My Supersonic Concorde Flight – Concorde 50th

My Supersonic Concorde Flight – Concorde 50th


– [Sam Chui] Today, March
2, 2019, is Concorde’s 50th anniversary since her first flight. Concorde was absolutely the
gold standard of aviation. She was a masterpiece of engineering and one of the world’s
most beautiful creations. Let’s celebrate the
Concorde, in this video. Concorde was an icon of beauty, style, and in her own way, a brand. Every aspect of the aircraft was designed for aerodynamic efficiency and yet the outcome became something truly elegant. Instantly recognisable all over the world. Concorde was a (mumbles)
flying on the edge of space faster than a rifle bullet
and from her windows you can see the curvature of the Earth. Concorde was able to overtake
the sun and in some months, you can arrive before you set off. You can literally buy back time. (Aeroplane engine roaring) My ultimate flight was on board the supersonic Concorde 2003. (dramatic orchestral music) I flew on the Concorde
flight on April 17, 2003, about six months before
the final retirement. I flew on British Airways
BA002 from JFK to Heathrow in just three hours and 18
minutes, crossing the Atlantic at 58,000 feet and twice
the speed of sound. Coming on to Concorde makes me
remember a lot of memories – at the time I couldn’t have made a
video – I didn’t have a video camera – but I took a lot of good
pictures to share with you. The first thing I noticed about the
Concorde is the ceiling – it is a little bit lower than the normal one. You notice how little
the windows are to look out from. On my Concorde flight we
had about 54 passengers. Concorde takes 100 passengers,
there’s 40 in the forward cabin like this and there’s
60 in the aft cabin. I was sitting in the 12 delta, aft
cabin window seat – so just one row directly behind
the first row like this. We took off on runway “one
three right” which is not the usual runway for the Concorde
to take off on and I remember the takeoff speed was much
faster than a subsonic aeroplane. We took up about three quarters of the runway. The runway was really long – 14,000 feet – and we took about 9,000
feet to get airborne. Once we were airborne, we took a
steep right turn to avoid the land and fly towards Long Island and it was a bit of a cloudy day so within a
few minutes after take off we lost complete sight of the land and we were already over the ocean. The plane was very narrow and the seat was not a lay flat seat or a full sleeper seat because you
don’t need it; it’s only three hours transatlantic across
the pond. There were businessmen coming on board who fly and return back home the same day and this was possible
because of supersonic Concorde. So I remember after takeoff we
reached the speed of sound, which is mach one, at 28,500 feet. Continuing to increase in speed we reached mach two at 48,000 feet
and we continued in mach two for over two hours
across the Atlantic. Our final cruising altitude was 58,000 feet. Mach two caused the Concorde to stretch 10 feet during the flight. The outside body gets extremely hot and you can feel the heat a little bit. You also might ask: Sam have
you heard of sonic boom on the Concorde? Because there is a popular belief that when a Concorde breaks through
the sound barrier, travelling over mach one, you might hear
a sonic boom. My answer is: Not really. I didn’t remember much
honestly. There are ships over the Atlantic that can constantly
hear the Concorde travelling over the speed of sound and
hear the sonic boom throughout the sky but I couldn’t hear
it inside the cabin myself. The service on the Concorde was better than most first class services. We had a three hour flight –
we had a brunch served with caviar, lobster cake and very
nice cheese and red wine. It was the best dining British
Airways had at the time. Stewards and stewardesses were
specially selected just to serve on board the Concorde flight. They were very polite and very efficient. During my flight I made a few
friends on board – there were people travelling from all over
the world; from Australia, from South Africa and there were people
