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Old 1st Dec 2012, 19:27   #41 (permalink)
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'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'. '

Absolutely. And I go straight to orbit in a different way whenever anyone mentions that within my hearing, and disabuse them of that notion double quick.

BA really looked after her, treating her like the royalty she was.

Concorde tours? You're involved? It's a weird thing, but I've climbed over several UK Concordes during their flying days, and my mother got one of those Bay of Biscay flights as a present once, but I have never actually stepped inside one. Ridiculous, isn't it?!

I must remedy that one day, because I can't show the family some of the things I did without going into the cockpit, and the other things are in the engines, and not visible.
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 20:05   #42 (permalink)
 
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I'm still convinced that, had Thatcher still been PM instead of that dreadful little Bliar, both the French president and CEO of Airbus would have been invited over for a stand-up handbagging session at No.10......

Concorde was killed by French arrogance, complacency and incompetence. As was AF447. Any airline whose senior captain turns a gallic shrug to RTOW requirements and announces "Top!" (that stupid French thing) when 5 tonnes outside scheduled performance limits is one with whom I will never fly.

Incidentally, it was well known that Sir Richard Branson once said that the only thing he envied about ba was Concorde. A sentiment I share.

Last edited by BEagle; 1st Dec 2012 at 20:07.
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 20:05   #43 (permalink)
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@Lyman

'A technological marvel, or a work of timeless and artistic sculpture?'

Well, obviously the tech side could be vastly improved these days in Concorde II.

But as for the shape, she isn't just a work of timeless and artistic sculpture; she is timeless because the laws of physics don't change. She is the perfect example of form following function, or maths in action, if you will. She is the shape that she is because the laws of physics dictate that shape. Whoever said mathmatics isn't beautiful?!

Concorde II would be more or less that shape (I hope), but with lots of twitchy little control surfaces responding in the blink of an eye to circumstances, and you would feel as if you were in a living, breathing animal!

As for AF, well, I wasn't going to mention that!

@Shaggy
'......and for the fleet to go into retirement with his airline logo on the side rather than BA's.'

Hadn't thought of that. Obviously he had. Glad it didn't happen. If she was going to be retired, at least it should be with the logo of the people who actually looked after her.

@Beagle
I have the honour to deal professionally on a weekly basis with a scientist who had the ear of Mrs T when she was still PM. The scientist made proposals, got a severe grilling from Mrs T (herself a scientist, remember), and when she decided this was good stuff she gave lots of money to the project. And then she was ousted, and all the money vanished.

Yup, politics instead of sense. Mrs T would indeed have given them a handbagging. I'm sure a lot of us would have held her coat.

Last edited by UPP; 1st Dec 2012 at 20:15. Reason: Adding a comment
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 20:23   #44 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Concorde was killed by French arrogance, complacency and incompetence.
Quite so, and the fact that it was never remotely profitable.
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 20:26   #45 (permalink)
 
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I once worked as a butler for a family who lived in the New Forest, Southampton.

One day, the Concorde flew nearby and I heard a gentle, but firm, sonic boom.
Guess what, That was Air France ignoring the rules. Odd that!!!
I was working in Alderney with Aurigny at the airport, and on hearing the sonic boom, and the guys there said that it was common as AF, when travelling down the channel, ignored the rules and went supersonic earlier than they should.

A good friend of mine reported that the boom was also heard in Bracknell..
He was told that the sound in effect bounced of cloud formation thus extending the noise area.
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Old 1st Dec 2012, 20:28   #46 (permalink)
 
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Quite so, and the fact that it was never remotely profitable.
That is not correct. BA made a great deal of money on Concorde ops.

It's true that the aeroplane did not pay for its development, and overall it was not a financial success, but the early costs having been written off it was a very profitable aeroplane. It would have made financial sense to keep in the air making profits.

