Concorde's Last Day
24th Oct 2003 – her last day
Friday 24 Oct 2003 - At home
This report has been taken from my Concorde trip report website.
After 5 hrs of sleep I got up at 5.30am and got ready for the long day a head……I had to go back to Heathrow Airport by 9.30 am to see the 10am Concorde take off on her last day.
I was extremely tired and aching all over but this was Concorde’s last day and no matter what happened I had to be there to see her.
I turned the TV on and heard Heathrow Police where issuing half truths and lies of how all the roads around Heathrow would be blocked off and how the police would not allow any one to see Concorde land for the final time.
This was clearly a ploy to “limit“ crowed numbers but it didn’t work with me and I carried on getting ready for my visit Heathrow as there was no way that I was going to miss her last day of commercial flight.
I figured if the Police stopped me and sent me home then fine they would do that but this is the risk I’d have to take as I really really wanted to see her land for the last time and I wasn’t gonna let Heathrow Police stop me.
I checked Concorde SST and saw the following time table for today’s events :-
I made sure the EOS 3 and the flash gun had a fresh set of batteries + 2 spare sets of batteries as backups and 10 reels of film (8 x 24 exposure and 2 x 36 exposure ASA/400 films) as there was no way I was going let this once in a life time photo opportunity go, so I carried as much film and as many batteries as I could afford.
From experience I figured I’d probably only use 5-6 reels of film but felt the more film I carried the better as with Concorde you could never really tell when you may need more film as she can be unpredictable but you never know when that moment would come (like suddenly switching runways 2 minutes before she lands), so it was best to carry more than needed.
Journey to Heathrow
Before I had breakfast I put a new 3 hr video tape in to the VCR, set the VCR to LP mode and programmed it to record BBC Breakfast time, then at 3.30pm restart the VCR to record BBCs coverage of Concorde’s last landings (at the same time friends did the sane for Sky news).
Then had breakfast and left home at 7.30am armed with my EOS 3 camera and blue stool, I wanted to get to Heathrow by 9.30am..
I got the trains and made my way up there, while I was going to Heathrow BBC Breakfast showed the following about Concorde
On the train to Heathrow but I couldn’t believe how packed the trains where.
How come so many people are on this train ?
I felt like the all the people in world where on my trains as the trains where packed and I realised it was the crush hour (as people where getting crushed on the trains).
Today the journey to heathrow took the usual amount of time but it wasn’t like journeys of the past.
Today it was full of mixed emotions.
But I wanted to enjoy my self so I tried to put these emotions to the back of my mind and make sure I had a good time.
At Heathrow Airport - missed the 10am
I wanted to be at Heathrow by 9.30am but as usual the trains mucked up so I didn’t get to Heathrow until 9.50am. I knew the 10am Concorde was going to take off but had hoped to get a bus to the end of runway 27R (Eastern end of the North runway) to see her as it was only a 5 minute ride to get the end of that runway.
As luck would have it was a no go as soon as I reached Hatton Cross I raced out of the train like a bat outa hell, ran up the stairs, through the ticket barriers hoping to get a bus to the East side of the North runway, but no such luck there where no buses heading north at all.......... My heart rapidly sank like a very heavy stone.
Above are 10 mins of clips which where edited from 3 hrs of footage from BBC Breakfast……The above shows CEO of 2003 BA-Rod Eddington, Concorde and what else was going on in London at the time to give a feel for the day.