I was keen to spend a while watching and photographing a group of aircraft we do not get to see passing though ADL at West Beach. Also, The Runway Visitor park has 4 interesting aircraft to view; A Nimrod, like one we had seen in York, An RJ100 along with the nose of a DC10 and the pride of the place, Concorde.
There was a problem, it was closed.
Closed for a conference.
Well, what can you do, this is a business and they need to make a living, managing Concorde requires funds so I really did understand. But we were a little saddened to miss out. We sat in the restaurant as the rain poured down over the airfield. The rain made the landing of the Emirates A380, the flight we will be on in 24 hours, totally invisible.
The table staff came over to collect our order for lunch and we asked if Concorde was likely to be open later in the day. She said, "no it is closed for the conference." We asked if there was any chance of seeing it since it was our last opportunity and she said she would see what she cold do.
She introduced us to Simon who manages the catering at this place. He organises the conferences and runs the whole show. He came over to see us and was the perfect host. He asked if we could hang about for while and he would personally host us for a tour of Concorde as soon as the conference was done.
Could we hang about a while????
- For a trip over Concorde.
We had a warm coffee shop to wait in and a whole afternoon of air traffic to observe. Of course we could hang about.
Eventually the conference broke up and Simon came to collect us.
Then we were in the hanger, the two of us with Simon who took us all around Concorde.
Inside and out, under and over, touching it and breathing it.
My oh my what an experience.
Sitting in the pilot seat, Sitting as a passenger. Wondering who may have sat in this seat in the past.
This is a special example of Concorde. Its registration is G BOAC. It was the flagship of the fleet. It is also one the few to actually arrive at its final exhibition point under its own power. Many were dissected and carted to their museum home but G BOAC flew itself to Manchester.
Concorde began construction in February 1965 just months before we left Heathrow for Adelaide. I followed its development and flight program right throughout my youth. To finish our 50th anniversary tour of UK with a personally guided tour of Concorde was the best icing on any cake I can think of.
Simon was a delight as he chatted about Concorde in its new home as a conference centre. He introduced us to a Concorde guide who could answer my questions about the brilliant aircraft.
We took hundreds of photographs, some of them may actually tell a story.
Tomorrow we rejoin Emirates to return home. We have learned lots about our family and the history behind our migration in 1965. We have been constantly struck by the memories flowing back to us with each corner we turned.
Who could have thought of ever reaching such a 50th anniversary?
Who could have ever thought to close the entire trip in the way we closed it today with Concorde.
Thanks for reading my ditties from across the globe.
Perhaps I will do it agin next time I travel.