Operating profits (at least in BA.... who knows about AF?) were a reason to keep it flying, not to ground it.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 00:40   #47 (permalink)
 
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Angry Concorde payloads.

After 9/11 the passenger figures were low, a lot of top league business people died that day, and they flew Concorde. This had a major effect on the continued operation of the aircraft by British Airways. Reference the metal strip, I was informed that the repair was done in Israel, by a contract company for Continental, so were they responsible for the 'bodge job'? it can only be one of many mistakes that brought Concorde to an early demise, one beautiful aeroplane.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 00:41   #48 (permalink)
 
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Beags, If Thatcher had been PM back in the 60's Concorde would never have happened.

Concorde was operated by companies that lived in the real world, it was killed by reality.

mini. Offspring of a Concorde design engineer, homestead adorned with pics, once was a BAC brat etc etc.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 06:16   #49 (permalink)
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Smile

Allow me the French side of the story : * (for the sake or arguments )
I understand the BA side of the story is quite different, but allow me nevertheless: .

Concorde was a project of another era :the goal (for France) was to demonstrate to the world that Europe was as good if not better than the USA in manufacturing airplanes. It was political decision to make it was not an economic one.
Forcing cooperation between States on top technologies to counter North American leadership was another one.
And basically you can say it worked on the long run. We have Airbus now, greatly thanks to the Concorde pioneers.

That is how France saw , and basically still sees the Concorde story. not to make money. never was,as De Gaulle said many times, it was, :" Le Prestige de la France "

Concorde was never a profitable aircraft and could never be , the small number made and the hugely expensive support men and machinery needed to manufacture spares for engines and mainframe was huge and coud only be done as the State was subsidinding and paying for this.
Air France did made money for some time with them, because they did not pay for anything . the aircrfat were fee , the maintenance subsidised, fuel was cheap .Load factors were in the low 50's but nobody cared . Opening lines like crazy Caracas, Dakar, Washington, Teheran,etc.. .
In the end years , fuel was expensive and only remained the US routes : first twice a day, then only a single New york daily. with 13 aircraft and 50 or so crews to do that .
Add a few charters ( 2-3 per month on average ) but that was it .
How can it be profitable ?

After the crash the load factors went down further, price of fuel went up , but also 9/11 hit badly . Technical problems too. Remember the Rudders ?
Many JFK-CDG AF flights were cancelled due tech and pax transfered by 747 instead,with not enough First class seats, poor marketing, poor PR, but that is typical AF .Reliability, delays and cancelations are a problem when you market speed.

If my memory is correct , it was when EADS said they will no longer guarantee the spares , that it sealed the fate of the aircraft . Whether this decision was political or purely EADS , I do not know. But everyone agreed at the time it was time to pull the plug. Including the general public in France . It felt like putting an old dog you loved to sleep. Did not like it, but necessary to avoid further suffereing.

That is in a nutshell how the French side sees the Concorde story.
But still with extreme pride to have build the aircraft ( of course you all know that for the average Frenchman Concorde , like Airbus are French aircraft

Last edited by ATC Watcher; 2nd Dec 2012 at 06:36.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 07:46   #50 (permalink)
 
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I understand that the final nail in the French Concorde coffin was the another near disaster after the Paris crash. An AF Concorde made an emergency landing in Halifax with very little fuel. This was after shutting down one engine and then not noticing for too long that they were still losing fuel from that engine:

AF Concorde Unscheduled Landing at Halifax

Following this, and another few incidents, AF could not take the risk of another Concorde disaster so they decided to ground it, and then went on to have a few disasters with other aircraft e.g AF477, Toronto B777.

I also understand that the French quoted BA £50M a year to maintain the design authority for the aircraft. This happened to exactly match the BA operating profit for Concorde, coincidence?
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 12:47   #51 (permalink)
 
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I have always thought Concorde was grounded after 9/11 due to pressure from the US government (remember the first proving flight following the refit turned back mid Atlantic on that day) because a high-jacked Concorde could out fly the US missile defense system.

