Sam Chui is well known in aviation for his detailed trip reports of everything from Emirates first class to being the only passenger onboard the Hi Fly Airbus A380’s final flight. There are few aircraft and airlines that he hasn’t flown on, including the Concorde. He previously called his Concorde flight “the proudest achievement I have had in my flying hobby”.
When Simple Flying recently caught up with Sam for the 139th episode of the Simple Flying Podcast, we decided to chat about the Concorde flight to learn more about what it was like to fly on the supersonic jet.
BA 002 – JFK to London – April 17th, 2003
You can instantly see how much his Concorde flight means chatting with Chui. While many might struggle to recall the date of a specific flight without looking it up, he instantly recalls that his flight was on BA 002, a New York JFK to London Heathrow flight operated on April 17th, 2003. He also mentions that the pilot on the flight was British Airways’ Chief Concorde pilot, Mike Bannister.
Photo: Sam Chui
Recounting his trip on a recent episode of the Simple Flying podcast, aviation’s Sam Chui remarked,
“My flight was from New York to London on BA 002 on April 17th, 2003. I still remember the exact dates, and I was very fortunate that I flew with the chief British Airways Concorde pilot. At the time, it was Captain Mike Bannister. After the landing, I was able to visit the cockpit, so I met the team, and we took lots of momentous photos. They wrote a very nice entry for my logbook.”
What was the flight like?
“The Concorde is a very special airplane. Due to the fast speed and the narrow metal tube, you felt a lot of vibration if you lean against the wall inside the fuselage. You also felt some heat coming out of the metal. It’s very different from a conventional aircraft. The windows are extremely tiny, but you can see how fast you’re moving. At the very end of the Concorde, you can look back and see the tail. When you travel at 58,000 feet, you can imagine the curvature of the earth. You’re looking down to see a deep blue kind of sky.”
Photo: Sam Chui
“We felt very specially treated the whole flight, though there were only 54 passengers at the time. The second air cabin wasn’t very full, so I was able to enjoy it. Six months later, they terminated Concorde services, so every flight was full.”
Photo: Sam Chui
Landing in Heathrow
Chui noted that the experience of landing in London also seemed a little different from usual. He remarked,
“The flight time was three hours and 18 minutes from New York to London. We landed on the easterly runway at Heathrow, 09L. We flew in with a much fast approach speed over Windsor Castle, and it was a sunny day. I think Concorde did have more priority to come into land. As the approach speeds are faster, they needed to clear other traffic so the Concorde could land first.”
Concorde had a landing speed of around 160 knots. This compares to 130 knots for an Airbus A380, according to Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine.
Listen to the full episode
If you enjoyed this article, you can listen to our whole conversation with Sam below,
What do you make of Sam’s Concorde Experience? Did you get to fly on Concorde? Let us know what you think and why in the comment section!
Sources: Sam Chui, Smithsonian