The narrator of the programme stated that Chirac and his wife were aboard the 744 that had just vacated the r/w 26L which the AF
concorde was rolling on. Apparently they were returning from a G7
summit in Tokyo. Of course, that's what the programme says, I cannot be sure myself.
Anyway, here is what the programme had to say:
- shortly prior to departure, about 1.2 tonnes worth of extra fuel + about 0.6 tonnes of extra luggage were loaded into the aircraft; this was not accounted for in the crew calculations.
- there was a tailwind that day, and the Captain requested the longest runway (26L); a part of the surface of that runway was in bad condition that day; it was subsequently improved after that day
- the engineer shut down engine #2 without consulting the Captain, and at a speed that was 20kts below the minimum safe engine shutdown speed
- the crew rotated the aircraft at 183-4 knots; for the circumstances, the VR
should have been 198 knots.
- during the climb, it is likely that the centre of gravity shifted, and this contributed to the loss of control
- 3 firemen observed that the aicraft was on fire at a point on the runway that came before the location of the piece of metal from the Continental DC-10. However, the BEA claims these observations are 'irrelevant'
- a piece of the undercarriage equipment called a 'spacer' (a mechanism that keeps the wheels in alignment) was missing. After the crash, the missing 'spacer' was found in a hanger at CDG
So basically, the programme accuses the BEA, the French Govt & Air France of covering up the real cause of this accident.