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16 October 2014
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Concorde's farewell visit to Aldergrove - Page 2

Having admired the Concorde close-up and Brian taken his photos, we returned to the car and drove to a spot where

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Concorde's farewell visit to Aldergrove - Page 2

Angela Willis' diary continued

Having admired the Concorde close-up and Brian taken his photos, we returned to the car and drove to a spot where we, hopefully, could watch the big white bird take off for her farewell return to Heathrow. We managed to park on the verge beside the entrance to the closed-off road at the end of the runway.

Foot-stamping

There we joined probably 100 or more other folk of all ages for a freezing, foot-stamping wait, though luckily dry, with a brilliant low sun just at the edge of a huge black cloud. A sun that threatened to ruin photos of the event.

Squinting into the sunshine, waiting for take-off
Squinting into the sunshine, waiting for take-off

Problems?

Take-off time of five past four came and went. Various airport vehicles raced in succession around the perimeter road and eventually one stopped and a man got out and spoke to folk nearest the fence. They began to walk away, and when asked - said they had been told Concorde had technical problems and wouldn't be leaving until 9pm.

More tea

A lot of us then decided to leave and we walked back to the car but were surprised to see that many of the others had stayed-put in the bitter cold. (Many were not suitably dressed). And yet still more people were arriving in cars and on foot all the time.

We sat in the car with the engine running to keep warm and had our tea and sandwiches, waiting to see what would happen, feeling that as so many folk had continued to stay at the end of the runway they knew something different!

Gulder

Brian got out of the car and chatted to a passing man for a few minutes and just as I was suggesting we should phone the airport to find out what was happening - the man guldered and pointed and we just got a few seconds glimpse as Concorde roared low over the road then rose fast behind us. Our final look at an amazing feat of engineering - a graceful flying machine being brought to a halt 27 years after it first began to fly commercially - due to the drop off in passenger numbers and the cost of running and maintenance.

Homeward bound - Concorde leaves for Heathrow
Homeward bound - Concorde leaves for Heathrow

The end of an era. We saw it arrive on its first flight to Northern Ireland in May 1983 and bid it farewell today. I'm glad we made the long journey to do so. It will remain memorable for us.

And that rumour of a delayed take-off because of technical problems? We'll never know.

Note from NI Editor:
Don Bannister was at Aldergrove as well to see Concorde land for the last time - find out more .

..... Return to first page of 'Concorde's final visit to Aldergrove'


Return to 'Flight Through Time - Programme 3'


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