Today, March 25, marks 19 years since a woman joined Concord’s crew.
The year is 1993. On March 25, Barbara Harmer made her first flight with Concord, becoming the first woman co-pilot of the supersonic passenger plane Concord on the route London – New York.
Born in England, Barbara is one of Concord’s 17 co-pilots in the British Airways fleet in all her years at the airline. At the age of 15, she dropped out of school to work as a hairdresser. Decades later, she received her rating for Concord and is about to become the first woman to fly the legendary plane.
Barbara’s first aviation job was as a flight manager at London Gatwick Airport when she was just 20 years old. At the time, she preferred to study law by passing her British law and geography exams.
In the meantime, however, he began piloting lessons and a few years later received an amateur pilot’s license, after which he continued to work as an instructor at Goodwood Flight School to gain flying lessons. Two years later, in 1982, she received a professional pilot’s license. He then applied for more than 100 job vacancies as a pilot before getting a job at Genair, a small regional airline based at Humberside Airport.
Two years later, she joined the British Caledonian team – one of the airlines that will form the current British Airways – where she flew for 3 years on the jet BAC 1-11 produced by British Aerospace. Then he boarded the largest aircraft in the British Caledonian fleet at the time – the three-engine DC-10. In 1988, the two airlines merged and the new British Airways turned out to have just over 3,500 pilots, of whom only 60 were women, and neither had ever boarded a Concorde.
For Barbara Harmer, this is the moment when the idea of flying to Concord does not leave her alone. British Airways is screening only a handful of pilots to go through more than six months of intensive training on the supersonic passenger plane. In 1992 came the expected news that she had been chosen to begin the difficult and expensive learning process.
So, on March 25, 1993, Barbara Harmer became the first female pilot of the Concorde, and only a year and a half later performed her first flight as Commander of the Concorde from London to New York.
Of the 3,500 pilots on British Airways, only 37 Commanders and Co-Pilots have the experience and experience to fly a Concorde. At the time, Barbara Harmer was one of only 40 female pilots on the airline, and the only one to fly to Concord, performing single passenger flights on the supersonic aircraft until 2003, when Concord was decommissioned.
After being removed from the Navy, she retrained as a Boeing 777 commander and flew until 2009, when she joined the carrier’s voluntary retirement program.
In addition to Barbara, two other women have flown the Concorde – Frenchwoman Jacqueline Oriol and Beatrice Viale, who fly the plane as test pilots. The second managed to perform several passenger flights on the route Paris – New York, before Air France retired.