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AirwayBill
Posts: 183
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:59 pm

USTraveler wrote:
Just watch "John Hutchinson on Air France Flight 4590" on YouTube.

It was a long chain of events.

1. AF forgot to put a spacer on the left mains. It was later discovered sitting on a shelf during the investigation.

2. The captain over-filled the fuel tanks past the limit. Not supposed to go over 83% full in number 5 tank. This left no air space. Also took more baggage making the plane overweight and out of balance (against dispatchers warnings)

3. Copilot and flight engineer never questioned any of the captain's decisions. Then take off with a tail wind which wasn't in the calculations.

4. Runway used was being resurfaced for first 200-400 meters and that part was was technically closed, and had a displaced threshold takeoff point. Was granted permission to use entire length because he knew he was overweight and had bad center of gravity. Between resurfacing area and normal area was a small "ledge" of maybe a few inches causing defective wheel(s) to come out of alignment. Another AF pilot reported that the tires were smoking during the rollout. There were skid-marks all down the runway severely affecting take-off performance and dragging plane to the left... Two former AF Concorde flight deck crewmen, Jean-Marie Chauve and Michel Suaud, believe the wheels were already out of alignment at start of takeoff roll due to abnormally slow acceleration.

5. Took off way later and off-center of where it should have, and this is where it struck the metal debris puncturing tire(s). Although metal debris shouldn't have been there, plane would have already been airborne before reaching metal strip.
The 4kg piece cut-out of tire hits number 5 fuel tank causing shockwave. Fuel actually ruptured out of the wing, was not punctured. Again, fuel tanks were filled above limits by captain's improper actions.

6. Missed french president's plane by 20-30 feet because takeoff was so off centerline and late already. Even hit a runway light before finally getting airborne.

7. It was so rear-heavy that fuel tank number 11 pump was running, which kept feeding the flame... Supposed to be off during takeoff.

8. Fuel shooting out of tank gets ignited by damaged wiring from undercarriage. Number 2 engine overheats due to passing flame causing fire warning in cockpit.

9. Flight engineer conducts fire-drill shutting off number 2 engine without captains knowledge, captain does not add contingency extra power to remaining engines like supposed to, probably would have been too late for any recovery anyways. But who knows what would happen if fuel wasn't continuously being pumped into that tank.

But, it was all that strip of metals fault to most people here, because that's what tv told them. That was just another factor in a long chain of events that were all preventable acts.

Former Concorde captains John Hutchinson or Mike Bannister on Youtube will tell you a lot about Concorde.

RIP


Most of the interview is a mix of actual facts, unprecise hearsay, excessive speculation and, I have to say, exceptionally good storytelling on Hutchinson's behalf.

No wonder he can captivate his audience and turn a collection of personal experience, interviews, thoughts and interpretations into a convincing, full grown "alternative facts" investigation, given his stature and experience (just read the "it's all a french cover-up", "concorde and continental were never at fault", "the pilots are so incompetent" comments).

I am impressed by his theatrical performance, and by his career path. But not by his take on the crash, which will remain what it is, forever: an interesting but incomplete retired pilot's perspective.
 
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armagnac2010
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:21 am

So tell me, precisely what Concorde piloting experience do you have? When you have over 15 years' experience as a Concorde pilot, you'll be in a position to challenge John Hutchinson's viewpoint.

Using repugnant and baseless insults adds nothing to your argument, it merely tars you as an extremely rude individual.


I am certainly not a Concorde pilot, but was involved for 12 years on the engineering side, with full exposure and participation to the investigation and return to service activities. I worked with all parties involved, manufacturers and operators, on both sides of the Channel. And my deep exposure to the real facts, as documented by both ICAO Annex 13 and judiciary investigations, allows me to rebuke baseless conspiracy theories.

As pointed out by some wise posters, this event, as most accidents, results from a chain of events. The famous swiss cheese model. Remove one hole and the accident does not happen. In that case, there are potential holes in many areas, including at Air France, Continental Airlines, Aérospatiale and British Aerospace, and possibly on the regulator sides. It is irrational to focus only on one; it just satisfies someone obsessions.

What is really disgusting is a former pilot allowing himself to spread judgement based on fake data about colleagues who died in the accident and are no longer there to defend themselves. And let me indulge to think he would never allow himself to do that with British colleagues – hence the xenophobic qualificative he fully deserves.
 
