Concorde flies under Tower Bridge (pictures)

Concorde through Tower Bridge.JPG

About half a second later we made it through. Phew! Left wingtip a bit close. Worried about the fin, too.

I was on board the world’s only active Concorde simulator when I took this picture. The visual display is much better than this snapshot - taken by me on my stoneage digital camera – suggests.

It’s at Brooklands museum. Yes, you can buy time on it, and I recommend you do.


Bannister in Concorde sim 1.JPG For the price, you get a real Concorde captain as your copilot. Mine was Mike Bannister, British Airway chief Concorde pilot when the aircraft was taken out of service in 2003.

I didn’t do Tower Bridge. I asked Mike just for a take-off from Heathrow 28L, a left hand visual circuit (2,500ft), and line up to land back on 28L.

Mike did all the checklist stuff, set up the speed bugs, told me about attitudes for the key moments, and off we went. Not having done Concorde before, I wanted to feel everything, so I didn’t use autothrottle either. Mike’s guidance was brilliant. A little hint now and then when he could see the speed would soon decay if I didn’t nudge the throttles forward a bit now, etc.

I was surprised at how stable the aeroplane was, and the flare and touchdown very natural. The weird bit is having to force the nosewheel down immediately she’s firmly on the ground.

Brilliant! Another of those moments of incredulity when I think again: “I get paid for this!”

I'm propped against Concorde's nose gear.JPG

That’s me, at Brooklands, just after the sim ride, propping up G-BBDG’s nose gear. She’s beautifully painted in the BA livery she wore when she first entered service. Oh yes, and that IS a VC-10 in the background (A40-AB, type 1103, formerly G-ASIX).

Want to find out what it was like being a Concorde passenger? Go to Brooklands and do the entire “Concorde experience”.

I got a bit carried away with the ride, but see my next blog for what else I did at Brooklands today.

5 Responses to Concorde flies under Tower Bridge (pictures)

  1. Dave Starr 12 April, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Thank you for this article, David. I guess I know where my next vacation trip is going to be now.

    Fascinating that they thought of preserving a working sim. As an ex-USAF simulator maintainer, I should have thought of this before. At least if we don’t have the aircraft itself still flying, at least the sim can live on.

  2. Bruce Prescott 18 April, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Wonderful to see Delta Golf yet again after all these years. I was fortunate enough to have accompanied Brian Trubshaw on some of the hot and high trial flights [demo flights most likely to exhibit one engine out take-off performance capabilities] conducted out of JNB airport [Johannesburg, South Africa] in the 1970s as an engineer with a prospective customer, South african Airways

  3. Flyvertosset 18 April, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    i flew one hour in the Concorde simulator at Brooklands in November 2010.
    This was a great experience and having landed at Kai Tak(past the chequerboard) done a JFK departure with noise abatement procedures, climbed to 51000ft and breaking the soundbarrier twice I walked away with a better understanding of how it was to fly the Speedbird.

    Assisted by two ex BA Concorde Captains, you are in good hands.

    So get on the phone, or e-mail Brooklands to book your own Concorde Flight experience.


  4. LUIS NASCIMENTO 6 May, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    In 1971 I saw the first French concorde landing in Rio and for several years I could follow its steps here in Rio at Rio´s Int
    ´l Galeao.

    Concorde since than is part of my life and daily life, I also witnessed The wonderful BA Concorde visiting us once and while, they were magnificent jets and it´s livery was something……

    Concord, to its first day up to it last flight its performance never was surpassed. The most wonderful industrial piece of engenering ever made.

    But stupidity came and toke over , someone, “wisely”, allowed that, in both side of the channel , no one single Concord was left in flight conditions, not for us but for the future generations pity!

  5. John 19 May, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    You were right, David. That’s quite a simulator and quite an experience. Thank you for letting me know.