A short diplomatic exchange along the lines of "ground Concorde and we'll give BA and AF some more routes or else..."

It did not make sense grounding an A/C that had a near perfect safety record and had just had millions spent making it even safer.

I have no evidence to back this up except the general paranoia that existed in the States following 9/11
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 13:02   #52 (permalink)
 
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I have always thought Concorde was grounded after 9/11 due to pressure from the US government (remember the first proving flight following the refit turned back mid Atlantic on that day) because a high-jacked Concorde could out fly the US missile defense system.

A short diplomatic exchange along the lines of "ground Concorde and we'll give BA and AF some more routes or else..."

It did not make sense grounding an A/C that had a near perfect safety record and had just had millions spent making it even safer.

I have no evidence to back this up except the general paranoia that existed in the States following 9/11

From my understanding the aircraft was terminated operationally due to the inherent costs in the re-engining program and other modifications.

The fact that the TC was cancelled was nothing to do with costs, safety, or operability, just an assurance that no one else would be able to use one ever again.

stopping using an aircraft doesn't canx the TC, once the TC is canx it can never be flown again (outside of experimental with administrator approval) without undergoing the type certification process and meeting the requirements as set forth by the administering authority at the the time.

Last edited by stuckgear; 2nd Dec 2012 at 13:07.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 13:57   #53 (permalink)
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Soemone just sent me this :
Something at least the French did right : they Powered the static SD :

BAC-Sud Aviation Concorde 213 F-BTSD> Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace - Site officiel
.

and for a bit of nostalgia , 1,5 min of demo of a unique feature :
Descente de nez Concorde F-BTSD Sierra Delta> Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace - Site officiel
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 15:40   #54 (permalink)
 
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Revenant a nos moutons, I would never claim to be an expert on this subject, but I know several who really are, and none is in any doubt that the start of the chain of events that led to the Paris catastrophe was the mechanics' failure to reassemble the undercarriage properly, ie leaving the spacer on the floor where it was found.

The evidence that the fire started before the SST reached the Continental piece of metal is, in their view, incontravertible.

This will never, ever be admitted in France and there is little point in going on about it. Unless, of course, you are facing a civil suit for very large sums.

Last edited by Capot; 2nd Dec 2012 at 15:41.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 18:35   #55 (permalink)
 
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There is a "Fine", and a civil suit. Who is plaintiff? At some point, the reality of the pre Titanium fire will foreclose further action. Counter suit? Dismissal with prejudice? 'Denial', a national credo for France? Non, non, toujours NONS.....

Sheesh
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 20:13   #56 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by topoverhaul View Post
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.
The low speed, maybe. But the BEA also estimated the fire intensity would have destroyed "soon enough" the left wing/control surfaces for the aircraft to be doomed anyway.

May I remind that, as per the BEA technical report:
- No strip = no accident; even with the tail wind, the (slight, given their calculations) overweight, the missing spacer... etc.
- OTOH, still as per the BEA report, once you include the titanium strip => tyre explosion => fuel leakage => fire into the scenario, then the aircraft is doomed, whatever anyelse. Even if she was not overweight, if the wind was head, if the #2 was kept running, and if the spacer was where it should have been.

And by the way: I'm nevertheless "happy" with the appeal, which seems more "honnest" in assessing responsabilities/faults. Indeed, I think AF/French authorities in general took "too lightly" some issues with the plane (namely: tyres, and the Michelin NZG fitted for the return to flight were an excellent thing). IIRC, the exact same scenario (rolling on the strip) with NZG tyres would not have had such catastrophic outcome.


