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Why Didn't Concorde Abort The T/O?  
User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4700 times:

Hi. I've been following closely this great tragedy and I still have some questions, mainly due to the witness reports that EVEN BEFORE the plane took-off it was already with flames on the left side engines. Now:

1 - If it was like that and some of the witness were in other planes who come the pilot of one of those planes didn't aware the Concorde crew or even the tower regarding that?

2 - Also I really don't believe that the Concorde crewdidn't have any possibilities of seeing or feeling that something was wrong with the plane.

3 - Normally the tower checks the take-off's of the planes and I can't believe that they couldn't see something was really wrong with the Concorde.

4 - Finnally the photo that we've seen is dramatic because we can see that the Concorde was almost making a low level flight ( not with the angle that usually goes on the take-off ) but because the fire trail is so big like something as beeing burning for a while!

Just to add, on the AA DC-10 at Chicago the Tower saw the DC-10 lose the engine and imediatly talked with the AA crew asking if they wanted to make an emergency landing, so they were aware of the big problem they had, so this gives me the feeling that one of the parts missed anything, or the crew acknowledged that was a fire in Concorde and even though proceeded the take-off or someone in the tower saw the flames and forgot to tell the crew, perhaps because it was common to see some flames comming out of the Concorde.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCX flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6811 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4630 times:

If the Concorde had passed V1, then you are committed to taking off. If the pilot knew how serious the problem really was, he might have chosen to stop even after V1. However, we are trained to commit to a takeoff after V1. We do not know what the pilot knew. He might just have had a single engine fire warning go off. That in itself is serious, but not serious enough to abort a takeoff after V1.

It is very easy to say why didn't he do this or that. He probably did what he was trained to do, but unfortunately circumstances were a lot more serious than the 'average' engine failure.

As far as I know, ATC are trained not to talk to pilots in the extreme critical phases of flight..i.e. Just on landing, and on the takeoff roll unless REALLY neccessary. Can anyone back this up? An ATCO would know that if he can see flames out the back of an engine, then chaces are that the pilot also knows he/she has a fire.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4611 times:

I just want to add that Airbus is really big on pushing avoiding runway overruns. I have a copy of their training tape dealing with that subject. In their tape they push REALLY REALLY REALLY hard that if you have an emergency at or above V1 the pilot should continue the takeoff and then bring the aircraft back for a landing. If you are below V1 then you want to stop the aircraft and not attempt to takeoff.

I know that Concorde wasn't and Airbus product but considering how close Air France, Aerospeciale (SPL???) and Airbus are. I can't help but think that a good part of that philosophy was part of the crews training.

User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4596 times:

Thanks for your feedback. I just saw the news a few minutes ago and there're information that the Control Tower informed the Concorde Captain that the plane was on fire, and so why he proceeded to the take of?

User currently offlineRapo From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4579 times:

I think that was just answered above. If they are past V1 (which, it seems, they were) they are committed to t/o.

User currently offlinePilot21 From Ireland, joined Oct 1999, 1430 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 3 days ago) and read 4558 times:

Also as others have mentioned, we don't know what information the Pilot had from his instruments. The tower can say you have a fire, to which the pilot will reply I know, but the extent isn't always known in the cockpit. The AA DC-10 accident was mentioned before, the pilots of that plane actually thought that they had merely lost the engine, ie. the power from it, neither the tower or cockpit ever mentioned the fact that the engine had separated from the wing.
So to say, why didn't he stop is something we can't answer from here. the assumption is that he was past V1, but until the flight data is interupted, lets not question the motives of either ATC or the cockpit crew.

Aircraft I've flown: A300/A310/A320/A321/A330/A340/B727/B732/B733/B734/B735/B738/B741/B742/B744/DC10/MD80/IL62/Bae146/AR
User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4530 times:

Hi. Just to let you know that according to the latest news infact the pilot of the AF Concorde ack. the information given by the tower but he couldn't break on time so we was prepared to go around, he also gave information that both engines were down and he tried to make an emergency landing. Now my question is the following:

- When we look to the Concorde design can we say that this airplane with both engines from one side having problems their aerodynamic can't provide a turning back to the plane? Is it the Concorde design safe enough for these type of situations?


User currently offlineNa From Germany, joined Dec 1999, 11588 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4518 times:

An so-called aircraft-export said in one of the most important German TV-news yesterday that the Concorde is not able to takeoff with to engines out on one side. CNN said it is possible. Reality yesterday tragically belied CNN.
From the fighter-style aerodynamic side I would say that its at least a very delicate task to get the Concorde airborne with 2 engines out on one side, far more difficult than on any other commercial transport.

User currently offlineJumboClassic From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4494 times:

CNN actually reported that a Concorde can take off with two engines only (on one side) at light weights. Yesterday's flight was at MTOW (+ the fact that this was the heaviest Concorde in Air France fleet).

User currently offlineHkdragon2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4470 times:

I just read a report on CNN that after being told that the tower saw fire on the left side of the aircraft, the pilot replied that he had lost power to the *3 & 4* engines. These are the right side of the aircraft - could the Concorde really have lost power to more than just the left engines? What is there that a No. 2 engine failure could do, which would affect 3 and 4? I note that Air France had just repaired the thrust reverser on the No. 2 engine, which had been faulty on the previous flight, by taking a part from another Concorde as no spare was available. Would the procedure for replacing this part in any way affect No.s 3 & 4 engines?

I also noted another sad possibility in a CNN article which notes that many of the passengers were from the town of Moenchengladbach, in Germany. The CNN article lists amongst the fatalities Klaus and Margarete Frentzen. Formula One driver Heinz Harald Frentzen comes from Moenchengladbach, so although I don't know if Frentzen is a common name or how big Moenchengladbach is, there's every possibility that these are relatives of his. As an avid Formula One fan, this added a very upsetting "personal" feel to an already horrific accident.

I hope at least the authorities can answer why this happened, and prevent a recurrence.

User currently offlineSA-JET From South Africa, joined May 2000, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4427 times:

From News reports-the tower DID notice the flames, and informed the flight crew, the captain aknowledged this fact, and mentioned to the tower that he had reached V1 and was commiting to take-off , as his speed was far too high to abort. This is what I've heard from Sky News, I'm NOT a pilot, and do not pretend to even know the basics of flight operations, so I hope I'm not just adding to the speculation-like I said, all of the above is from Sky

User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (15 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4408 times:

Hi! Continuing with this sad affair I just saw now a video from a person and it's really sad to see the Concorde trying to fly like a mortal wounded bird, you look to those images and you feel that the way the plane already goes really disturbs me a lot. I have a feeling that in the cockpit they didn't really thought that the fire was so big and so dangerous otherwise I'm sure they would proceed diferent.

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