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Thread: What happened to Concorde pilots?

  1. #1
    Elephant CRSP's avatar
    Feb 2009
    Perfidious Albion

    Default What happened to Concorde pilots?

    When Concorde was decommissioned, what happened to the pilots that used to fly those planes (this holds for any plane taken out of service, I suppose)? Were they made redundant, retrained, or what?
    Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne blessent mon coeur
    D'une langueur Monotone

  2. #2
    Maximum Proconsul silenus's avatar
    Feb 2009
    Southern California

    Default Re: What happened to Concorde pilots?

    They mostly transitioned to other aircraft that weren't as sexy. Or retired.
    "The Turtle Moves!"

  3. #3
    Apr 2009
    Buckinghamshire, UK

    Default Re: What happened to Concorde pilots?

    I can answer this. First, a bit of background:

    Most BA Concorde pilots and first officers, at the start of the bird's career, were actually quite young. Few of the established crew wanted to fly it for fear of being pigeon-holed as the pilot of a short-lived, unprofitable bit of fluff with no potential for progression. These elders generally had established careers on the Trident or if they were lucky, the relatively new 747, and few were prepared to sacrifice that. As a consequence, many BA pilots who would have had enough seniority and skill to take the job simply declined. Other elders that might have wanted the job demonstrated that they simply couldn't keep up with the learning curve required to deal with something so exotic.

    In spite of that, the Concorde fleet was piloted by a really diverse mix of people of all ages. The youngest was 32 when he started, which is surprising given what we know about that aircraft now and the cachet it had.

    When Concorde was retired, some crew went on to flying long-range wide-bodies. You can decide for yourself how much that broke their hearts, but many of them are still up there, flying for various airlines. Next time you're on board a trans-oceanic flight, bear in mind that the guys in front might once have flown passengers over Mach 2.

    Some were still young enough to retrain as CFIs - trainers of the next generation - on a variety of aircraft after qualifying on them theirselves.

    Of course others were close to the right age to retire or take private contracts, and did so.

    At least two ex Concorde pilots still post regularly on an industry-centred aviation forum. One flies 747s now, the other flies A340s.

    Two last notes:

    1) Concorde was one of the few airliners operating in the 21st century that still had a flight engineer, (the 727 and 747-100/200 are other examples, still flying in various parts of the world). Those F/Es had to retrain or piss off. They were hugely underrated for the job they did and deserver more recognition.

    2) If you're in the UK and you see a BMW 7-series with the registration "SST", please ignore your prejudices against BMWs and get out of the way. He's used to go going FAR faster than you are!

    ::EDIT:: Nice post above me there - kinda proves what I was saying about those who are still young enough to fly.
    Anything is possible if you use enough lubricant.

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