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British Concorde Arrives At Seattle Museum of Flight

By Patrick Mondout
November 5, 2003

On October 24, 2003, the final passenger flight of a Concorde took place between New York and London. But this was not the final flight of this Concorde (G-BOAG).

British Airways has permanently loaned this historic aircraft to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The beloved Concorde took off from JFK this afternoon as Flight BA9094C with a full load of fortunate BA employees and landed at it's new home at Boeing Field (BFI - where the museum is located) in front of a cheering crowd estimated at 4,500.

Though the temperature was in the mid 40s, it was a beautiful day - not a cloud in the sky. I drove up from Portland and was glad to arrived early as I was able to get to the front of the security fence. I was not the only one who arrived early.

The Concorde was scheduled to arrive around 3:00 p.m., but it was about a half-hour early. In fact, it set a speed record for the New York to Seattle flight!

Permission to fly supersonic over Canada was granted by the Canadian government and that allowed Concorde to set the record by making the flight from New York City to Seattle in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds.

We were told by museum officials there would be an announcement made as the Concorde was arriving, but owing perhaps to its unexpected early arrival, none was made.

Folks throughout the crowd began pointing and saying, "There it is!" It did an overhead pass of the field at about 2000 feet from the north. A very much appreciated treat!

As it turned south of Seattle to line up for the landing on runway 31L, it passed in front of the Mt. Rainier. What a sight! (I was beginning to regret not bringing my 300mm zoom-lens, though I did capture it with my camcorder.)

On final approach, there were "oohs" and "aahs" followed by cheers from the crowd - most of which (at least around me) had never seen the aircraft in person before - as it came in for a picture perfect landing.

I didn't see a band, but typically British music was playing in the background and many in the crowd were holding British flags.

While we watched the Concorde taxi in front of us, we could see that Interstate-5, the main artery in and out of Seattle and just above the field to the east, was practically a parking lot as many folks stopped their cars to take a look at the unique aircraft. We could see police cars attempting to keep the traffic flowing, but they were probably not expecting the early landing and were only marginally successful.

Actually, its early landing caused other problems. A gentleman standing next to me with a cell phone had a difficult time convincing friends who were stuck in traffic trying to get to Boeing Field to believe that it had already landed; many missed the landing believing it would be some time after 3:00. There was also a planned reception for the crew, but not all the honored guests had arrived (some via planes which were to arrive before Concorde but had to wait to land due to its early arrival). The Concorde parked on the taxiway for about a half hour before it finally made its way to the reception.

Welcome to Seattle!

It was all smiles as we welcomed the British Airways crew and our new bird to Boeing Field. While taxiing, pilots Les Broadie (seen waving) and Mike Bannister waved British and American flags from the cockpit windows.

Image by Patrick Mondout


I have hung out at airports before taking photographs of commercial aircraft and lived for eight years about a mile from Moffett Field/NASA Ames in Mountain View, California, but I have never seen as graceful and as beautiful an aircraft as Concorde. Whatever the noise concerns and economic realities, this was certainly the commercial aircraft of the 20th century if only judged by it looks, class, and speed.

The Museum of Flight currently estimates the Concorde will open for tours by museum members only on November 22 and that it should be open to the public by November 28. Along with the original Boeing 707-based Air Force One and one of the best collection of aircraft anywhere in the world, it is well worth your time if you are in the Seattle area.

BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde at a Glance
Engines4 Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593Mk 610 turbojets
Cruising Speed1350 (Mach 2.04)
Passengers100 (144 two classes)
Range4090
Span83ft 10in
Length203ft 9in
Height37ft 5in
Weight408,000
Built16


 

FLYING FACTS

The speed limit sign on the right is perhaps a reminder that Boeing field is not where you'd expect to find an SST.

Photo by Patrick Mondout


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