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Last Updated: Friday, 11 April, 2003, 05:49 GMT 06:49 UK
Joy and sadness at Concorde's end
British Airways Concorde
Concorde will stop flying by the end of October
The announcement that Concorde will stop flying by the end of October has prompted a mixed reaction.

Campaigners against aircraft pollution say they are delighted while passengers and past and present Concorde staff mourn the end of the peerless aircraft.

Captain Brian Calvert piloted Concorde for eight years between 1974 and 1982. He is also the author of "Flying Concorde" and has extremely fond memories of the aircraft.

"The news that Concorde will be taken out of service is very sad but I prefer to look at it more positively," he said.

Abi Wells and Brenda Howe
Although we don't fly on it very often we love seeing it in the sky
Abi Wells and Brenda Howe
"It has been such a wonderful aircraft and is a fantastic piece of machinery."

Captain Calvert also said the appearance of the aircraft in 1969 had done a tremendous amount for British self-confidence.

He said: "At the time the aviation industry had suffered from successive governments setting a project off only for it to be cancelled by the next incoming government.

"Concorde was the first time the British public actually saw what its money was being spent on."

Captain Calvert, 69, was at the controls of the aircraft when it made its first ever chartered flight - the passengers were all regulars from his local pub.

He now lives in west Berkshire underneath Concorde's flight path and he still marvels at the aircraft's beauty.

'The beauty is a beast'

But there are those who are delighted to see the back of Concorde.

Members of campaign group Hacan (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) regard the aircraft as nothing more than a noisy financial drain on the country.

Monica Robb, vice chairman, of the group said: "Well, quite frankly the beauty is a beast.

"Everyone knows that Concorde is beautiful to look at but ever since its creation it has never paid for itself and every time it took off it was being subsidised by you and I.

Anne and Lisle Taylor with Dorothy Hughson
Anne and Lisle Taylor with Dorothy Hughson
"On top of that it frightens the life out of people when it takes off because it is so incredibly noisy - residents under its flight path will certainly be very pleased by today's news.

"Instead of spending all the millions of pounds on getting it up to scratch after the Gonesse disaster, the aviation industry should have put money into creating a cleaner and quieter aircraft."

BBC News Online's Katie Osborne went to Heathrow airport to talk to passengers boarding the first Concorde flight to New York since the news was announced.

Anne and Lisle Taylor from Hadleigh, Suffolk surprised Anne's mother, Dorothy Hughson, also from Suffolk, with a flight on Concorde for her 80th birthday.

Mrs Hughson said: "I am very sad abut the fact that Concorde won't fly any longer. I cannot believe it. I saw the very first flight take off."

Catherine, Matthew and Keith Jago
The Jagos were off to spend the weekend in New York
Abi Wells and her mother Brenda Howe, from Ascot in Berkshire, were on their way for a weekend shopping trip in New York.

Ms Wells said: "This is the second time I have been on Concorde. It's really sad. Although we don't fly on it very often we love seeing it in the sky. It flies over our home.

"I hope we see it again in some other form."

Keith and Catherine Jago, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, were also boarding Thursday's flight with their 14-year-old son Matthew.

Mr Jago said: "It is such a shame because Concorde has always been a flagship for BA and the UK but I suppose it is not surprising in today's economic climate."

Mrs Jago said the family were very excited to have been given the chance to fly on Concorde before it is taken out of service.

"It's something we have always wanted to do," she said.

John Hutchinson, former Concorde captain
"It is a beautiful, responsive, powerful, thoroughbred of an aeroplane - an absolute delight to fly"

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