Exclusive club: Concorde pilots are a rare breed
A former-Concorde pilot, Mark Jealous, lets us in on what it’s like to be a part of this unique club and how his specialist journey came about…
“There have been more astronauts than Concorde pilots and so we felt very privileged and proud and it was always exciting to fly, but when you’re in ‘the club’ that’s your normal.
I was brought up in Richmond. And in 1969 during the test phase of Concorde there was obviously some weather problems at Filton so Concorde came over one Sunday afternoon at about 4pm. It was very noisy and smoky, and I said ‘Dad dad dad, that’s Concorde. I’d like to fly that one day.’ I was ten at the time.
It wasn’t a pressured job as such – only in the same way as any professional job one does. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got one passenger, 400 passengers or the Queen on board – you fly the plane the same. I felt excitement, but not pressure.
I went through the civil route. I did my initial training in Dallas. I was flying for 15 years before flying Concorde. Every year BA pilots are asked what their aspirations are for the next five years. So I applied for Concorde. You had to have the seniority and have the technical ability as the cost of a Concorde course was still about £1 million. It was very detailed, there was a lot of technical content. Ground school lasted about three months…it was a lot of ‘chalk and talk’.”
When Concorde ended in 2003 Mark retrained to fly jumbo’s for BA, which he still does today.