bringing their kids to enjoy the Concorde and about 30 minutes
before coming to land captain Mike Bannister came on the
PA and said that the weather was unusually warm for the season in
London; 26 degrees. We had easterly winds so we flew
over Windsor castle while we were coming to land at Heathrow. There was a tremendous
pride and proud feeling inside me while we were landing at Heathrow. The landing speed was much faster on the Concorde than other planes. It almost felt like we had
priority on the landing sequence and after landing I got to
go to the cockpit to meet the captain Mike Bannister who was
the chief Concorde pilot at the time and he was such a
gentleman. He signed my logbook and my certificate and to this day I have kept them intact in my treasure case. The ticket price I paid at the time was
about 3,000 US dollars. So, thinking about it, it burns your money at about
1,000 dollars per hour – is it worth it? Totally, because there’s nothing
like it – there’s no other aeroplane really like the Concorde where you can fly this fast or this high and have the ultimate flight
of your life. – Welcome to Brooklyns museum,
the home of Concorde, the world’s premier supersonic passenger jet. Here behind me is Concorde
golf bravo bravo delta golf. Delta golf was the 3rd
Concorde build in the UK. She was a demonstration aircraft and
she was used in the summer of 1975 for training the first
generation of British Airways Concorde pilots and she did
most of the test flying to obtain the certificate of airworthiness –
in other words its licence to carry passengers. And it’s during
that phase that delta golf became truly immortal because
she was the first Concorde and therefore the first
aircraft in history to carry 100 passengers at twice the speed of sound. Okay folks so this is the
forward door. Passengers would enter the aircraft from the
terminal, through an air bridge and into this forward door
and inside we’re going to turn left into the flight deck. – Well you know guys the
Concorde door is a bit low so you have to duck when you come in. Oh this is it, we’re inside a Concorde. – Okay so welcome to the flight
deck everyone. As you can see this is slightly different to
a modern flight deck – all of the instruments are analogue
instruments – this is more akin to a fighter jet than a
modern airliner. Modern airliners of course are
all glass cockpits. The central panel here that you see are
all engine instruments. Engines one, two, thee and four
and on the left hand side and the right hand side in front
of the captain and the first officer we have a traditional,
conventional flight deck arrangement with our
navigational instruments – altitude indicator, air speed indicator, and compasses, and navigational equipment. Up on the top here we’ve got
the autopilot panel with speed hold, altitude hold, and all
the other controls that are designed to make pilots’s
lives a little bit easier. As everyone knows, Concorde flew
at twice the speed of sound so it has a very special
instrument that you will not find on a normal commercial
airliner which is a mach meter. Concorde flew at mach two which
is twice the speed of sound and this instrument here
measures the aircraft speed against the speed of sound. Now at the front of the aircraft
we have one of Concorde’s defining features which, as
you can see, is a visor with very sloped back panels and
the nose cone and in order for the pilots so see where they’re
going at low speeds, because the aircraft is rotated at a
very high angle, both the visor and the nose would droop down
so that when the aircraft is at a steep angle to fly slowly
for take off and landing, the pilots had a good chance of
seeing where they were going. That’s a unique feature on
Concorde which of course you won’t find on any other aircraft. Unique Concorde feature
which is the visor retractor so at the moment it is in the
fully upright position, the next notch is for the visor to be
retracted into the nose cone then we have the five degrees
down where the whole nose assembly droops down 5 degrees
and finally we have the fully down position where the nose is drooped 12 and a half degrees. – This yoke here is
