Con­corde – we care!

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

Like many other re­tired folk, I watched in awe Con­corde’s de­vel­op­ment, par­al­lel­ing the USA’S moon land­ing in the late 1960s. In the nick of time I achieved a life­time am­bi­tion of fly­ing Con­corde to JFK, on G-BOAD’S penul­ti­mate flight, and am still able to see her there, well pre­served. While I agree that G-BOAB should be on dis­play as a re­minder of ‘the best air­liner ever made’, to achieve this end I be­lieve com­pro­mise is vi­tal.

It may be ideal that Con­corde is dis­played at LHR, but with Heathrow’s for­eign own­er­ship and their pri­mary ob­jec­tive of share­holder sat­is­fac­tion, the pow­ers that be are dis­tinctly lack­ing in Bri­tish avi­a­tion sen­ti­ment and pride. Co­in­ci­den­tally, I have per­son­ally ob­served with dis­may the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in Bri­tish Air­ways’ cus­tomer ser­vice, which could cer­tainly do with a boost, how­ever suc­cess­ful its IAG own­ers are at turn­ing a profit.

The Dux­ford Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum dis­plays a fine static col­lec­tion of Bri­tish air­lin­ers (in­clud­ing BEA Tri­dent and Vis­count, BOAC VC10 and a Bri­tish Air­ways BAC 111) to which the ad­di­tion of G-BOAB would be bril­liant. For forty years Con­corde 01, G-AXDN has been well pre­served; for the past three years it too has a work­ing-again droop­ing nose! Bri­tish Air­ways, from their ad­ver­tis­ing bud­get, and as a thank you for all the profit this ven­er­a­ble lady has pro­duced, should se­ri­ously con­sider pay­ing to move G-BOAB to where she could be truly trea­sured and cared for, and hence avail­able for those who re­ally want to see her. An ad­di­tional en­try ticket to board her could pay for IWM’S ex­tra costs. Dr Peter San­der, Hythe

Another ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle by Pat about Con­corde in the lat­est Pi­lot mag­a­zine. What is wrong with us Brits that we can stick such a beau­ti­ful crea­ture out of sight? For me Con­corde is one of the won­ders of the world. It op­er­ated so reg­u­larly and ef­fi­ciently, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for peo­ple like David Frost to work in the UK and the USA at the same time. Con­corde is beau­ti­ful when you look at the de­tail of the de­sign, es­pe­cially the shape of the wings. We should be very proud of the achieve­ment; even if the French-bri­tish link was ten­u­ous at times it was nonethe­less a trib­ute to the peo­ple on both sides of La Manche. I was told by a Con­corde pi­lot that some pi­lots did not choose to go onto Con­corde be­cause it was like a do­mes­tic op­er­a­tion — there and back in a day!

I am a mem­ber of Club Con­corde In­ter­na­tional club­con­ which ex­ists to keep the mem­ory of Con­corde alive. I am lucky to have trav­elled a cou­ple of times on Con­corde from New York to Lon­don and Lon­don to Jed­dah. Peo­ple to­day who do not re­mem­ber or have not seen Con­corde in the air and com­ing in to land have missed a treat be­cause the sight turned out thou­sands at air­ports where Con­corde op­er­ated. Con­corde’s at­ti­tude on the ap­proach was a won­der­ful sight.

I do hope that Pat’s ar­ti­cle will raise a few eye­brows and cause the ques­tion to be asked again, as we need Con­corde as the gate guardian for our num­ber one air­port LHR, in an area ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. Surely there is some­one who can make that hap­pen be­fore it is too late... Gra­ham Stephen­son, by email

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