorde fare sales all the time when I was growing up, but my parents always said, "What till you are older, you will appreciate it much more." Well, I'm older now, and the Concorde is gone. All I can do is try and rehash my grandparents trips on the Concorde when they did 2 around the World Charters on the aircraft. They aren't plane geeks like myself, so they thought it was uncomfortable, loud, and rough on landing. That's about all I can get out of them, though they did say they can make it to destinations much faster, DUH!

Oh well, hopefully someday in my lifetime we will see something as awesome as the Concorde come of age.

UAL Sad
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
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allrite
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:36 am

Thank you! What a fascinating trip report, especially for those of us who never had the opportunity to fly on a Concorde and now never will. I saw one once land at SYD, just by chance as I walked on the beach.

Why are those screens called Marilakes?
I like artificial banana essence!
 
9MMAR
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:53 am

A true treasure! I never expect to read one.  eyepopping 
 
Mike89406
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:20 pm

Fbgdavidson,

Nice report, unfortunately I never had the opportunity to fly the Concorde however I have somewhat of a small history with the Concorde as well. I do remember price checking the Concorde while they were still in service.


I lived in Bay-ridge part of Brooklyn, NY 1999-2002 and I remember seeing the Concorde on approach to JFK especially if I was driving westbound on the Belt Pkwy going past JFK you could see the many aircraft as well on final as they made that turn eastbound over the Belt Pkwy by Floyd Bennett field etc...

I even remember seeing the Concorde from certain areas of Brooklyn highup on occasion from either Bayridge or Ciney Island on a Saturday or Sunday If memory serves me correctly.

Regards Mike

[Edited 2007-08-22 05:20:58]
 
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allrite
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 12:30 pm

I've answered my own question: Marilake Instruments is the name of the company that manufactured the Concorde passenger cabin speed displays. According to this trip report they are LCDs but can someone else confirm that?
I like artificial banana essence!
 
triple7man
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:51 pm

Thank you for your report on Concorde. Probably something we won't be seeing any more trip reports. It is something that the majority of air travellers don't get to experience.
I had the chance to fly Concorde in February 1999 on BA 001, but that was before the age of digital cameras. Still your pics and what you experienced brought back memories of something we will never get to experience again.
Incidentally, and this was after your trip, there is a BA Concorde on display at the Intrepid Museum in New York. You can walk around it and through the cabin, but you will notice the engines were removed. There was a video of what was involved bringing Concorde up the river to her resting place, and Captain Bannister was in the video. Next time you are in New York, check out the Intrepid Museum.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
Osprey88
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:06 pm

You sir, are one of the luckiest men alive.  Smile

I will think wistfully of your trip report when I get on another monotonous UA A320, and think of the fun you must have had flying the Concorde.
"Reading departure signs in some big airports reminds me of the places I've been"
 
crdaus
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concor

Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:55 pm

Thank you for your report. I have never flown on the Concorde but your writing style has conveyed the reality of it to me. It is interesting to get you perspective of it now, several years after the event. It is a pity that supersonic travel never realised its potential. As you may know, the Concorde was not allowed to fly supersonic speeds to Australia. I think the furthest it got was to SIN, but that service was only briefly in operation. The prospect of halving the average 22 hours travel time MEL-LHR and vice versa would have been welcome, but the cramped flying conditions would have been a huge drawback. I think I am happy with sub-sonic travel in spacious surroundings (1st class, that is  Wink ).
 
PA101
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:37 pm

Thank you so much for this report!!!

Just like UAL747, I always wanted to fly Concorde - my Mom as well just wanted to fly it at least once (in her case, she wanted to fly AF, since to her - passing by CDG in the mid 70s frequently, driving back and forth to/from Germany - the Concorde was primarily a French aircraft...), but were simply suprised by the fast retirement late 2002 and missed out.

It´s so great to see what it was like!
 
infodesk
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:37 pm

Wow, you are one lucky guy. Fascinating read, what an experience and very well written & informative report.

