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FINAL FLIGHT FROM BARBADOS TO LONDON

Michael Hawley | 14 May, 2014

Apart from the unreal experience of sipping Champagne at Mach 2 whilst looking out at the curvature of the earth…and watching the Speedbird flying low along the west coast of Barbados bringing the traffic to a stop…and watching her fly at 1,500 feet right over our farm on her farewell tour…my enduring memory of Concorde was on my ninth and final flight on her from Barbados to London Heathrow.

The pilot fully opened the throttles for take-off, no noise restrictions, and accelerated with that fantastic and dramatic G-Force that only a Grand Prix car could emulate. I would know…I’ve driven some.

Just before R1 and lift off, he jammed on the brakes and engaged full reverse thrust in such an incredible and staggering display of retardation that I will never forget it. Apparently, a red light had come on and an aborted take-off was the only option.

As we taxied back to the terminal, the cabin crew consoled and comforted the many passengers who were quite naturally upset, some traumatised, and in tears.

When a very attractive hostess came to me to apologise, I simply smiled and punched the air and said: "Thanks, that was phenomenal, and, even better, we get a second take-off. Brilliant."

An unbelievable aeroplane which made us all proud to be British.

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