View Full Version : Barbara Harmer Concorde Pilot RIP
25th Feb 2011, 15:14
I have just heard that Barbara passed away on Sunday 20th Feb in St Wifred's Hospice, Chichester. I was ATC at LGW and met her the day she joined. Wonderful lady and will be very much missed.
25th Feb 2011, 16:32
Times Online (http://announcements.thetimes.co.uk/obituaries/timesonline-uk/obituary.aspx?n=barbara-harmer&pid=148805442)
25th Feb 2011, 16:42
I remember her well. She was my right hand woman one day doing a BCAL shuttle from LAX to San Diego in a DC10. This sector was meant to be flown at reduced speed for thinking time. For whatever reason, on that day we flew it at normal speed and after landing, I said "You see it's quite easy" and she replied "I'm still in Los Angeles." Consequently it amused me that she went on the Concorde.
A truly lovely lady, may she rest peacefully.
Indeed - a dreadful shame. I first met her at BOH on the IR course with SFC in 1982, and I think she went on to Genair after that, as I met her again at HUY a couple of years later. A fine lady.
26th Feb 2011, 08:12
What a shame (and a shock). I used to fly with her on the 1-11's in B.Cal. R.I.P.
26th Feb 2011, 10:25
I was on the same ATC assistant course with Barbara at the NATS college back in 1974. Then went on to work with her at Gatwick ATC before she made the change of career choice and went flying instead.
Taken too soon. RIP
27th Feb 2011, 18:36
I had the privilege of flying to New York on the flight deck of Concorde when Barbara was the First Officer. I envied her for her job (being a female pilot myself) and was delighted to find that she was witty, self-depracating, and a really lovely person. She has left us much too soon. Rest in Peace Barbara.
27th Feb 2011, 20:22
Can any ex-BCAL person please say how many female BAC 1-11 pilots BCAL had around 1980+ ?
One day I flew AMS-LGW as a pax and was a little surprised (in those days) to discover we had an all-female cockpit and cabin crew:
"This is your pilot (obviously female FO) speaking..... Capt XXX and her crew wish you a happy ZZZ".
Maybe Barbara was there. RIP.
May well have been Ann Bostock in the lefthand seat and Barbara in the Rhs. after 1984?.
1st Mar 2011, 08:36
From memory apart from Barbara there were Captain Ann Cranfield (Bostock), F/o's Francine Tullis, Mandy Collett, Joyce Bishop and Judith Wright.
6th Mar 2011, 09:31
B.Cal was so ahead of the game when it came to recognising ability. All the above great individuals and a pleasure to know and fly with.
7th Mar 2011, 03:37
I met Barbara before she joined BCAL, I flew with her on the BAC 1-11, and also sailed with her on my yacht. I had no ideae that she was so unwell. Very sad.
7th Mar 2011, 07:29
I just found out this morning as was very saddened to hear to her passing. We worked together at Gatwick on the same watch and got on very well. Also used to share her car to and from work and the summers driving to and fro in the Spitfire with the top down will never go away.
It mast be over 5 years or so since I last saw her and I had no idea she was unwell. Dreadfull news, wonderful girl.
Lord Molton Brown
8th Mar 2011, 18:34
I only found out about this a few days ago, when I was chatting to my first officer about Concorde.
My wife and I were able to enjoy a BA staff concession, on Concorde in April 1998. A colleague of mine said if the First Officer was a lady called Barbara to pass on his best wishes. Imagine my delight when a few minutes before push back, Barbara came on the PA with her "welcome on board." Once we were airborne, I spoke to to the Pursar and was invited to the flight deck and sat on the jump seat for quite some time asking questions. about Concorde and its operation. What a delightful lady, so engaging and natural, so was the Skipper as well and Flight Engineer ( who by the way seemed to doing most of the work! ). Imagine my delight, when the Pursar came and spoke to me about 30 mins out of JFK, " the skipper wondered if I would like to sit on the jump seat for the approach and landing. " It was a most fantastic experience, something that I shall never forget. Thank you Barbara, it was a super landing. RIP.
9th Mar 2011, 10:46
I worked with Barbara on 'C' watch at ATC Gatwick in the late 1970s where she was an Air Traffic Control Assistant. She was a lovely girl and a good colleague. Always the same pleasant smile for everyone.
I think all her colleagues in ATC were both proud and pleased at the success of her subsequent flying career. Achieved through her own dedication, determination and hard work, Barbara remains a great role model for young people.
Her premature passing is sad news indeed.
11th Mar 2011, 05:28
Very sad news indeed. Far too young for someone so talented. I knew Barbara back in the eighties when we flew Len's Chipmunk at Goodwood. Both she and Len who were both flying for BCAL at the time were a great inspiration and encouraged me in so many ways to achieve my aim of becoming an Airline pilot. Thank you for that. RIP Barbara.
22nd Mar 2011, 21:55
Quite by accident, today I learned of Barbara's death. Ironically perhaps it resulted from me visiting Croydon Airport and having lunch. I looked at various photos and the plane hanging outside in Morton Air Services colours. Upon coming home I looked up Morton on the web and discovered another female pilot had flown with them called Yvonne Sintes, I had met her years before as Yvonne Pope.
I then thought, I wonder what I'll find on Barbara Harmer. I knew she was the first and only female Concorde Pilot, I knew this from years ago, in fact there is a photo of her inside the Concorde at Brooklands Museum and I saw this last year.
