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Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:24 am

French confirm Concorde crash theory

The theory that a piece of debris on the runway caused the crash of the Air France Concorde in July 2000 has been confirmed by French investigators.
The conclusion is part of a 400-page report by France's Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) into the incident, which left 113 people dead.

Investigators believe this piece of metal triggered the accident

In a statement, the BEA said a stray part lost by a plane that had taken off five minutes earlier punctured one of the Concorde's tyres and triggered the chain of events that caused it to burst into flames and crash.

The investigators said that even if the pilots had managed to abort the take-off, the aircraft would have gone off the runway and burst into flames.

The full report has yet to be released, but French newspaper Liberation said that in it the BEA criticised Air France for its maintenance system - although this had not contributed to the accident.

Air France has denied the media report, saying there was nothing new in the final version of the BEA's report, but that the authorities had made a series of recommendations which had already been implemented.

Safety modifications

According to what is expected to be the final investigation into the tragedy, one of the plane's tyres burst after running over a piece of debris on the runway.

The explosion sent rubber pieces hurtling towards fuel tanks, prompting a fuel leak and the fire that led the plane to crash into a hotel just minutes after taking off from Charles de Gaulle airport.

Investigators have made 13 safety recommendations, many of which have been carried out.

These are reported to include the lining of fuel tanks with bullet-proof Kevlar, a reinforced undercarriage and better black boxes.

After the crash, Concorde - which is only flown by Air France and British Airways - was grounded for 15 months.

It resumed commercial flights again on 6 November.

During that period engineers worked on redesigning elements of the plane and making safety modifications, including new tyres.

Engineers say the flaws that led to the crash have been fixed.
Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:27 am

Sounds much like the thorough and accurate investigation into the early A320 airshow crash.

Has the improperly-reassembled main gear (spacers, alignment, etc.) been dismissed?
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 2:54 am

The latest Airways magazine has an excellent article on Concorde.
Focussed on BA, it quotes chief pilot Mike Bannister on how the 4 major tyre makes had never seen anything like the destruction that happened to F-BTSC in 40 years.
Plus the very odd chain of events leading to that internal rupture in 5 tank.
There are differing views to how much the missing spacer in the L/H gear contributed to the accident. But the BEA are not budging on that point.
Of course they will naturally focus on the chain of events starting with the scalping (producing a piece of tyre carcass 5 ft long), after hitting that titainium piece, which was standing up like a spike, (why was that piece of metal made with such a strong material?) and the source of ignition.
The UK CAA thinks the modifications make the chances of a repeat incident happening more than a billion to one against.
It will be interesting to see if the action of shutting down no.2 engine on rotation is criticised, and the uncertainty of the weight of the aircraft on departure. Previously these have been dismissed as not significant, and there is no reason to think that has changed.
With fuel pouring out at 100 Litres per second, which raised the flashpoint, the BEA's conclusion that the aircraft was doomed anyway does not sound unreasonable.
Not sure what is meant by new black boxes, the electrics to the cooling fans in the wheels are now isolated before take off. The flat tyre detection system also has to be serviceable on departure.
It was a through investigation, in November/December 2000 a team of BA Concorde Engineering staff helped with the cataloging of pieces from the wreck. It was one of these who found the missing spacer.
(AF staff were not allowed near the wreck for legal reasons at that time).

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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:51 am

Seems like they are trying to pin it on Continental Airlines and their "faulty" maintenance practices. What tosh.
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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 4:02 am

Actually the BEA are calling for an audit of AF Concorde maint, AND CO's practice of contracting out so much maint , (that rogue part seems to have been fitted by Bedek in Israel).
They may also call for video surveillance of runways, improved fire detection on all airliners, as well as cameras to see areas invisible from the flightdeck, (not practical on Concorde!).
Airbus are to fit the new NZG tyres to A340-500/600 and A380 aircraft, which they were originally designed for.
The UK CAA may press for similar spec. tyres for 'heavies', they've been concerned for many years about tyre destruction on large airliners, ironically after a near disarster on a PA DC-10 at LHR in October 1980.
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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 5:38 am

The part in question that underwent replacement during heavy maintenance in Israel was discovered missing on 7/9/00 and was refitted by a Continental mechanic. As for contracting out maintenance, find me one major airline that doesn't do this extensively.

Apparently blameless and pure as driven snow are manufacturer, crew, and airline. Where is the mention of faulty Concorde design, SOP that allowed hugely overweight takeoff in a tailwind, and shutting down of functioning engine by crew?

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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 7:21 am

Hoffa: While I also have to wonder about the factors you talk of, I don't see how a report that recommends major modifications clears the manufacturers and a report that calls for major changes in AF maintainence clears AF. I think the French have been rather limp wristed in dealing with the politics of it all, but their actions speak louder than words.

A question for anyone, I was under the impression on charters (especially those meeting cruises), it was not uncommon for the bulk of the pax luggage to be sent on ahead by subsonic aircraft, because on a full charter with Concorde on long runs this added weight was likely to push the Weights over their limits. Why didn't this happen here? Combine that with faulty weakened (as I understand it) landing gear, tail winds etc am I wrong in saying this paints a pretty dismal picture of AF's attitude to safety?
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RE: Final Concorde Crash Report Comes Out (AF4590)

Thu Jan 17, 2002 7:36 am

Sccutler wrote: "Sounds much like the thorough and accurate investigation into the early A320 airshow crash."

The DCC blamed the pilot for that one.

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Re: Early Shutdown Of Engine 2

Thu Jan 17, 2002 3:13 pm

The BEA justify that this was done correctly as the AF Concorde operation manual states that on the occasion of a red alarm light for a system becoming known, the relevant procedures are required to be taken imediately.

This was what the crew did and shut down the engine.

Another AF Concorde manual says that they should have waited till they were flying a little but higher (400ft) but they did follow company procedure. AF have been old to clarify the procedures.

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