Concorde first flew nearly 35 years ago and
has been flying passengers for more than 25 years, this week marks the end of an era of
supersonic passenger transportation. British Airways expected to fly in the final
week in service of its supersonic Anglo-French Concorde a record 2000 passengers. One of
BA's seven Concorde's began its farewell tour of honour of the British Isles on October 20, by landing at Birmingham. Later in the week, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and
Belfast were also similarly visited.Thousands
gathered around the airport to see the arrival of Concorde landed at mid-day following an
impressive overshoot. Many of the onlookers did not have cameras but carried children that
were probably seeing Concorde for the first and last time. Others, like myself, just
wanted to be there, to see Concorde for just one more time. Concorde flights had been
taken for granted, but enthusiasts were shocked to hear the announcement that the sleek
and totally unique aircraft was going to be retired.
I managed to get in
position at the last minute. Traffic jams and limited parking around the threshold of
runway 33 nearly made it impossible for me to get any picture at all. Luckily behind a
petrol garage the owner had made available some waste land for parking. The Police who
were not all in the spirit of things were arranging to have cars towed away from the side
of the road.
Just 50 yards from the centre line I waited
for Concorde (G-BOAC) to complete the widest circuit of the airport following its initial fly past some minutes earlier.
After it had touched down there was
spontaneous applause from the hundreds gathered around me.