I met Barbara in September 1974. Along with three other girls, I was on the intake for Air Traffic Control Assistants at Gatwick. I was Just 19 and she was a year older. We spent probably 2/3 days perhaps on an inaugural course at Gatwick, and then went down to Hurn Airport in Hampshire for an intensive 4 week course before being allocated watches at Gatwick. I was on A watch and Barbara was on C watch. I knew then that she had an intense interest in flying. I went on to train as an aerodrome controller and left Gatwick in 1977. I didn't remain in aviation, but its always been a life long interest and passion.
I became aware that Barbara had become a Concorde pilot, back in the 1990s.
Only today did I read about her ambitions from hairdresser to Concorde Captain, she had studied for A levels, etc.... her after dinner speaking....what a tremendous woman, what a tremendous inspiration to us all!
She will be missed by many, loved by many.
It was indeed a pleasure to have met her back in those distant but heady days of the 1970s.
She must be due for a biography, indeed a film, I cannot say enough about such an inspiring woman!
It is sad, but it has been a pleasure to have known her if only fleetingly.
24th Mar 2011, 16:37
Just heard about this terrible news. I just remember her from her Genair days on the shed and drinks in the Marrowbone and Cleaver after the last flight in the evening. I think I was a little bit in love with her but she was never going to be interested in a Banderante PA. So so sorry. At least there is a Mach 2 angel now.
25th Mar 2011, 18:32
I met Barbara once, socially (she was a friend of a friend) after Concorde when she was a captain on the 777. She came across as a friendly, kind, warm and sentient person. Although she was only 57 i'm sure she did not waste one minute of her time on the planet. A life well lived.
9th Apr 2011, 06:32
Not coming into this part of PPRuNe too often I have missed this until today. What very sad news. I met Barbara when she was flying with Genair on Sheds before she joined BCal. As others have said she was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet, always ready to chat, a ready smile, and a good sense of fun.
Wherever you have gone Barbara I am sure you will enjoy yourself.
13th Apr 2011, 02:47
This lady was a total inspiration to me, amongst the horrid little voices of dissent who told me all through my childhood that 'women could not fly'.
After hearing her story this woman ,little old me,did eventually fly. It remains the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done & brought me joy & excitement beyond words.
Although I never made a career out of it (probably the only person in history to be drawn to a career in Emergency Medicine more than flying), aviation is,was & always will be the greatest love of my life.
Thank you Barbara.Thank you so much.RIP.
17th Apr 2011, 19:12
YouTube - Concorde Flight to Iceland
18th Apr 2011, 12:32
Barbara's official obit in today's Daily Telegraph for those in UK or with online access to the DT.
18th Apr 2011, 18:31
Shared a house in Humberside with Barbara when we both worked for Genair. A very kind person , full of warmth and fun. Truly saddened to hear of her passing , too soon.
18th Apr 2011, 18:43
Here's the link to the Daily Telegraph obituary:
Barbara Harmer - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/technology-obituaries/8457095/Barbara-Harmer.html)
Never had the pleasure of meeting Capt Harmer. Until Barbara got her first airline-pilot job, she had been a “self-improver”. Any professional pilot who uses that term dismissively - and many do - should ask himself whether he actually loves flying enough to have stood that course, and perhaps be thankful not to have had to find out.
We flew in the same company for the best part of two decades, but I only met her on a handful of occasions. Airline pilots tend not to live in ghettos, and mostly have homes to go to after work. She joined us on the One-Eleven fleet in BCAL just before I went back to long-haul and, later, our paths crossed briefly on the DC-10. Everyone liked her. In BA, we ex-BCAL pilots were very chuffed when she became a star of Concorde.
Around the turn of the millennium, she embarked on a command course on the A320 fleet, where I was still lingering prior to retirement. Her choice of aeroplane for her first command would have been dictated largely by fleet vacancies, and the vagaries of the seniority system: she may well have been too junior to bid for a long-haul fleet. In any case, Concorde sector-times were hardly comparable with BA long-haul. A number of A320 skippers were ex-Concorde, and the A320 was still streets ahead of the other short-haul fleets in terms of new technology.
Having heard the news, I looked forward to meeting her. This was to be a brief one, somewhere in Europe, when she brought me an aeroplane to fly back to LHR. She had completed the simulator and base training, and was well into her line training. As we passed each other on the air bridge, together with whoever was instructing her, she looked quite chirpy and told me she was enjoying the aeroplane. A first command coupled with a type-conversion is one of the most testing courses most pilots have to run. Barbara would have been the first female captain on the fleet. We had a number of women-copilots, and there were female captains on other fleets. For whatever reason, Barbara was soon to return to Concorde.
After retirement, and after the final grounding of Concorde, I sometimes wondered which fleet she had moved to; and if she had given her command a second shot. In addition to proving her ability, it is a mark of what the obituary-writer describes as her tenacity that she later won her fourth stripe on the Triple-Seven, in addition to all her other achievements in the air and elsewhere.
22nd Apr 2011, 21:42
There was a piece on BBC Radio 4 today on Barbara including past interviews with her.
23rd Apr 2011, 20:05
BBC iPlayer - Last Word: 22/04/2011 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010fd8g/Last_Word_22_04_2011/)
For those that can listen to it.
The program is also on at 8:30 pm oh R4 on Sunday. I assume it is a repeat of the above.
1st May 2011, 11:20
Super lady, first met her through contacts at Goodwood. Last saw her when she was driving an Alfa Romeo Spyder. Inspirational.
1st May 2011, 22:01
Thanks for that video, roving. It's lovely the way the Captain compliments her landing.
25th Nov 2012, 06:08
Great Lady. RIP