2013 © Copyright Debbie King. All rights reserved.
We are very proud and privileged to have flown on that technological triumph - Concorde - not once,
but twice. The first time was on 1 March 2002 from London to New York, and the second time was 30
August 2003 from Bridgetown, Barbados to London.
The experience of flying on Concorde is utterly unforgettable. How else can you view the earth from
nearly 11 miles high (in our case 58,000 feet) and arrive in New York an hour and a half before you leave
I make no apology for the use of the present tense when talking about Concorde. It's just not right to
refer to her as something from the past. She is in our hearts in the present and in the future... until
something comes along to surpass her. If it ever does.
The photographs were taken before and during our flights and I have included some explanatory notes - I
do hope you find them interesting. Click on each picture to open a larger image in its own window.
Our first glimpse of Concorde G-BOAE (Alpha-Echo) on
the tarmac at London, Heathrow ready for the
10.30am flight to JFK, New York, on 1st March 2002.
Just look at those lines! Concorde is small and sleek
and holds 100 passengers. Contrary to popular belief,
she is NOT cramped inside; leg room and seat-width is
no different from any other business class flights.
The view of the LED readout from the front of
Concorde's cabin. Mach 2 represents twice the speed of
sound. Concorde often flies at 60,000 feet - her
optimum cruising height depends on several factors
(don't ask me what as I'm not an aerodynamicist!). On
this particular flight we got to 57,000 feet. At this
altitude you are well above any weather effects so the
flight is extremely smooth, with no turbulence at all.
The only time you feel anything is when the Captain
puts on the afterburners to give Concorde that extra
'oomph' to break the sound barrier. Then you feel a little
'kick' - a bit like someone letting their foot off the clutch
a bit quickly when driving a car.
The service, food and drink on board Concorde is
superb (so it should be - you've paid for it!). Here I
am enjoying the finest champagne and some pre-
luncheon canapés, including Beluga caviar - yum.
By the way, note the tiny size of the windows
compared to other aircraft; they are only about the
size of a large grapefruit.
What can I say but "Oh wow!". A view of the earth from 57,000
feet. At this height you are over 10 miles high and the curve of the
earth is clearly visible when you press your face up to the glass.
You are flying in the stratosphere, on the edge of space, and the
sky, as you can see, varies from a vivid, unblemished blue to a deep
indigo shade as you look higher.
Incidentally, even though the outside air temperature at this
altitude is about -50ºC, the windows feel quite warm to the touch.
This is because of the air friction generated at Mach 2 (in this flight
we reached 1280mph). Indeed, Concorde is coated in a special
paint as she grows 6 - 10" in length during one transatlantic flight
due to heat expansion.
The earth spins at about 1,000 miles per hour. When Concorde flies
west, from London to New York, she flies faster than the earth
turns. This means you go back in time... literally. An average
transatlantic flight takes about 3 hours 30 minutes, and the time in
New York is five hours behind London. This means if you leave
London at 10.30am, you arrive in New York at 9.00am - an hour
and a half before you left! Who said time-travel only happens in
On arrival in New York, we were allowed to visit the
flight deck before leaving the aircraft. In the captain’s
seat (left) is Les Scott, who retains the world record
for the fastest transatlantic flight of 2 hours, 52
minutes, 59 seconds.
(Left) G-BOAC (Alpha-Charlie) stands on the tarmac at Grantley Adams Airport, Barbados, prior to her last ever
departure for London on 30 August 2003.
trumpeted guard of honour by the Royal Barbados Police Band (right).
Incidentally, we would see the R.B.P.B. again five months later. This time they were not honouring the final departure of
a great achievement, but were heralding the first arrival of another great achievement - the Cunard ocean liner QM2.
Alpha-Charlie receives a water cannon salute
while taxiing for her final flight out of Barbados.
We were on the port side, just about where the
spray hit the side of the 'plane.
For these and other photos download my
Concorde slideshow (1.91MB)