FGITD
Posts: 1763
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:40 am

armagnac2010 wrote:

I am certainly not a Concorde pilot, but was involved for 12 years on the engineering side, with full exposure and participation to the investigation and return to service activities. I worked with all parties involved, manufacturers and operators, on both sides of the Channel. And my deep exposure to the real facts, as documented by both ICAO Annex 13 and judiciary investigations, allows me to rebuke baseless conspiracy theories.

As pointed out by some wise posters, this event, as most accidents, results from a chain of events. The famous swiss cheese model. Remove one hole and the accident does not happen. In that case, there are potential holes in many areas, including at Air France, Continental Airlines, Aérospatiale and British Aerospace, and possibly on the regulator sides. It is irrational to focus only on one; it just satisfies someone obsessions.

What is really disgusting is a former pilot allowing himself to spread judgement based on fake data about colleagues who died in the accident and are no longer there to defend themselves. And let me indulge to think he would never allow himself to do that with British colleagues – hence the xenophobic qualificative he fully deserves.


I also do not like the “Are you a Concorde Pilot?” argument, because while I may not be, Captain Christian Marty was. He had the situation before him, and unfortunately it ended tragically.

It's neither bold, nor daring to declare after a thorough investigation that you could do better. Yes, in a sim, with extensive knowledge of what and when everything will happen and the knowledge that no matter how it goes, you go home at the end.

Unrelated, but I've always found something slightly off putting about BA's treatment of Concorde and especially some of their pilots. No doubt there are many great ones with fascinating insight, but with some there is too much arrogance. A major sky God complex. And some (as the one in question) also seen to even think themselves superior to their AF counterparts, flying the same aircraft.

Of Course that's an issue with many pilots in general. Have 100 pilots watch me drop a refrigerator from a helicopter and at least 50 of them will claim that they could've landed it.
 
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armagnac2010
Posts: 160
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:43 am

The real question is,

if the “insides of certain tanks” were modified and “lined with kevlar-rubber panels” as in the return to flight Concordes; would Concorde have made it to Le Bourget?


The other main difference for return to service Concordes were new tires. Original tires were old technology bias tires. Michelin qualified new 'NZG' radial tires with a kevlar sheet embedded in the thread. Their resistance to puncture is tremendous and this technology is now used on many aircraft (and elsewhere).

So it might well be the metal strip will not have caused the event.

Assuming it would have, the kevlar liners (amazing how kevlar kept Concorde flying, BTW) would have reduced the leak rate, minimising the probability of engine ingestion and fuel ignition.

So hopefully, there would have been no need for an emergency landing with a post RTS Concorde.

As far as landing at Le Bourget immediately after taking off from CDG on a westerly heading... No.
 
Jomar777
Posts: 628
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:45 am

Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:07 am

reltney wrote:
RJMAZ wrote:
Image

I actually think all of the fire was outside of the aircraft like a dump and burn. The pilots should have kept all engines going and continued to climb. The roll, stall and crash was caused by both engines on one side being throttled back. That is pilot error.

I highly doubt the fire would have consumed the aircraft in the air. The fire would not have been inside the fuselage or fuel tank as there is no oxygen. The ignition point is where the fuel leaks out of the underside. The flames and heat are then after this point. All of the electronics and control surfaces would have been fine for many minutes.

The reports of engine surging is the only unusual factor. They had a clear air intake. It is unkown if the FOD hit the fuel supply or electronics to the engines.

If it did manage to land the fire would have taken over the aircraft as soon as it slowed down.



This is the only sane comment . Good on you!

The engineer shut down a good engine and doomed the flight. READ THE ACCIDENT REPORT. Fire was behind the plane and Le Bourget was in front of them a few miles. Once they landed it would have been a nightmare but we will never know.

Every time I takeoff out of CDG on that runway, I look out the cockpit and see the hotel and path. I believe they could have got it on the ground but who knows in what condition.

Cheers


Sorry but it is not true. Look at all the photos. The fire engulfed that area of the aircraft before it even left the ground. The piece of debris from the previous Continental Aircraft that took-off caused a perforation of the fuel engine and the resulting fire engulfed that area of the wing.

You just have to compare the photo on the thread you praise with the ones form the Concorde crash to see that the fire on the latter had reached the structure meaning that the only IF would be whether they would crash where they did or at the runway at Le Bourget - there was no hope. Abort the flight after V1 would have made the aircraft to crash at CDG.
 