like specially designed for the Concorde, it’s
like a fighter jet yoke. – It is almost yes it’s a
different shape to the yoke that you’d find on most commercial
airliners so yes it is a slightly different shape and very unique. This is the landing gear here.
The reason the knob here is shaped like a wheel and if
you were on a conventional airliner you’d have a flat lever and that flat lever is shaped like a flap so it’s a little bit of
intuition if you like. Okay so here we have the thrust
lever assembly so the handle on the top here after the thrust
levers and the throttles move forward like this and on the
front of the thrust levers we have the reverse thrusters so
when the aircraft has landed on the ground the nose wheel is back onto the runway the captain raises the reverse thruster levers
to slow the aircraft down. Now on the reverse of the
thrust levers we have thrust levers that operate the same
as these and these ones are operated by the flight engineer as are the reheat switches here which switch on the reheats to give the
Concorde that extra 20% of power for takeoff and also to pass through the speed of sound. – The takeoff I have on the
Concorde was a bit different to other aeroplanes because after
about a minute and 40 seconds, I remember I felt a deceleration.
It’s because the captains, they turned off the reheat, because
we were still over land since we had just taken off from New York.
So this was to try to create less noise and also less
power. When it started crossing ocean and when it started to increase
in speed, they turned back on the reheats to accelerate the aircraft to supersonic level. – Okay so this is the front
cabin ladies and gentlemen. This is the forward cabin of the
aircraft. There were 40 seats in here and this is exactly as it was when
the aircraft was in service. Okay so here’s the rear
of the forward cabin We’re now going to go through
the mid-ship toilet area and into this area here where
we have a pair of seats from each of the decades that Concorde
was in service. Down to your left there is the seats that
were in use when the aircraft first went into service in
the 1970s, then on the right there’s a pair of seats from the 1980s, in the middle here is a
pair of seats from the 1990s, which are the ones that you saw in the forward cabin, and finally
a pair of these beautiful blue leather seats which were
installed in the aircraft following the terrible accident
in Paris designed to save weight to make up for the fact
that the fuel tanks had to be lined with Kevlar in order
to protect against another accident of the type
that happened in Paris. Okay folks so this is the rear
cabin of delta golf and what we have in here, in place of
the 60 seats that would have been in here when the aircraft
was in service, is lots of information about Concorde as
she was being designed, as she was being built, when she went
into service and then the retirement programme after that
terrible accident in Paris and here this is a window from
Concorde. You’ll see they’re very small – the reason the Concorde
windows were made very small is in order to reduce the rate
of decompression in the event of a window breakage which
could have been catastrophic given the pressure differential inside the aircraft compared to
outside at 60,000 feet. You’ll see how small the
windows are compared to a modern aircraft and you’ll also see
some little brown pipes here which circulate cool dry air
in between the two panes of glass to reduce condensation
and to keep the inside panes of glass cooler because the
aircraft heated up to quite high temperatures at supersonic flight. Nineteen miles of wiring that
every Concorde contained – those wiring looms were actually constructed
here at Brooklyn’s along with one third of the airframe
of all of the 20 Concordes. Okay so here we are at the rear
of the rear cabin in the aircraft and this area to the rear
contains the galley which obviously is not here anymore and then
beyond the galley beyond the bulkhead is the baggage hold.
The door that you see on the left there is not a passenger
entrance, it’s where the baggage handlers loaded the baggage and beyond that we have
