Not only has my dad kept a detailed journal of all the flights that i have been on, but he has also maintained one for himself. I was browsing through it the other day and I saw this "golden" entry ...


I did some googling and found out that "As part of the certification process the aviation authorities wanted Concorde to fly 1000 hours in route proving flights before they would award a certificate of airworthiness to the aircraft. The British based route proving flights began on July 7th 1975 using Concorde 204 - G-BOAC. The aircraft flew flights that included destinations such as Gander, Beirut, Singapore and Melbourne. After the Completion of the route proving flights on the 13th of September 1975, G-BOAC was returned to BAC for final modifications to take place before the aircraft was officially delivered to British Airways in Feb 1976.

During these route proving flights, G-BOAC flew:

  • 15 Return flights from London to Gander
  • 6 Return flights from London to Beirut
  • 15 Loops via the North Atlantic
  • 5 Loops in and out of Bahrain
  • 8 Return flights from Bahrain to Bombay
  • 2 Return flights from Bombay to Kuala Lumpur
  • 4 Loops in and out of Singapore
  • 7 Return flights between Singapore and Melbourne
  • 5 Return Flights from Singapore to Bombay
  • 3 Return flights from Kuala Lumpur to Bahrain
  • 2 Return flights from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
  • (Total 130 flights)" [1]

So one of the legs above was the flight that my dad flew on. Here are the photos he took:



Concorde had a lot of detractors, with most opposing the flights due to the sonic boom it created when going supersonic. An interesting point in Wikipedia is that "In December 1977 the aircraft flew the London - Singapore round trip route three times in Singapore Airline livery before the Malaysian government rescinded permission from overflying their airspace, likely as a result of their own airline being denied increased access to London. Concord was also denied permission to overfly India as the United Kingdom government was unwilling to grant additional flight slots or Fifth freedom rights". Of course, the excuse the Malaysian Government gave was the unknown effect it would have on fish in the Straits of Malacca [2][3] ... 😎







Flying High at Mach 2.02


I remember as a kid insisting we always stop the car on Heathrow Airport's perimeter road whenever Concorde was taking off, and watching in awe as the graceful plane took to the skies. Concorde flights were discontinued in 2003, due in part to the Air France Flight 4590 incident, but also due the unsustainable costs of operating and maintaining the flights.

Here's an interesting thought ... G-BOAC, the flagship Concorde that my dad flew on, is currently on display at Manchester Airport, UK. It would be really cool to visit it and re-take the photo above after all these years ... 😎





Oh well ... as for me, the closest I will ever get to flying Concorde now is on my flight simulator ...!



References:
  1. http://www.concordesst.com/history/events/route.html
  2. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1978/jan/25/concorde
  3. http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=137409