Jomar777
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:18 am

N292UX wrote:
My take: Could the plane have possibly landed at Le Bourget? Yes, it could have had the pilots not throttled down two engines. From there, there's really only two likely scenarios:

1. Concorde successfully lands at Le Bourget, but overshoots the runway and is destroyed, with total loss of life on the plane, as well as more on the ground. The longest runway at Le Bourget is 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) and Concorde would've been landing at maximum weight with possible engine damage. Take into account that Concorde needs about 11,000 feet (3,600 meters) with a full load, so imagine it trying to land on a 9,800 foot runway with a full load and a damaged wing.

2. Concorde does land and doesn't overshoot the runway. The fire would quickly consume the plane and it is likely most passengers wouldn't make it out before it was too late. Some would probably survive in this scenario, but I imagine most wouldn't make it out. The plane would still be destroyed (see Air Canada 797 as a similar example)

So in my opinion, I think it is extremely likely the Concorde would've overshot the runway at Le Bourget had they been able to get the plane on the ground.


Agree. That's why the pilots tried to fly to Le Bourget in the first place - we note that they did not manage to.

As for Hutchinson? He used his experience to comment but also used a HUGE amount of hindsight. Experience in a way is relative. Let's all remember that, to date, the worst aircraft accident was caused by an extremely experienced pilot.

It is easy to say you should or should not have done this or that on a youtube video when you are NOT on the cockpit passing through it all. If at all, even if it was possible to salvage the aircraft, should Hutchinson be at the aircraft at that moment with those events unfolding at that speed, I would not be surprised to see he crashing the aircraft also.

I have already won Who Wants to be A Millionaire twice, avoid Titanic hitting an iceberg and avoided at least a dozen of aircraft accidents... all from the comfort of my sofa. It is somehow easier when you are not in the Thick of It, can watch/rewind several times and count with other people's opinions and views, having the time on your side.
 
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vhtje
Posts: 1337
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Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:01 am

armagnac2010 wrote:
So tell me, precisely what Concorde piloting experience do you have? When you have over 15 years' experience as a Concorde pilot, you'll be in a position to challenge John Hutchinson's viewpoint.

Using repugnant and baseless insults adds nothing to your argument, it merely tars you as an extremely rude individual.


I am certainly not a Concorde pilot, but was involved for 12 years on the engineering side, with full exposure and participation to the investigation and return to service activities. I worked with all parties involved, manufacturers and operators, on both sides of the Channel. And my deep exposure to the real facts, as documented by both ICAO Annex 13 and judiciary investigations, allows me to rebuke baseless conspiracy theories.

As pointed out by some wise posters, this event, as most accidents, results from a chain of events. The famous swiss cheese model. Remove one hole and the accident does not happen. In that case, there are potential holes in many areas, including at Air France, Continental Airlines, Aérospatiale and British Aerospace, and possibly on the regulator sides. It is irrational to focus only on one; it just satisfies someone obsessions.

What is really disgusting is a former pilot allowing himself to spread judgement based on fake data about colleagues who died in the accident and are no longer there to defend themselves. And let me indulge to think he would never allow himself to do that with British colleagues – hence the xenophobic qualificative he fully deserves.


What offends me the most is your repeated and unfounded accusation that John Hutchinson being xenophobic.

There is no xenophobia in John Hutchison; I have never met the man, but I have certainly met many of the same class and similar background; definitely not the "little Englander" type you are trying to paint him as.

I don't see anywhere where John Hutchison hasn't said their wasn't a chain of events. His argument is that the chain is longer than the BEA admitted in their report. He also levelled some criticisms at the actions the crew took, which I pointed out above.

Before you criticise John Hutchison, you need to consider his motivations for speaking out. You are going to say he is seeking his 15 minutes of fame. Let me assure you that is absolutely not the case. People from his class and background simply do not do that: it is ground into them at a very early age that self-grandiosity is never acceptable. He is speaking out because he wants to right what he sees as an injustice. He is trying to save his beloved Concorde's reputation.
 
diverted
Posts: 1304
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:17 pm

Re: Concorde 4590 : Could It Have Been Landed ?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:12 am

reltney wrote:
TUSAirliner wrote:
USTraveler wrote:
Just watch "John Hutchinson on Air France Flight 4590" on YouTube.

It was a long chain of events.

1. AF forgot to put a spacer on the left mains. It was later discovered sitting on a shelf during the investigation.

2. The captain over-filled the fuel tanks past the limit. Not supposed to go over 83% full in number 5 tank. This left no air space. Also took more baggage making the plane overweight and out of balance (against dispatchers warnings)

3. Copilot and flight engineer never questioned any of the captain's decisions. Then take off with a tail wind which wasn't in the calculations.

