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Old 6th Sep 2010, 23:15
  #242 (permalink)  
old,not bold
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 743
I have two recollections which I treasure. The first is of a sales demo ride for a VIP party I had to organise from Abu Dhabi on 29th August 1974; one by one we went to the flight deck to look around, which is when I first saw the gap by the F/E panel as the skin stretched. The flight took us overhead Dubai and then halfway to Bombay with a level turn at M2 and back along the outward track. The contrail was close by the RH side and gave a tremendous impression of what the speed really meant.

Some 13 or 14 years later I had the privilege of a jump seat ride from Exeter for the whole of one of the round-the-bay flights. We flew North to join the westbound route to the acceleration point at minimum separation behind the schedule Concorde to New York (or perhaps Washington?). The display as the other aircraft's nose lifted and the aircraft accelerated was awesome.

Then on landing, handflown by the FO (currency requirement?), we seemed to be heading for a touchdown halfway down the runway. It was truly terrifying to a simple PPL, and just as I was about to let out a strangled sob the mainwheels touched down precisely on the markers, well below and behind. Apart from the terror, what impressed me was that as far as I could see the FO was flying the aircraft exactly as you would a Tiger Moth; stick, throttle and rudder. I know that there was far more to it than that, but that's how it appeared.

What a gorgeous aircraft. My model, in its original Gulf Air colours as presented in 1974, flies in the ceiling of my office.
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