I disregard the "pre-strip fire" reports, as those reports always were not precise enough to be relevant IMO (unless one wants to "make a story", of course ).
Capot, on that very topic, if you have any evidence/documentation (i.e. something more tangible that "every knowledgeable people know..."), I would be more than pleased to take them into account to, if needed, change my mind & be corrected. Indeed, why not try to answer BEA's "denegations", if the "truth" is so easy to demonstrate? (bearing in mind that once again, in my eyes selected testimonies of witnesses are not that conclusive). And I'm no expert either, I just can read & understand

Last edited by AlphaZuluRomeo; 2nd Dec 2012 at 20:19.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 21:01   #57 (permalink)
 
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I, too, have my doubts about the 'fire before the metal strip' theories. Is there any hard evidence for it?

However, I do beleive that the other factors were 'holes in the cheese' and the metal strip was only the final one of those. I'd say 'no overfilled fuel tanks, no accident', as well, even with the tyre disintegration.
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 21:31   #58 (permalink)
 
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I'd say 'no overfilled fuel tanks, no accident', as well, even with the tyre disintegration.
Did the fuel tanks were overfilled when the Washington event happens (big leak of fuel .. multiple important holes)
And why no fire ?
Maybe it can be considered that for Gonesse .. it was some hot post for igniting the fuel (other than engines) .. and this can drive again to a problem with the gear (spacer) ?
Note that this particular plane (Washington event) was considered beyond repair
Ironically the replacement plane was the plane who crashed at Gonesse ....

Last edited by jcjeant; 2nd Dec 2012 at 21:39.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 12:21   #59 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
I, too, have my doubts about the 'fire before the metal strip' theories. Is there any hard evidence for it?
My point exactly. I believe the answer is "none". Keeping an open mind, I stand to be corrected, if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy Sheep Driver View Post
However, I do beleive that the other factors were 'holes in the cheese' and the metal strip was only the final one of those. I'd say 'no overfilled fuel tanks, no accident', as well, even with the tyre disintegration.
Yep, I do agree. What I do not remember is if the #5 tank was overfilled? Or simply filled full as in standart/normal procedure at that phase of flight?
Will have to check... If any knowledgeable people comes around, don't hesitate to press that particular point
I notice §1.16.7.3 of the final report saying the #5 & #7 tanks were not used for the taxi, and were then "fully full" during T/O, and that "only" 21Kg of fuel from that #5 tank had been used at the moment of the said tank rupture.
In the same §, it it said the tank was at 94% full from the gate, and still at that value when the event occured. Interesting to note is the longitudinal acceleration effect, that led to the tank being considered as full in the physical sense when it ruptured.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcjeant View Post
Did the fuel tanks were overfilled when the Washington event happens (big leak of fuel .. multiple important holes)
And why no fire ?
As said above, I can't comment (at the moment) the overfilling or not of the tanks.
However, BEA said the two events were very different:
- Whashington '79, the tanks were punctured by several little/middle sized pieces, which led to (comparatively to CDG) small leaks (*), which didn't ignited (and weren't able to, given their flow rate)
- Gonesse 2000, the #5 tank was ruptured because of an hydrodynamic effect inside the tank, leading to the ejection of a large piece (320 x 320 mm) of the tank wall, and to a massive leak (**), able to ignite (and stay ignited in the airflow).

(*) "Dégonflement puis déchapage du pneu n° 6, entraînant l’éclatement du pneu n° 5, la destruction de la roue n° 5 et des perforations de petites dimensions des réservoirs 2, 5 et 6."
"La fuite de carburant résultant de toutes les perforations était de 4 kg/s."
Reference: Concorde accident final report, §1.16.4.2.1 "Evénement du 14 juin 1979 à Washington".
(**) estimated by 3 different means in §1.16.8.2: 60kg/s, 20-130kg/s, 60kg/s. Or more than an order of magnitude superior to the Washington leaks flow rate...
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 12:29   #60 (permalink)
 
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Air France failed to produce the "Fuel Loading Sheet" and "Aircraft Loading Sheet". Documents that legally should have been retained.
So just how overweight and overfuelled the Aircraft was will remain a matter of speculation.
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