Captain Mike Bannister is best known as the Chief Concorde Pilot for British Airways Concorde fleet. Mike's responsibities included Flight Operations, Flight Crew Training and Management, and Technical Performance. Mike's flying career started with BOAC (BA's predecessor) in 1969 working a a navigator and pilot on VC10 aircraft. In 1977 he became the youngest ever Concorde Pilot and became a Concorde Pilot Instructor in 1986. In 1995 he was appointed to the position of Chief Concorde Pilot – undoubtedly the peak of civil aviation Pilot roles.
Mike has achieved many Concorde records and piloted Concorde on many historic occasions. Mike landed Concorde on it's first ever visits to Baltimore , Dallas , Denver , Miami , Oakland , and Philadelphia.
- In 1996 he Piloted Concorde during the fly past to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of London 's Heathrow Airport famously flying in formation with the Red Arrows.
- In January 1997 he flew Concorde to New York on the planes 21 st anniversary of commercial flight.
- On January 21st, 1997 he commanded Concorde on Prime Minister Tony Blair's state Visit to Denver for the G7 Summit.
- In July 2001 he commanded the first flight of a modified Concorde as part of the Return to Service programme, becoming the first airline pilot to re-qualify onto Concorde following the break in service.
- On September 11th 2001 he flew the first passenger flight following restoration of the Certificate of Airworthiness.
- On November 7th 2001 he commanded the first scheduled passenger flight as the airliner returned to daily service.
- On June 4 th 2002 he was privileged to fly Concorde in formation with the Red Arrows over Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
- On October 24th 2003 he flew Concorde's last commercial flight from New York to London landing the last of the 3 aircraft to touch down in succession.
- On 26th November 2003 Mike concluded his Concorde flying career when he was in the cockpit for the last ever flight returning to Concorde's birthplace at Filton Bristol. The picture he is signing on the left is from this historic flight taken just minutes before landing for the last time ever.
Today – Mike's passion for all things Concorde is unabated and he is much in demand as a speaker.
“I feel so privileged to have flown Concorde. It is the ultimate in commercial aviation. Most pilots would love to have a go. It is such a responsive airplane - it travels at twice the speed of sound, can get across the Atlantic in 3hrs 20 minutes and goes twice as high as other aircraft. It is technically demanding - but very personally rewarding too. You cannot become blasé about flying Concorde. You have to fly it with precision. You are on the edge of space - traveling faster than a rifle bullet.”