the rear fuel tank. Okay folks, so welcome to
the Concorde simulator. This building was the
original acoustics building in Brooklyn’s museum where
materials were tested for soundproofing. The Concorde
simulator was originally at Filton in Bristol at the British
Airways engineering base. It was moved here after being
taken out of service in 2003. So here we have a real Concorde
check-in desk, so when you flew Concorde, this is where
you would come and check in. So this is the only one ever
used in the UK. All 134 pilots and 57 flight engineers were
trained in this very simulator. (alarm sounding) – [Computer Programme] Pull up! Pull up! – So guys now I am taking the
Concorde for a takeoff run out of runway two seven London
Heathrow. Let’s go guys. I felt the speed was much
faster than a normal plane. Positive incline. Coming to land at Heathrow 27 left. – Today is the 50th anniversary
of the very first flight of the first Concorde. It took off
from Toulouse 50 years ago and made a short flight
prior to landing and it is amazing to think that aeroplane
still looks futuristic today. – To go to work as a Concorde
pilot of course was just the most privileged best job in the world. The aeroplane had to be flown very precisely, very accurately. It was a day out with your mates
every time you went to work because we were such a small group of people we all knew
one another very well. So now I’m still very proud, I
still thoroughly enjoy my work even though I am approaching retirement. So when I go to work and find
a Boeing 777, it’s a modern fly by wire aeroplane using
a lot of the technology that was developed in Concorde. Apart
from stating the obvious it takes such a bloody long time to get anywhere compared to Concorde. – I was extremely fortunate to
become a crew member on board and I worked under the guidance of a crew numbering in their 40s – senior
crew would be BOAC crew. They taught me an awful lot. I learned
a lot about etiquette on board fine Wines, don’t
bring your (foreign language) about passengers, VIP passengers, royalty. It was incredible. – Here’s Captain Mike Bannister.
He actually flew me in 2003 on my only supersonic flight
from JFK to Heathrow. I’m really really happy to
see you Captain today. – Here we are at Brooklands
on the 50th anniversary of the first ever Concorde
flight, 50 years ago today, the 2nd Of March 1969 and
we’ve reached the point where we’re about to lower the nose
and visor of our Concorde golf bravo bravo delta golf
and we’re going to do it at exactly the same time
as the first Concorde ever lifted off 50
years ago to the moment. So that’s going be a real celebration. – Amazing, thank you sir. – [Audience] Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero. (applause) (dramatic orchestral music) – I flew on Concorde on
the 15th of October 2003. It was such a momentous event in my life that the date has become like a second birthday. I remember we took off at 6pm in darkness. And with a three and a half
hour flight minus five hours time difference, it meant that we
actually caught up with the sun and landed in daylight
at 4:30pm. Off the ground at Heathrow at six, on the
deck in New York at 4:30. So actual time travel and
flying high enough that the night was a shadow through the sky which we flew out of and for that to not only be possible but to be
accessible to the general public is absolutely unbelievable and shows how far ahead of the time the aircraft was. – Yeah many years ago I
used to go across Heathrow and stop for lunch breaks and I was looking up at the time they used to take off. So all the traffic stopped everywhere. Just to stand and watch it go It was brilliant – absolutely fantastic. Like I say, the ground shook and everybody
just looked at it. You could not stop looking
at it until it disappeared. – A Flight on board a Concorde
is like no other flight. I think you will agree with me. What a beautiful, glorious
looking aircraft she is and Concorde undeniably is
a beautiful part of aviation history and I hope that supersonic travel returns to the sky one day in the future. (dramatic orchestral music)

