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Old 8th Mar 2012, 07:17   #1 (permalink)
KAG
 
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Concorde trial

A second trial in the July 2000 Concorde crash opens in Paris today, with Continental Airlines and other defendants appealing against conviction.

Continental was deemed responsible by a lower court in 2010 for the catastrophe which killed 113 people.

The supersonic jet is thought to have rolled over a titanium strip on take off from Charles de Gaulle airport. Judges ruled the strip had fallen onto the runway from one of Continental’s jets. It apparently flew up and punctured Concorde’s fuel tanks causing it to spew kerosene which caught fire, downing the plane.

Continental was fined 200,000 euros and ordered to pay one million euros to Air France owner of the doomed jet. Several former employees are also appealing.
Their lawyers claim that Concorde had design flaws that made it vulnerable and that its owners should never have let it take off.

Paris court to hear appeal in Concorde crash case | euronews, world news
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 08:48   #2 (permalink)
 
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The supersonic jet is thought to have rolled over a titanium strip on take off from Charles de Gaulle airport.
Rather than the titanium strip I prefer the story about the missing spacer on the undercarriage causing the aircraft to diverge from the centre line taking out runways lights which caused the puncture.

Also wasn't there a wind change just prior to take off resulting in a downwind takeoff and then the aircraft being too heavy for the distance available.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 09:48   #3 (permalink)
 
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Well, it might be " preferable" if there was evidence to support it, like broken runway lights.

The aircraft got airborne, so your second conjecture is bollocks too.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 10:29   #4 (permalink)
 
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I don't know about French Law but many legal systems operate an Eggshell skull principle. Also known as "take your victim as you find him".

Eggshell skull - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I doubt there has been a previous case involving aircraft but was able to find one involving a collision between two ships where the judges comments suggest it applies.

http://www.seatransport.org/seaview_...0Collision.pdf

Quote:
The judge's comments in the The Fedra suggests that the eggshell skull rule does apply in collision cases, provided liability for the collision has been established
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 14:27   #5 (permalink)
 
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If I were the defendant, I would require a demonstration of that piece of metal puncturing the tire and causing a catastrophic failure, with and without the when spacer installed! The froggies refusal to investigate thoroughly all aspects of the accident makes them complicit!
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 14:56   #6 (permalink)
 
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Well, it might be " preferable" if there was evidence to support it, like broken runway lights.
Is it so much a stretch to backtrace the flight's path from this historic image?

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Old 8th Mar 2012, 15:53   #7 (permalink)
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A bit of reading required

The threads on this forum about this crash and the subsequent investigations and court proceedings are very long and every possible aspect has been discussed numerous times. In a nutshell, Americans usually blame the airplane, British refute that and blame the French not only for this particular crash, but for the demise of Concorde altogether, and the French, well everybody can imagine what they are thinking. Germans are usually quiet.

If you start reading, you will be finished in about 6 months. Until then, I suggest to put this thread out of its misery.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 16:28   #8 (permalink)
 
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Their lawyers claim that Concorde had design flaws that made it vulnerable and that its owners should never have let it take off.


This kind of grips me a bit...I expect most aircraft have some form of design flaw - especially those that 'push the design envelope'... Dreamliner anyone?

As for fuel tank protection for the wing tanks, why on earth this would have been deemed necessary prior to this tragic incident i can not fathom... Even the RAF were happy to take at risk not fitting ESF to the C130 fleet prior to XV179. Of course, that was a tactical transporter where it would make sense to protect the fuel tanks... Concorde was not.

Do we have Kevlar coated tanks or ESF on other passenger airframes? I honestly don't know but I would be very surprised...

Hindsight ... currently on special offer.

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Old 8th Mar 2012, 17:01   #9 (permalink)
 
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Read the full final report

English version available here.


Includes very detailed information, and photographs such as this:

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Old 8th Mar 2012, 17:06   #10 (permalink)
 
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Hadn't previous tyre blow outs caused under wing damage? Albeit, not as catastrophic but should have been a bit of a clue for beefing things up in that area.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 17:41   #11 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Evanelpus View Post
Hadn't previous tyre blow outs caused under wing damage? Albeit, not as catastrophic but should have been a bit of a clue for beefing things up in that area.
If that were the case, then it would also require all Qantas A380s to carry a ton of shielding around the engines!
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 21:31   #12 (permalink)
 
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The aircraft is alleged to have been over-fuelled and possibly over weight; full tanks transmitted the force and made damage worse.

The aircraft was below V1 when the fire started, and should have stopped. It is thought that the captain made the (probably sound) decision to get airborne even so due to the difficulty in directional control. From what I heard they would still have survived had the engineer not shut down the engines. You don't shut down engines in a fire until flight path is stable and the Captain deems the power is no longer needed.

oldchina

None of which caused a crash.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 22:13   #13 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md80fanatic View Post
Is it so much a stretch to backtrace the flight's path from this historic image?
No, but it'd be much easier to work from the tire tracks and debris on the runway. Which is what the investiagtion did, all nicely laid out with timeline cvr etc. in appendix 12 of the report:

http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-...ppendix12p.pdf

As to previous poster's theories - yes they went off to the left, yes they took out runway lights, but after the tire burst debris, and in fact after they were already seen to be on fire.