I still find unbelievably sad that Concorde was withdrawn. I know the reasons but how can it be that aviation took such a huge step backwards?

Thanks for this great insight
Greetings
Infodesk  spin 
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
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OA260
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:16 pm

WOW great idea to re post. I went on Concorde years ago when I was a kid. Dont have any photos just a Certificate in the old 80's BA livery to say I flew on it . It really is an amazing experience which has gone forever....

Thanks for sharing

OA260
 
Bofredrik
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:59 pm

I flew both BA and AF Concorde in the 80/90:s and have two "diploma" on my wall here...
 
Eurohub
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:29 pm

Fraser,

A superb re-working of an already top-drawer report about an aircraft that so many of us will only ever get the chance to dream about flying on. Your prose and pictures really bring your memory to life. Thanks for sharing (again).

Eurohub
Forget A vs B - Give me E or BAe any day of the week!
 
Airdolomiti
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:29 pm

A great read, brings back lots of memories from my BA001 experience on G-BOAG, only a few months after your flight  Smile

Can't believe it's already been 4 years since she last graced our skies. It does seem like a big step backwards, but alas, what can you do.

Thanks for sharing!
 
Comeflywithme
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Thu Aug 23, 2007 12:58 am

Don't wish to be rude Fraser but why?
 
Comeflywithme
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:49 am

Sorry Fraser missed a bit out - torture us non Concorde flyers with another trip report. Big grin
 
WhiteBirdFlyer
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concor

Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:46 am

Thank you so much for posting this -- as my screen name shows, I'm indebted to BA and AF's Concordes for making me a flying enthusiast.

I'm also laughing at the cabin pics. I started flying the Concorde at a young age and it's funny to "remember" how big it seemed then and how relatively small it looks now. That was the White Bird's "secret": it was a good thing the flights were only 3+ hours because any more than that and the cabin became distinctly small and uncomfortable.  Smile

I ended up flying about 12 trips on BA and AF all on the Concorde and I treasure each trip. As teeny as the cabin was the whole experience was so robustly unusual that it always made up for any deficiencies. It was also fun to be onboard with often public folks and people who'd made a name in some form or another. Each flight seemed to be as if a small, cordial and friendly club was departing for very important things. My last flight on the lovely bird was in 1999.

Cordially,
WFB
WhiteBirdFlyer, currently near SFO
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:57 am

Thanks for all the comments so far! Since this is a 'remastered' version of an old report I was half expecting it to get deleted!

Quoting UAL747 (Reply 1):
All I can do is try and rehash my grandparents trips on the Concorde when they did 2 around the World Charters on the aircraft. They aren't plane geeks like myself, so they thought it was uncomfortable, loud, and rough on landing. That's about all I can get out of them, though they did say they can make it to destinations much faster, DUH!

To do a world charter on Concorde is pretty unusual! I hope they had plenty of time between flights! As comfortable as Concorde was for almost four hours I wouldn't fancy going much further...that's when First Class becomes a more attractive proposition...

Quoting Mike89406 (Reply 4):
I lived in Bay-ridge part of Brooklyn, NY 1999-2002 and I remember seeing the Concorde on approach to JFK especially if I was driving westbound on the Belt Pkwy going past JFK you could see the many aircraft as well on final as they made that turn eastbound over the Belt Pkwy by Floyd Bennett field etc...

I even remember seeing the Concorde from certain areas of Brooklyn highup on occasion from either Bayridge or Ciney Island on a Saturday or Sunday If memory serves me correctly.

Some of my fondest memories from when I was younger was watching Concorde takeoff and land. If I ever played an away sports match in West London I'd usually finish not long before BA002 came in from JFK. My father who was as interested in planes as I was used to take me to the end of the runway and we'd watch the distinctive shape of the aircraft form amongst the continuous line of arrivals. Very cool!

Quoting Allrite (Reply 5):
According to this trip report they are LCDs but can someone else confirm that?

