The Concorde donated by BA (British Airways) to the Museum of Flight landed for the last time at Boeing Field yesterday (Wednesday). I debated with myself about whether or not to go see it land - "Hmmm, futz around with this bulb seal a few hours or go experience a last-chance-in-a-lifetime event. Hmmm...." Apparently, the event won out.
The Concorde made a southbound pass overhead, made its turn to final somewhere out of sight and landed from south to north. It was a completely clear day so I assume photographers on the roof got some good shots of the plane with Mt. Rainier in the background.
After landing a comedy of errors ensued. The area in front of the crowd where the Concorde was supposed to taxi to was blocked off by an unopened gate, so the plane taxied on past it. After realizing the mistake it sat there for 15-20 minutes while air traffic control waited for traffic to thin out enough so that the Concorde could turn back onto the runway, taxi north past us and then back south again to the correct spot. Then a tug was hooked up and started towing the plane, but it tried to turn too tight and broke the linchpin on the tow bar. Another 15-20 minute wait while they got that fixed. Then when it was finally positioned correctly it took a while to get the air stair properly aligned and placed. All in all it was probably an hour from the time that it actually touched down until they opened the door.
Unfortunately, the plane set a record for its flight from New York to Seattle. They got a flight corridor through Canada and were able to go supersonic and made it in about 3 hours and 55 minutes.
Why is this unfortunate? Because they came in and landed right away! No low-speed photo pass, no high-speed pass in afterburner, nothin'. Just the approach to the field and touchdown. That's all well and good for the pilot (a little record in the books for him) and the passengers (all BA employees, got to go supersonic) but the 1000+ people on the ground came down to see it fly for the last time. There'll be plenty of time to look at it on the ground later 'cause once it's on the ground, that's it. I barely got to see it because I was busy taking pictures, thinking I'd get a good look on the next go around. Dirty, rotten.....
Anyway, here are some pictures, click them for bigger view........................................................................................Tom Killgore