The first ever commercial female Concorde pilot, Barbara Harmer, has been honoured on International Women’s Day 2023.

A blue plaque has been unveiled at Felpham sailing club in West Sussex to Harmer, who died in 2011.

The former hairdresser was the first ever woman to pilot the aircraft.

At the ceremony, local councillor Kevin Watson was quoted by local media as saying: “Barbara was such an inspiration to so many, making history in what was such a male-dominated industry.

“She really battled to be the first female commercial Concorde pilot. We feel it’s a really terrific tribute, and we’re delighted.”

Supersonic success

British Airways Concorde made just under 50,000 flights and flew more than 2.5m passengers supersonically.

With a take off speed of 220 knots (250mph) and a cruising speed of 1350mph – more than twice the speed of sound – a typical London to New York crossing would take a little less than three and a half hours.

On 24 October 2003, British Airways withdrew Concorde, bringing to a close the world’s only supersonic passenger service.

The final scheduled commercial flight was BA002 from JFK operated by G-BOAG. BA’s fleet of seven aircraft were subsequently dispersed for preservation at Barbados (AE), Edinburgh (AA), Filton (AF), Manchester (AC), New York (AD) and Seattle (AG) with one (AB) remaining at Heathrow.
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