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Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 12:34 am

I'll try this under a more fitting subject. Sorry for the repeat.

Like many of you on this forum, I have been watching the TV with much intent today. A good bit of the time (especially when watching NBC) I have been rather annoyed with the stupidity of claims made by overzealous journalists. I have been downright angered by radio talk show hosts making jokes about the incident. I watched WHDH-TV Boston introduce their Concorde story with a movie-ish voice making it out like the plot opening in some horror flick.

I was watching someone on CNN say something I felt was a leap when CNN did something absolutely brilliant. They found an ex-Concorde pilot in Vancouver, BC to speak up. I wish I had my VCR running, or at least a pen and paper to take notes, because what he said was absolutely brilliant and shut up a lot of people. Even the FedEx pilot who witnessed the crash was corrected some.

Unfortunately, I do not remember every point that Capt. Duffy said in his interview as he said a lot of things. However, I remember one clear point he was really trying to push: Concorde does not stall. We always try to pin conventional logic on this very non-conventional plane, and we don't necessarily know that the Concorde being a delta wing performs differently than what we're used to.

The FedEx pilot hinted at criticism that the late Concorde pilot kept raising the nose until the plane stalled and crashed. Instead the retired Concorde pilot, making sure to repeated point out that Concorde does not stall stated that things are handled differently, and instead of stalling, Concorde pilots have to watch to make sure the plane always stays above the "zero rate of climb speed" which is cousin to, but not the same as stall speed.

Another point he drove home was that no quad with 2 engines out will be able to climb. He compared Concorde with 747 and A340 in that respect saying all three jets in a 2 out situation on takeoff would be doomed. (He made no comment about 2- or 3-engined jets.)

He pushed the possible explanation that a bird strike could have caused an uncontained engine failure affecting the other engine in the pod as well as a possibility of fuel leak.

Did anyone else see this report around 10:30 pm EDT? Can you add to or correct anything that I've mentioned here? Again, an incredible interview. Hopefully CNN will be wise to at least play snipets of this again in the coming days.
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RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 2:19 am

Yes, I aslo saw the report and think it was very good. Just to add a few points:

Any 4-engined jet (A340, 747, Concorde, etc.) might be able to survive a double engine failure at take off (engines on the same side) only at less than maximum take-off weight. Something like this had happened with tire-blow accident in 1979 (Air France Concorde in Washington?) when pieces of the tire had caused both engines on one side to fail. The captain was able to get off the ground and land safely only because it was not at maximum weight.

Another interesting point that captain Duffy mentioned was the landing gear. On the picture of the aicraft it is visible that the gear was not retracted which would result in increased drag. Was the gear down because the late captain was turning around for emergency landing? Or was forgotten by the crew with all the alarms that had gone off in the cabin due to the engine failure? Some food for thought...

RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 2:43 am

Thanks for that report. I presume the retired Capt. was ex-BA?

We've had BA Conc. pilots on BBC World, they weren't too keen to speculate though, other than to say that they would continue to operate as normal.
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RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 2:54 am

If the engines were mounted seperately on each side would that prevent both from failing if one failed? With those kind of engines is it even possible to seperate them?
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens

RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 3:46 am

Here's a a ref. to an interview with an ex-BA Capt.,


Click on the "hear forum" message to see it on RealPlayer.


RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 4:01 am


I don't know if you are familiar with John Hutchinson, but 10 years ago he was very well known in the public, after appearing in a number of TV programmes about the Concorde, and he even when on to do some presenting for the BBC.

He was the only "expert," and I use the term lossely, that had geniune, rational and thought-out observations to make yesterday. Not only was he a very senior Concorde Captain, and very senior within BA, he actually survived a similar accident.

In 1968 he was second-officer on a BOAC 707 that suffered an uncontained engine failiure just after rotation from LHR. The engine fire spread to the wing, and the engine fell away (something a concorde engine won't do)

The aircraft only managed to stay in the air a couple of minutes, it left 27R and made an immediate curved approach back to 05, where shortly after stopping the port wing exploded. 122 of the passengers and crew survived, although tragically 4 passengers and 1 cabin crew member died in the fire.

If one man knows what he's talking about regarding Concorde and engine fires, its John Hutchinson...

From the BBC (link above);
The former British Airways Concorde pilot heralds the plane for two reasons.

"One, is that it's a very tough aeroplane, it's built in a very robust manner, and secondly it's got tremendous reserve capacity, by that I mean it's got a huge excess in capacity and power on the engines."

I suggest everybody hears what he has to say...


RE: Jetsetter

Thu Jul 27, 2000 4:54 am


No, I didn't see the series, but I have never technically (officially) lived in the UK, that's the problem; I would have loved to have seen it.

My granny said he was on a Newsnight programme last night, BBC World will screen it tomorrow. Looking forward to it. Was he being "Paxoed"?, or was it the other Jeremy?

Good night from Dubai


RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Thu Jul 27, 2000 5:10 am

Definately watch Newsnight, it was one of the better programmes about the accident yesterday.

If you have access to the "AIR DISASTER" series by MacArthur Jobb, the BOAC 707 accident is Volume One, Chapter 7. Its quite gripping reading, as are most of the chapters in these books.

Hope the weather is better in DXB than it is here!

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CNN's Coverage

Thu Jul 27, 2000 8:34 am

For the most part, I've been impressed with CNN's coverage of the incident. Very responsible, with an apparent attempt to avoid some of the sensationalism normally associated with air disasters. For the US media, it's getting better...which still isn't THAT good...

On CNN's mid-morning news program with Bill Hemmer and Daryn Kagan this morning, they interviewed via phone former BA fleet manager and Concorde Capt. Brian Walpole, a very authoritative figure on Concorde who was featured in fellow BA pilot Christopher Orlebar's excellent book titled "The Concorde Story." Walpole, to my knowledge, was involved in the Concorde program very early on and has since retired from BA. He was able to provide some very valuable information to CNN this morning that helped allay some of the rampant speculation on the accident.
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RE: Interview W/ Concorde Pilot On CNN

Fri Jul 28, 2000 12:34 am

Yes, I saw the interview. He was very interesting and informative and a joy to listen to. It was refreshing to see a real expert speak and not some psuedo expert or talking head.

He also talked about an Air France concorde close call out of IAD many years ago where all hydraulic pressure on one side was lost due to an explosion (I remember something that had to do with the landing gear) and the pilots landed the plane successfully.

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