Only goes to show that once the legal profession gets involved in something technical and complex like aviation, the court outcome is a complete lottery depending on who is adjudicating. The verdicts go backwards and forwards like a yo-yo. The only constant is the legal profession collecting huge fees on all sides at each and every stage. I'm sure that, compared to their lawyers' bill, the EUR 1m damages Continental had to pay were chicken feed.
Not really .. in France It's not has been a lottery for at least more than 30 years ... It's always the same people or organizations who are not guilty .. and I'll let you guess who .. In french ... of course .....
From a french forum (free translation)
Unlike some who claim that Concorde lack them, there is no lack to those who have been victims because the future operation of the aircraft had not been stopped. This aircraft was a prototype and nothing else. His business career has been marked by dozens of major incidents but have never been the subject of investigations and regulatory reports yet. The bursting of tires are counted by tens and authorities did everything to leave sercice what we now know to have been a flying coffin. On behalf of the prestige of France, unacceptable risk to kill a hundred passengers was taken and of course, things could not end otherwise. To confirm the dangers of matches, just know that under Giscard, a council of ministers had discussed the urgency to ground the plane (after the Washington accident .. a insight for what happen later) is also conducive to the accident. There is still incompetent technicians Air France, known as unable to provide maintenance to the task. This is clearly demonstrated in the report of Canal+ and it is distressing. How can we forget a spacer on the main gear and be told by counsel for the company that this spacer was useless and that there was therefore no fault while British Concorde experts say the opposite ? Say that even the scheming of ADP on the work immediately after the accident to repair the track used fateful day? This ruling has cleared Continental if you read between the lines but still basically in the same line opacity that accompanied the device throughout his career, the various responsibilities in the crash are known culprits too, but nothing is said, nothing will be done against them ... The Concorde was anything but an airliner capable of transporting passengers safely! Ad usque fidelis !
It is quite plainly a wrong statement. If operated correctly, Concorde was probably the safest airliner in the skies. But it was demanding, and it did demand correct techniques, on the flight deck and in the maintenance hangar. BA gave it that.
The court has rightly pointed the finger of blame for Paris back where it belongs.
Last edited by Shaggy Sheep Driver; 30th Nov 2012 at 14:53.
Thanks for the Canal + link. Very interesting and refreshingly brave that they were allowed to produce the documentary. Along similar but dissimilar lines National Geographic are producing a documentary on Papa India - the Staines disaster which claimed a similar number of victims. The researcher for Cineflix has been in contact with me but after I sent her my manuscript which contains what I believe really happened it has gone quiet. Similar in that their were a number of witnesses which should have been called, misinformation, amnesia and a state airline. Dissimilar as the AAIB investigator distanced himself from the inquiry findings and Cats eyes Cunningham - the test pilot - stated that BEA operated the aircraft incorrectly - and he never knew everything.
In general BEA has never issued any other recommendations for the operation of the Concorde as those listed after the accident August 9, 1981 despite consecutive events to bursting of tires and their consequences The administrative inquiry into the crash of a June 14, 1979 in Washington was conducted in a context of political pressure by the investigator concerned and confirmation by supervisor
The Court considers it unacceptable that this aircraft could maintain its airworthiness certificat without the measures required were not taken at both the tire changes as the protection of its most vulnerable tanks
The Court considers that factors related to the duality of the administrative authorities and builders, poor organization on a French certification and airworthiness followed, power relationships both internally in both French and between countries at political financial and economic concerns attended a followed airworthiness was not the height of the exceptional technology that allowed the project Concorde
Extraits de l'arret de la cour de justice
En général Le BEA n'a jamais emis aucune autre recommandations durant l'exploitation du Concorde que celles reprises après l'accident du 9 Aout 1981 en dépit des évènements consécutifs aux éclatements de pneumatiques et leurs conséquences L'enquête administrative relative a l'accident du 14 Juin 1979 a Washington avait été menée dans un contexte de pression politique selon l'enquêteur concerné et confirmation par son chef hiérarchique
La cour considère inacceptable que cet aeronef ait pu conserver son certificat de navigabilité sans que les mesures qui s'imposaient ne fussent prises tant au niveau du changement des pneumatiques que de la protection de ses réservoirs les plus exposés
La cour considère que des facteurs liés a la dualité des autorités administratives et des constructeurs , la mauvaise qualité de l'organisation francaise relative a la certification et au suivit de navigabilité, les rapports de force tant en interne au niveau francais qu'entre les deux pays au niveau politique, ainsi que les préoccupations économiques et finacières réccurentes ont participé a un suivit de navigabilité qui n'a pas été a la hauteur de l'exceptionnelle technologie qui a permis la réalisation du projet Concorde
I was passing through Reno some years ago when a friend told me Concorde would be taking off. I went to the ObDeck and fell in love. What a thing of beauty. The lines, the attitude, the NOISE.....
She was and always will be an exquisite symbol of how beauty and performance are sometimes living in the same soul.
She was betrayed, horribly, and obscenely, by political idiots and posturing simpletons. Maintenance and operations got lax, and applied to a stunning and challenging platform, the results were inevitable.
