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.
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.