4. Runway used was being resurfaced for first 200-400 meters and that part was was technically closed, and had a displaced threshold takeoff point. Was granted permission to use entire length because he knew he was overweight and had bad center of gravity. Between resurfacing area and normal area was a small "ledge" of maybe a few inches causing defective wheel(s) to come out of alignment. Another AF pilot reported that the tires were smoking during the rollout. There were skid-marks all down the runway severely affecting take-off performance and dragging plane to the left... Two former AF Concorde flight deck crewmen, Jean-Marie Chauve and Michel Suaud, believe the wheels were already out of alignment at start of takeoff roll due to abnormally slow acceleration.

5. Took off way later and off-center of where it should have, and this is where it struck the metal debris puncturing tire(s). Although metal debris shouldn't have been there, plane would have already been airborne before reaching metal strip.
The 4kg piece cut-out of tire hits number 5 fuel tank causing shockwave. Fuel actually ruptured out of the wing, was not punctured. Again, fuel tanks were filled above limits by captain's improper actions.

6. Missed french president's plane by 20-30 feet because takeoff was so off centerline and late already. Even hit a runway light before finally getting airborne.

7. It was so rear-heavy that fuel tank number 11 pump was running, which kept feeding the flame... Supposed to be off during takeoff.

8. Fuel shooting out of tank gets ignited by damaged wiring from undercarriage. Number 2 engine overheats due to passing flame causing fire warning in cockpit.

9. Flight engineer conducts fire-drill shutting off number 2 engine without captains knowledge, captain does not add contingency extra power to remaining engines like supposed to, probably would have been too late for any recovery anyways. But who knows what would happen if fuel wasn't continuously being pumped into that tank.

But, it was all that strip of metals fault to most people here, because that's what tv told them. That was just another factor in a long chain of events that were all preventable acts.

Former Concorde captains John Hutchinson or Mike Bannister on Youtube will tell you a lot about Concorde.

RIP


Bear with me regarding editing quotes

Thank you and the others that offered factual information to bring credibility to the thread.

Questions: Considering the pull to the left, likely tire issues starting at takeoff roll, the slower than normal acceleration, seeing a ground conflict with another aircraft, why wasn’t this aborted much sooner than V1? Did these factors contribute to pilot error?

2) while the most experienced pilots were Concorde, in flying a machine that requires constant hand flying, is it Pilot error for ignoring the various issues known preflight yet still continuing? As mentioned, they could have burned off a bit more fuel even with a delayed taxi, even if they still had the tail wind.



Well, the #2 isn’t really true. The BA Concorde was bid by junior captains as the schedules were so bad, no one wanted them. Not the most senior pilots flew it in the end... and what is the most experienced ? Age, hours, many types of planes...hard to judge..... I get what you say, but not a true statement that the Concorde pilots were the most experienced .


Reading over it again, looks like the captain had 317 hours on type, out of over 13,000 hours, and previously flew 727/737/A300/A320/A340. Highly experienced, though it was a recent upgrade. He upgraded in August '99
 
sgbroimp
Posts: 252
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:35 pm

Re: Concorde 4590: Could It Have Landed?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:12 pm

I think Hutchinson was saying the whole thing was avoidable, should never have happened. Not sure he was saying that with all that the crew against them (that laundry list of mistakes) that once lifting off they could/should have saved it. Did he say or imply that?
 
vc10
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2001 4:13 am

Re: Concorde 4590: Could It Have Landed?

Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:18 pm

I thought i Might contribute on a few points

1] The missing spacier on the LH gear had been missing for the aircraft's precious 3 round trips to New York and yet no mention of the aircraft pulling to the left was entered in the defect log . If this missing spacer had such a detrimental affect on the take off I would assume that the pilot would apply some corrective action ,with the rudder, but there is no indication of this on the FDR readout,

2] Someone has said the fire was behind them [aircraft] , but the fire was under the LH wing inline with the gear. Now almost directly in line but behind the gear is the inboard elevon PFCU [ powered flying control unit ] where all 3 hydraulic come together so if one or more hyd system fail the PFCU can be powered by the
3rd system [ emergency system ]. Now that fire playing on this unit could have melted the hyd supply lines which would have resulted in in the total loss of hydraulics to the flying controls . Now Concorde flying controls were 100% hydraulically operated with no manually reversion/control . The natural tendency of Concorde with no flying control input was to go to an ever increasing high incidence , This would be corrected automatically by automatic protection system , but these again worked through the PFCU which i surmise were not working

3] Now some criticism could be leveled at the crew but when you consider the rapid succession of problems thrown at them in such a short time who could say other " there but for the grace of God " go I

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