Skip to comments.Families of victims of Concorde supersonic jet crash mark 10 years since disaster
Posted on 07/25/2010 9:17:07 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
GONESSE, France (AP) Families whose loved ones died in the fiery crash of a supersonic Concorde jet 10 years ago joined together near Paris on Sunday, laying flowers at a monument to the dead and wandering the breezy field where the plane went down.
A French court is awaiting a verdict on who was to blame for the accident, which killed 109 aboard the plane and four on the ground, and devastated the reputation of the jet. The Concorde, which ferried the rich and famous across the Atlantic for three decades and could fly twice as fast as the speed of sound, was taken out of service in 2003.
Some 100 family members, witnesses of the crash and Air France officials attended ceremonies Sunday marking 10 years since the plane crashed after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport, plowing into a hotel in the Paris suburb of Gonesse.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailypress.com ...
As you take your seat, they bring you a drink, snacks and a hot wet washcloth to wipe off. But they don't censor the news.
Ok, tell what is the difference in people dying in a Concorde and dying in any other passenger Jet? They had one accident in the years that the Concorde flew but they act as if it was the deadliest plane flying.
I think they make a big deal of it because the Concorde was a prestigious symbol, like our Space Shuttles.
That still put the accident-per-model rate way over that of any commercial jet.
This particular Concorde was full of German tourists. There was a crude joke going around that the French killed more Germans in this one crash than they did in all of World War II.
I have to call BS on that one. One crash out of the many flights they made with the concorde would not put them over others accident rates.
Any 767, etc. is an order of magnitude better.
Interesting little factoid. I had the opportunity to meet the Chief Pilot of the BA Concorde Program and he said that there are more Space Shuttle Pilots than Concorde Pilots
The french accident investigation bureau (BEA) want to blame Contential Airlines because one of its DC-10s took off right before the Concorde and they are claiming that a part of the reverse thruster dropped off and that piece laying on the runway punctured one of the concorde tyres.
Their description was:
This metal fragment punctured the Concorde's tyres, which then disintegrated. A piece of rubber hit the fuel tank and broke an electrical cable. The impact caused a shock-wave that fractured the fuel tank some distance from the point of impact. This caused a major fuel leak from the tank, which then ignited.
There was a lot of political motivations involved vs. the history of Concorde tyre issues:
In November, 1981, the American NTSB sent a letter of concern, which included safety recommendations for the Concorde, to the French BEA. That communiqué was the result of the NTSB's investigations of four Air France Concorde incidents, during a 20 month period, from July 1979, through February, 1981. The NTSB described those incidents as potentially catastrophic, because they were caused by blown tyres during take-off. The NTSB also expressed concern about the lack of adequate remedies, on the part of the French, as well as improper crew responses to those incidents.
June 13, 1979: The number 5 and 6 tyres blew out during a take-off from Washington, DC Dulles Airport. Shrapnel thrown from the tyres and rims damaged number 2 engine, punctured three fuel tanks, severed several hydraulic lines and electrical wires, in addition to tearing a large hole on the top of the wing, over the wheel well area.
July 21, 1979: Another blown tyre incident, during take-off from Dulles Airport. After that second incident the French director general of civil aviation issued an air worthiness directive and Air France issued a Technical Information Update, each calling for revised procedures. These included required inspection of each wheel/tyre for condition, pressure and temperature prior to each take-off. In addition, crews were advised that landing gear should not be raised when a wheel/tyre problem is suspected.
October, 1979: Tyres number 7 and 8 failed during a take-off from New York's JFK Airport. In spite of the well-publicized danger from the previous incidents, the crew ignored the new safety recommendations and raised the landing gear and continued on to Paris. There was no subsequent investigation by the French BEA or the NTSB, of that incident.
February, 1981: While en-route from Mexico City to Paris, Air France (F-BTSD) blew more tyres during another take-off at Dulles Airport. Once again, the crew disregarded the new procedures by raising the landing gear. The blown tyres caused engine damage, which forced the flight to land at New York JFK Airport. The NTSB's investigation found that there had been no preparation of the passengers for a possible emergency landing and evacuation. The CVR was also found to have been inoperative for several flights, including one which followed a layover in Paris.
To save on weight, the Concorde was designed to take off without the assistance of flaps or slats. That required a significantly higher air and tyre speed, during the take-off roll, which imposed a much greater centrifugal force load on the tyres. That higher speed increased the risk of tyre explosion during take-off. When the tyres did explode, much greater kinetic energy was carried by the resulting shrapnel (the kinetic energy of an object being directly proportional to the square of its speed), increasing the risk of serious damage to the aircraft. A thicker skin on the bottom side of the wings could have prevented serious damage from an exploding tyre, but that would have added too much weight, cancelling out most of the advantage of not having flaps or slats.
There are also these theories:
British investigators and former French Concorde pilots looked at several other possibilities that the report ignored, including an unbalanced weight distribution in the fuel tanks and loose landing gear. They came to the conclusion that the Concorde veered off course on the runway, which reduced take-off speed below the crucial minimum. The aircraft had passed close to a Boeing 747 carrying French President Jacques Chirac who was returning from the 26th G8 summit meeting in Okinawa, Japan, which was much further down the runway than the Concorde's usual take-off point; only then did it strike the metal strip from the DC-10.
The Concorde was overweight for the given conditions, with an excessively aft centre of gravity and taking off downwind. When it stood at the end of the runway, ready to roll, it was over its approved maximum take-off weight for the given conditions.
The Concorde was missing the crucial spacer from the left main landing-gear beam that would have made for a snug-fitting pivot. This compromised the alignment of the landing gear and the wobbling beam and gears allowing three degrees of movement possible in any direction. The uneven load on the left legs three remaining tyres skewed the landing gear, with the scuff marks of four tyres on the runway showing that the plane was veering to the left.
Finally, Brian Trubshaw and John Cochrane, the Concorde's two test pilots when the aircraft was being developed in the early 1970s, set the aft operating limit at 54 per cent - beyond that, they found, it risked becoming uncontrollable, likely to rear up backwards and crash, exactly as Flight 4590 did in its final moments over Gonesse. However, Flight 4590's centre of gravity went beyond 54 per cent, with the BEA stating a figure of 54.2 per cent, while a senior industry source said that the true figure may have been worse: with the extra fuel and bags, it may have been up to 54.6 per cent.
Interesting stuff. Thanks for that post!
I never flew on one,but once a Concorde landed in Nashville.
There were thousands of people that came out to look at it
Pretty amazing plane with that drop-down nose.It was larger than I thought it would be too
I remember that crash,terrible accident.For a lot of people something they`ll never forget
That's a bit like saying all apples are better than this orange. There was never a direct equivalent of the Concorde with which sensible qualitative comparisons could be made.
The corrupt French are still trying to put American Continental employees in prison over this. In fact, immediately after the crash French police had already arrested Air France Concorde mechanics before any investigation had begun.
In the Airbus crash of 1988 they doctored the flight data recorder and sent their own captain to prison.
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