musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

My Buddy Conk.

Tonight I was reading about the Concorde, and it took me back many many years ago (January 1973) when the Concorde prototype 002 (G-BSST) came to South Africa to do hot and high test. I was very young then and under the influence of aircraft fans, but I was absolutely enthralled when she flew over Johannesburg, banking so that we could all see her. She was beautiful. One of those truly spectacular aircraft that you never tire of seeing, and which can still draw oohs and aahs from even the most hardened piston jock. I nicknamed the aircraft (as you tend to do when young) “my buddy conk”. No, I do not understand the logic behind it, although conk = Concorde?
 
Anyway, I never saw her again, although she was on my bucket list, her and QE2, although I never did manage either of them. 
 
In 2008, I was in the UK for a course, and as we landed at Manchester airport we spotted a Concorde parked at a display area, and when the driver arrived we begged him to please make a detour, which he very kindly did. 

The aircraft in question is G-BOAC, and is the oldest in the Concorde fleet, at the time when we saw her she was parked in the open, but has since been placed under cover.

Unfortunately she was not open to the public as she was hosting a banquet or conference or something like that (much to our disgust).

I took many pics that day, and I hope that I will be able to see at least one more of them before I shuffle off this mortal coil. There is one at Yeovilton which is not too far out of range of Southampton, so maybe one day I can make a detour to there. 

 

How could you not love a nose like this? The aircraft in the left hand side is an AVRO-RJX, aka AVRO-146-RJX100, a really nifty little aircraft that I flew in twice when in the USA in 1999. I really scored two great aircraft in one day.  

  
I am afraid commercial airliners are not really my favourite, but some I do admire, and Concorde will always be on that list. The accident that caused the final grounding of the aircraft was a tragic one, made even more so by the video footage of that burning aircraft in its death throes. It is one aircraft that has a well deserved place in history, and will always be one of those aviation “greats”. It has never been equally by commercial aircraft, and if anything aircraft have just become fatter with even more people crammed into them. 

Concorde no longer graces us with her presence, but I think one of those truly magnificent moments are when you see footage of them coming into land, like a very graceful bird, landing at its home, and resting before soaring in the skies once again.

Update 22/01/2015
It is now 2015, and this past week I was on my way home from West Norwood in London when I spotted a Concorde from the train on the way to Basingstoke. Investigation revealed that this is G-BBGD and 2 days later I was on my way to Brooklands to see her.  Unfortunately the weather was grey and gloomy, so my pics were not great, but just the thrill of seeing my third Concorde made the trip worthwhile.

According to the blurb: 202 was one of three Concordes built for evaluation testing and final design. It made its first flight in 1974, wearing BA’s colours. It last flew in December 1981 and was bought by BA in 1984 for spares – proving useful right up until 2001, when it was used to test the reinforced cockpit doors required for all aircraft after 9/11. It moved to Brooklands in 2003.

 

 
 

 

She is still beautiful, she still draws crowds, and she is still one of the most iconic aircraft ever built. I am happy to report I have seen 3 of them now and still not got on board!

Much has been written about the aircraft and its history, and I do recommend Heritage Concorde as a source for all things Concorde.

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