8x12 inch photo signed by Concorde pilot Mike Bannister
Mike Bannister graduated from Ashton School, DunstabIe, and the College of Air Training HambIe, having been awarded a Royal Air Force Flying Scholarship in 1966. He then joined BOAC (British Airways’ predecessor) in 1969 as a pilot and flight navigator on the VC10 (Vickers) fleet. He became the youngest pilot on the Concorde fleet in 1977, completing the first ever course for ‘Line Flight Crew’. Over the following years Mike was a member of a number of government and industry policy groups dedicated to aviation safety, and became a Concorde pilot instructor in 1986.
He became Assistant Training Manager and a Captain on British Airways’ BAe1-11 fleet in 1989. He also served as Flight Crew Manager for that fleet and the ‘high tech' A320 fleet. In 1990 he was appointed Flight Manager (Technical) for the BAe1-11 fleet. In 1992 he moved to the B757/767 fIeet as departmental Manager Business Development and Communications and was named Head of Communications, Flight Operations in 1992. He was appointed the airline's Chief Concorde Plot in 1995 and, until the suspension of the aircraft’s Certificate of Airworthiness, flew regularly as Captain on all of the aircraft's routes worldwide. Concorde has visited a total of 251 destinations - 72 in the USA.
From July 2000 Mike was very actively involved in the corporate and industry efforts to achieve Concorde’s safe return to service in November 2001. In that role be liaised closely with manufacturers, accident investigators, Governments and the Authorities as well as representing the company in a range of arenas. Additionally he developed and delivered the retraining of Concorde Flight Crew in preparation for Concorde flying duties foIIowing their temporary secondment to other types.
Mike partnered Claud Freeman, Engineering Manager Concorde, for significant Concorde presentations to customers, staff, insures, service partners and authorities including landmark events for the Top 50 Concorde Customers at Engineering Base at Heathrow and the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York.
He was at the controls of British Airways’ Supersonic Flagship when she returned to service on November 7th 2001 and for all of the stunning 'Air to Air' photographs and movies of Concorde that were used in supporting presentations.
His other Concorde ‘firsts’ are too numerous to list, highlights include:
- landing the aircraft on inaugural visits to Oakland, Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore and Miami
- commanding the aircraft in June 1996 on the 50th Anniversary Fly Past of London Heathrow Airport flying in formation with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows
- on July 17th 2001 commanding the first flight of a modified Concorde as part of the Return to Service programme, thereby becoming the first airline pilot to re-qualify onto Concorde following the pause in service
- following restoration of the Certificate of Airworthiness, flying the first passenger flight on September 11th 2001
- on November 7th 2001 commanding the first scheduled passenger flight as the world’s only supersonic airliner returned to daily service
- commanding Concorde as she flew in formation with the Red Arrows over Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee on June 4th 2002
- flying Concorde’s last commercial flight from New York to London on October 24th 2003.
Mike concluded his career with Concorde when he commanded the last ever flight; returning to her birthplace at Filton, Bristol on 26th November 2003.
Last ever Chief Concorde Pilot Captain Mike Bannister signed photo
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