I'm with Donnlass, the cause of the high drag configuration was as a result of rotating early as the aircraft left the side of the runway due to the drag of the mis aligned gear.. This low speed could have been flown out of with the power available but when the FE shut down number 2, which had been affected by the fuel tank surge, before obtaining any confirmation from another crew member, the fate was sealed. As always an accident only results when lots of small factors line up and allow an undesired outcome to prevail.
The other effect of the FE shutting down no.2 when it was still producing power was to disable the 'green' hysdraulic system (driven from engines 1 & 2; no.1 had already failed). With no 'green' system, the u/c could not be retracted adding greatly to the drag.
The shutting down of no.2 was probably the single worst thing the crew did (would you shut down a power-producing engine with one already out, past V1, and the aeroplane nor yet airbourn but committed?).
That's if you don't count the downwind t/o, overweight, and overfull fuel tanks (so no air gap to be compressed if the tank gets clouted by, say, a bit of burst tyre). That's why the tank ruptured (from inside, by a hydraulic overpressure).
SSD : I always wondered why he did this. Surely in the Sim emergency situations training one learns particular scenarii and engine fire must have been one of them . So why , in the real emergency situation, the brain would do something different , and potentially fatal, as you explained here? Was the Concorde training or drills different that any other 3-crew Type in this situation ? I doubt it , but do not know. Has this happenend before on other types ? ( old FEs here may know ) I'd love to understand .
The 2 cases that I can recall where the FEs did similar actions , were the China 747SP over Pacific, and the Aeromexico DC10 over France , but both were following high vibrations, not fire.
I used to live in South London, directly under the flightpath. Every now and then a Concorde would come over. The noise could be heard even if you were in your house with the TV on - it would only be at a few thousand feet by then.
In winter it was even better, with the powerful light stabbing into the darkness.
As far as I know, no-one ever complained about the noise; we all just looked up and stared in wonder at this beautiful thing in the air.
I actually built some of the components used, so I suppose I had a sort of proprietorial connection, along with thousands of other people, and it still saddens me to this day that she is no longer around.
I once worked as a butler for a family who lived in the New Forest near Southampton.
One rainy day, the Concorde flew nearby and I experienced a mild sonic boom. I happened to be standing in the kitchen at the time, preparing tea. The shock wave traveled through the thatch roof of the cottage and struck a lone rose I had placed in a vase a few day's prior. All the flower petals gently fluttered to the ground.
I used to live near Epsom and for years when home on leave I would be out in the garden watching for Concorde flying overhead around 1700H. Beautiful to watch.
I was driving around the perimeter road one night and thought something had fallen of the car, unknown vibration etc, could not figure out what it was until I saw Concorde rotating all lit up. A stunning, stunning view.
It is shocking that BA did everything right and yet she was grounded without much, seemingly, in the way of protest. Really was the service losing money etc or did other factors (??) come into play?
Not an expert on that subject. All I know is that, as stated above, on this side of the Channel we all did our bit as best as we were able, with PRIDE in the fact that it was Concorde we were working on. Go to any engineering company in the land that worked on her, and you'll get the same answer.
So it didn't happen at that level.
Once BAe withdrew as the manufacturer, that meant Concorde was automatically grounded forever. And the grandstanding from the bearded one, saying that his firm would take over was nauseating, since he knew full well that without a manufacturer future flights were impossible.
Could she have been kept flying? Yes, if she still had a manufacturer. Given the way tech marches forward these days there could even have been a Concorde II developed entirely inside computers, and then eventually realized. But the manufacturer wanted out - even destroying jigs to make sure there couldn't be a reprieve - and there's only ever one reason why a company with shareholders wants to stop doing something; MONEY.
Perhaps someone else can tell you that side of it, I certainly can't.
I'm sure the answer will be to be with recession, not enough people wanting to pay premium to fly like that, etc. To me that's b******s. Every day there are more millionaires in the world than there were the day before, and more money in the world than there was the day before.
But I think that the only way this could be done again is if a seriously rich individual (and there's plenty of people with more money that a small country these days) said 'I love aviation, I love technology, there will be lots of spin-offs to make money from along the way - think NASA -, and then said 'F**k it, lets do this'. It would take the drive and determination of someone like Bill Gates.
Believe me, the engineering companies up and down the land would jump straight to orbit with delight. Not so much for the money, but the idea that they can once again be involved in working out how to make something as special and beautiful as Concorde.
What a thrill it would be to be able to look into the sky when one flies overhead and tell all around you 'we did that'.
Beardy wanted two things; for the public to believe he was twarted by BA from keeping Concorde flying, and for the fleet to go into retirement with his airline logo on the side rather than BA's. He succeeded in the first, but thankfully failed in the second.
But what a marketing guy! To this day on our Concorde tours almost everyone who has no industry knowledge truly think he could have saved it 'if they'd have let him'.
What a star he is! He didn't have to spend a cent, yet he's gone down in history among the great unwashed as the man who could have kept Concorde flying if it wasn't for nasty old BA thwarting him!