100 thoughts on “My Supersonic Concorde Flight – Concorde 50th

  1. For more details of my Concorde flight (sonic boom explanation, details of the speed and technicalities, please see my detail trip report here
    https://samchui.com/2003/04/18/concorde-my-ultimate-flight-experience-new-york-to-london-in-3-hours/ )

  2. When I was a kid, I watched Concordes leaving JFK a couple of times. It was a beautiful sight. Also saw them land in CDG and Milan. A sad day: I took a flight at CDG the same day the fatal flight of the concorde in 2000.

  3. I have always loved Concorde. Pitisde the 747 its my favorite plane. I hate it was ended way to early. I was only in 4th grade when the plug was pulled. Never got to see one personally fly or up close. But from books I fell in love with the plane. Its speed. The fighter jet engines. This plane was far ahead of its time. I can't believe we as humans had supersonic flight but now we are stuck for now with subsonic planes that are stuck in efficiency. We made flights 20 hours long when a plane made flights 2 to 4 hours depending on where you going. Sigh. Had the plane been updated over the decades like the 747 it would've been here still. It's like we have a spark of ingenuity from GOD and then we give up on it.

  4. There will be no another concorde because trains are already as fast as boeing and airbus if we include wheelset treadmill tests and there will bey hypersonic tunnel trains running from electricity instead of burning fuel which destroys ozone layer and make greenhouse like it is in venus

  5. I know this is a stretch, but I can't afford to fly at this time, because my money goes towards my home, medical and personal needs, and I can no longer afford to fly. I've always wanted to fly aboard the Concorde, because I lived in France for two years. I've always wondered what it felt like to fly aboard her, but alas, it didn't happen. Do you have any idea how much people would want a fully experience this aircraft, but so far, there's no complete video that'll give us a full-on perspective of the experience. When I say complete video, I mean from the gate, boarding, the entire flight from start to finish and disembarking from the aircraft. I know there's a video featuring the parts of the flight, but it would really make everyone's day to see the whole experience with no edits or breaks. Do you have such a video, and if so, could you upload it here? It would be especially good if it were recorded in stereo, so that it sounds like we're inside the airplane right there with you. Thank you so much in advance, and many more blessings for future travels and flights.
    Heather Stubbs
    Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

  6. If you want to have a ’poor man’s’ Concorde experience: to fly across an open sea to another country and arrive before you have departed so to speak, I recommend flying from my hometown Turku in Southwest Finland to Stockholm Arlanda😉. The morning departure, for example, departs at 6.40am and arrives at 6.30. A 10 minute timewarp. I wonder if there are any other flights that fit the description? In The Caribbean or Oceania? UAE to Bahrain or Qatar?

  7. Best of Aircraft to ever fly in Human history since the Wright brothers flew for the First time… Hopefully Emirates program to re-fly the Concorde will come true… Don't miss the first flight Sam… 😉

  8. I wish I could fly the Tu-144. Also, I know it was copied from a Concorde in many regards, but saying that some unique features are strictly reserved to Concorde are false sine Tu-144 had regular flights too!

  9. Sam, for people who ask you if you heard the sonic boom ask them how could the sound catch up to me if I was going faster?

  10. You can't "buy back" time. You would just be able to make your time pass by slower than the time for the people on earth. But with a difference of only a few thousand km/h in speed this effect wouldn't be noticable a all for a human. When you really want to see this effect you have to move way faster and close to the speed of light. That's kind of what Einstein told us.

  11. The reason you don’t hear the massive, loud noise that is the sonic boom is the fact you are traveling faster than the speed of sound itself. You are literally traveling so fast, the sound waves traveling outside your aircraft cannot keep up with your aircraft

  12. Thank you for a trip down memory lane. I flew on Concorde around the same time. And the flight crew was generous with the champagne. I remember that the checkin staff took our coats so we wouldn’t haven’t to be bothered with them during boarding. What a magnificent flight.

  13. With analogue instruments they used to cross the Atlantic in few hours – London to NYC for 3 decades. Nowadays, with digital modern technology they couldn't control for instance Airfrance flight Rio – Paris which dived into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. It makes you wonder, really.

  14. I absolutely love these planes such elegance and beauty and yes way ahead of it's time.

    @16:13 they drop the nose in epic fashion and to whomever gave that "Ooow Aaww" perfect timing lmao

  15. To answer your question yes whenever a Concord came in to land it did have priority. In fact it did have a special call sign letting air traffic controllers know that it was a Concord. Obviously it wasn't a snub on the other airtraffic in the area because these can be parked in a holder pattern with the fuel they burn😀

  16. one accident and Concord grounded and now 2 planes nose dived and Boeing still making them and airlines and countries will be forced to buy use them

  17. Actually looking through a telescope once you get the moon focus you walk away for 5minutes the moon's well out of your telescope

  18. Lucky bastard i saw it a frew times when i was growing up i alwase wished i could go on her & i never had the chance

  19. Hi Sam, I think you slightly misspoke about the fuselage stretch: the Concorde does not stretch "10 feet" due to thermal expansion. It is more on the order of inches. So at most maybe 10 inches. I am assuming it was a slip-of-the-tongue when you were filming. 🙂 Thanks for the great content and videos!

  20. 4:01 Concorde was not allowed to fly across the continental U.S. because of the sonic boom. Never thought of the daily booms ships on the Atlantic would've encountered when she was still in service.

  21. Flew Concorde from Heathrow to New York and return was an amazing experience. Still got the certificate to say I flew supersonic.

  22. You cannot hear the sonic boom from inside an airplane going faster than the speed of sound. How is the boom going to catch you if you fly faster than it moves?

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