They are indeed, if that's what GDB says, then it must be right! He worked in Concorde for a number of years  biggrin 

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 6):
Incidentally, and this was after your trip, there is a BA Concorde on display at the Intrepid Museum in New York. You can walk around it and through the cabin, but you will notice the engines were removed. There was a video of what was involved bringing Concorde up the river to her resting place, and Captain Bannister was in the video. Next time you are in New York, check out the Intrepid Museum.

That's the same Concorde I flew on. I've been to NYC a few times since -AD ended up there and have seen it. Haven't been inside that one although a friend has. Last summer I was in Seattle and went aboard the Concorde there. I was with my mother and father-in-law and they seemed very unimpressed by the interior!

Quoting Osprey88 (Reply 7):
I will think wistfully of your trip report when I get on another monotonous UA A320, and think of the fun you must have had flying the Concorde.

 biggrin  The first few flights after going on Concorde did seem rather pedestrian!

Quoting Crdaus (Reply 8):
I think I am happy with sub-sonic travel in spacious surroundings (1st class, that is   ).

That was exactly my mother's feelings! She wondered why you'd pay more for a 'economy' seat...

Quoting Comeflywithme (Reply 15):
Don't wish to be rude Fraser but why?

Despite your second post I'm not sure if this needs to be answered...either way I'll give it a stab!

My original Concorde report was my first and written almost three years back. Since then I've learned that you guys all like detail, and lots of it! Fortunately for you all I have a pretty good memory and was able to pen some of the details second time around that I missed in the original. Since my Concorde flight was my most interesting to date I thought it deserved a bit more attention. Don't worry I'm not going to go back and rewrite every report I've posted here! This one just deserved some special attention!  Smile

Quoting WhiteBirdFlyer (Reply 17):
I started flying the Concorde at a young age and it's funny to "remember" how big it seemed then and how relatively small it looks now.

I believe the term 'Wagon Wheel Effect' is used for this! So called because everyone who ate the 'Wagon Wheels' (a chocolate mallow biscuit) as a kid thinks they get smaller as they get older. In reality the biscuit never got smaller, your perception as a youngster was that it was much bigger!

Indeed Concorde was a pretty small aircraft, it isn't very often you have to duck down to board and aircraft!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
UAL747
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:20 am

new

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 18):
To do a world charter on Concorde is pretty unusual! I hope they had plenty of time between flights! As comfortable as Concorde was for almost four hours I wouldn't fancy going much further...that's when First Class becomes a more attractive proposition...

I wish I could remember what company the charter was with!? I know Nairobi and Sydney were part of the stops it made. They did the charter twice and it left and arrived at JFK. You flew first class to and from your point of origin to JFK. I believe that both times they did it on an Air France Concorde, but I'm not for certain. They have some BA Concorde tags on their luggage upstairs at their house, so maybe one was on BA, but they've also taken the regular JFK-LHR service on BA as well, so I dunno?

Anywhoo, they said the highlight of the trip was in Kenya. They stayed in tents that looked like hotels on the inside they said. They had several days at each destination and I want to say the ticket price was somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000 per person. Maybe a little less than that, but that included all meals, drinks, and accomodations, as well as roundtrip airfare to/from JFK.

UAL
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
jafa39
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:13 am

Who's a lucky bugger then?  Wink

Good on yer, that was a good read!  Smile
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
UK_Dispatcher
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:09 am

Lovely report. Something I did have the opportunity to do, but didn't do it. Aren't I a silly boy then?

Many thanks for sharing your experience with us. This is undoubtedly a memory which will stay with you for life  Smile
 
rj777
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Sat Aug 25, 2007 11:17 am

I saw your bird a few weeks ago at Floyd Bennet Field in New York! Too bad I couldn't go up into her. That's me standing next to the fence!



Big version: Width: 563 Height: 422 File size: 218kb
Concorde G-BOAD at Floyd Bennet Field
 
jafa39
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:16 pm

Quoting RJ777 (Reply 22):
I saw your bird a few weeks ago at Floyd Bennet Field in New York!

