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Oklahoma Memories

Concorde Lands in OKC

2010-09-12

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That's the sound of a Concorde jet flying by; it's pretty loud.

From the Oklahoma History Center, this is Oklahoma Memories. I'm Michael Dean.

When the Concorde first began flying in 1976, most airports in the United States banned them because of the noise. Thus they were seldom seen outside of Kennedy International in New York, Washington Dulles, Miami International, and DFW in Dallas. The Concorde was a passenger plane that flew at two times the speed of sound. In December 1978, a Concorde visited Tulsa and Oklahoma City as part of a promotional tour by Braniff International Airways. Braniff began as an Oklahoma City company in 1928 flying mostly oil executives between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. By the 1970s Braniff operated an all-jet fleet and flew routes across the United States and Central and South America then added Europe and Middle East as well. In 1979 Braniff concluded a deal with Air France and British Airways to fly ten of the 19 Concordes the two companies owned on domestic routes from Dallas to New York then to England and France. Thus, in 1978, the promotional tour of the Concorde included both Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

"Sounds of a Concorde"

In September 1985 a Concorde landed at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. A passenger on another inbound flight described watching the Concorde approach Oklahoma City.

"Just came in from Chicago and were coming in when the pilot announced the Concorde was off on the right, and so we all had a real good look at it, and it kept getting closer and closer, and we got a good a real good view of it. I guess we flew alongside for about five minutes. Very impressive. Everyone on the left side went to the right side of the plane to see it. It was a beautiful sight."

The Concorde flight was a charter flight picking up 100 Oklahomans for a trip to Europe. They paid about $2,500 per ticket. They flew from Oklahoma City to New York then refueled for the 3-hour flight to London.

The flight engineer told reporters the plane made the trip from New York to Oklahoma City in two hours and 15 minutes. Shortly after arriving in Oklahoma City, Governor George Nigh paid the plane a visit. The Concorde supersonic passenger jet landing in Oklahoma is just a small part of the history of aviation in our state. You can learn more about this fascinating part of our history by visiting the Oklahoma History Center on NE 23rd Street, just east of the state capitol in Oklahoma City. The History Center is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturdays. Oklahoma Memories is a production of the Oklahoma History Center, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing our state's past. I'm Michael Dean.