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Watch the Air France plane seconds after take off
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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Concorde regulars' calm return
Amateur picture of the Concorde
The plane was caught on camera shortly before it crashed
At 1030 BST on Wednesday a British Airways Concorde left London's Heathrow for John F Kennedy airport in New York.

The BBC's Graham Satchell was on board that first Concorde flight since Tuesday's crash in France, which killed 113 people.

Without a flicker of apprehension in his voice, the pilot of the London to New York BA Concorde welcomed passengers on board.

Captain Chris Norris told us we would be flying at 1,340mph - twice the speed of sound - and at 60,000ft - 11 miles high.

There was no mention of the terrible crash just outside Paris - the crew was treating this as just another routine flight.

But, of course, it could never be that.

Rescue workers at scene
Rescue workers wear masks as they search for bodies
Seventy passengers had booked to fly. In the end only 47 of us made the journey - the rest had cancelled.

I have never flown Concorde before and I was surprised by the noise on takeoff.

As we thundered down the runway, reaching 244mph, I was gripping the side of my seat, my heart racing.

But, to my amazement, most of the rest of the passengers - regular Concorde travellers - were simply reading the papers, all dominated of course by one story.

British Airways had decided to go ahead with the flight just an hour before takeoff.

Extensive checks had been carried out overnight and, in a statement, the company said: "There is no technical safety or operational evidence to suggest that Concorde should not operate safely into the future."

Passengers' confidence

The passengers on board this flight agreed.

John Torkelsen, an American venture capitalist, said: "What happened in Paris was an unfortunate tragedy, but BA has excellent engineers and I am confident they would have checked for any defects before they let us on the plane."

Another passenger, Mandy Newman - who was travelling with her husband for a week's holiday in New York - said: "I was slightly anxious because obviously I had seen the accident on the news, but they've spent all night checking the plane and I'm sure it's okay".

As we came into land at JFK airport the weather closed in and Concorde was buffetted quite badly.

There were a few anxious half smiles but a reassuring calm voice came over the cabin and Captain Morris told us we would be out of the turbulence in a few moments.

Safely on the runway in New York three or four of the passengers applauded.

It sounded to me more like defiance than relief.

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