So when the Concorde fleet got grounded, did they just stay in the countries they happened to be in when the ban came into force or were they repositioned to various museums etc?
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
kgfive
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:04 am

Really enjoyed your report. Used to get great views of that fantastic bird up here in Prestwick, on numerous occasions she would be here for training flights and would buzz overhead all day long ..... wow what a fantastic sight and whish she was still airbourne.
fill the skies
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:18 pm

Thanks for all the new comments  Smile

Quoting UK_Dispatcher (Reply 21):
Something I did have the opportunity to do, but didn't do it. Aren't I a silly boy then?

I bet you're kicking yourself, eh?  Wink

Quoting RJ777 (Reply 22):
That's me standing next to the fence!

Nice picture! Do you know how they got it from the Intrepid to Floyd Bennett Field? I presume it was on another barge...

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 23):
So when the Concorde fleet got grounded, did they just stay in the countries they happened to be in when the ban came into force or were they repositioned to various museums etc?

When the COA was withdrawn in 2000 some of the aircraft did remain where they were. I remember seeing a picture of an AF Concorde that was stuck at JFK. It had red tape all round the windows and seals. As far as I know all of BA's were back at Heathrow at the time.

The aircraft didn't go to museums until 2003 after the final commercial flights. AF's went after they finished at the end of May whilst BA did it in the first few weeks of November.

Quoting Kgfive (Reply 24):
Used to get great views of that fantastic bird up here in Prestwick, on numerous occasions she would be here for training flights and would buzz overhead all day long ..... wow what a fantastic sight and whish she was still airbourne.

Now that'd be a great sight! I remember watching some footage from the Open at Royal Troon when Concorde was doing go rounds  bigthumbsup 
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
rj777
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:29 pm

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 25):
When the COA was withdrawn in 2000 some of the aircraft did remain where they were. I remember seeing a picture of an AF Concorde that was stuck at JFK. It had red tape all round the windows and seals. As far as I know all of BA's were back at Heathrow at the time.

There was a video somewhere on the internet of the Air France concorde returning to Paris after being stuck at NY (With Music, sounds like Celine Dion) Does anyone know where I could find it?
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:44 am

Afraid I got an email from my photo hosting site, Imagestation and they are closing down soon so I've transferred all my photos to trip report photos albums to Shutterfly http://fbgd.shutterfly.com

The album for this report can still be found on Imagestation but only temporarily, the slideshow for this report is at this Shutterfly page.

Quoting Rj777 (Reply 26):
There was a video somewhere on the internet of the Air France concorde returning to Paris after being stuck at NY (With Music, sounds like Celine Dion) Does anyone know where I could find it?

Try www.concorde-jet.com they have quite a few videos and are primarily AF orientated.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
rahulrahul
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Thu May 23, 2013 1:37 am

HI, great report ( a little late response though)

Rahul
A300/319/320/321/332/333/343/346 B732/738/744/752/762/763/772/773 CRJ200/700/900 ERJ140/145/170/175 MD88
 
b787900
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Tue May 28, 2013 1:10 am

Viewing this trip report gives an opportunity for many of us to travel back in time. It's very unfortunate that the Concorde was retired prematurely. What a marvellous machine it was!
This is one of the most engaging trip reports I have viewed so far!
 
MSS658
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Wed May 29, 2013 6:36 am

Hello

Awesome report, thanks for sharing it with us. Even with a few year's delay.
I always wanted to log the Concorde, however I'm afraid that the Manchester viewing park or the Interprid museum in NY are the closest ones I'm going to get to.

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
comorin
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RE: Supersonic Travel Revisited: LHR-JFK On Concorde

Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:21 pm

Thanks for bringing back fond memories! I received a complimentary leather credit card case that I did not see in your picture - perhaps these gifts changed over time?

Cheers, and btw what are you driving these days?  

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