Even if the missing spacer casued the track to the left, and without that failure they kept straight and got to Vr, they are still trying to fly with broken (struck down) gear, one engine on fire, shutdown, and the one next to it compromised. Even if they got enough height and speed to cope with the thrust asymmetry, they are still doomed because the fire would have melted the wing.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 22:24   #14 (permalink)
 
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No need for hindsight. There had been five previous events of fuel tank penetration.

Indeed...and this was looked at during the original trail:


According to Heath, one witness had outlined to the court the US National Transportation Safety Board's investigation in the 1979 Concorde accident at Washington Dulles when a fuel tank was ruptured on take-off after a tyre-burst.
"None of the NTSB's recommendations were aimed at armouring the wing - they were quite satisfied with the actions taken to prevent a tyre or wheel breaking up and debris puncturing the tanks," (Tony) Heath says.


The previous penetrations were I believe caused by substandard tyre design. This was rectified and no longer deemed an issue. No one foresaw such an issue would arise agian...the aircraft was lost due to FOD and the subsequent misfortune of not correctly identifying the source of the fire; not because it was an un-airworthy aircraft.
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Old 8th Mar 2012, 22:27   #15 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by oldchina View Post
No need for hindsight. There had been five previous events of fuel tank penetration.
And zero previous events of fuel tank burst due to hydrodynamic ram effect - which is effectively what this was. The damage was orders of magnitude greater than anything seen before. [ allegedly the effect was known, at least in theory, in military aviation but any tests and calculations or models were classified ].

The previous incidents are just no comparable, like saying that multiple previous events of car windscreens smashed by stone chips should have lead them to be designed to withstand a concrete block dropped off a bridge - it happens, it can be fatal, but one could not predict the other.
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Old 13th Mar 2012, 15:08   #16 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KAG View Post
It apparently flew up and punctured Concorde’s fuel tanks causing it to spew kerosene which caught fire, downing the plane.
No! That's a (rather common) misunderstanding.
As stated just above by infrequentflyer789, the catastrophic nature of the tank failure was not due to (relatively small) punctures by this or that endogen "flying piece" from the U/C, but due to the hydrodynamic ram effect which ejected a large part (hence a really big fuel leak) of the tank/intrados panel.
That's a major difference (as per the BEA) between the 2000 accident and previous occurence of tanks puncturings on the type (e.g. the '79 accident in Washington).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 27/09 View Post
Rather than the titanium strip I prefer the story about the missing spacer on the undercarriage causing the aircraft to diverge from the centre line taking out runways lights which caused the puncture.
If one takes aside his personal preference, one has to discuss about:
- the fact that rubber gum (matching with Concorde tyres) was found on the titanium strip
- the fact that the cutting of the tyre is compatible with the dimensions/shape/strengh of the titanium strip
- the fact that no Concorde tyres had ever split up into chunks that large (impacting the fuselage with such force) without exogen causes (strip)
- the fact that the runways lights taken out were impacted significantly after the aircraft caught fire, as demonstrated by the evidences on the scene.
- the fact that the aircraft maintained the centre line with no apparent difficulties until thrust was reduced (due to fire) on left hand engines

Now, those facts are from the BEA report. I'm aware of "conspirationnist" (or not so) theories about how the BEA would never have accused the plane, the company, the country. But I'll wait to hear for counter-proofs (or plausible analysis) before jumping to different conclusion that those in the report.
And for now, I remain unsatisfied on that topic.

Last edited by AlphaZuluRomeo; 13th Mar 2012 at 15:18.
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Old 13th Mar 2012, 16:32   #17 (permalink)
 
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The aircraft got airborne, so your second conjecture is bollocks too.
Why do you say that? Just because it got off doesn't mean the BFL was legal.
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Old 13th Mar 2012, 21:40   #18 (permalink)
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Tort law? Can you apply Eggshell philosophy to this? A victim's scull might well have to be anticipated to be weak, as some humans will, by an act of God, be unlucky enough to have this condition.

Aircraft however, should not be passed as fit to fly if they have such vulnerabilities, therefore, one should never have to modify operations based on other operator's failure to provide appropriately sturdy hardware.
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Old 13th Mar 2012, 23:04   #19 (permalink)
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reverse logic

Back in the mid 60's the RAAF lost a P3B at Moffett from a failure of the MLG, the oleo falling away with wheel assy in the circuit. The aircraft burnt to a crisp on the subsequent landing, and fo compensation, Lockheed provided a replacement lower oleo. Quite a few years later, Lockheed added the rest of the aircraft above the oleo, one that had been a test bed and had many additional wiring looms still installed.

As the court contends that the titanium component caused the accident, then it should follow that had the tyre merely failed without impacting the Continental debris, as had frequently occurred with varying levels of consequential damage, then I presume it would be an Act of God, and the French legal system would have God in the dock. IMHO, the potential for catastrophic damage to occur with the Concorde design was not in any way undiscoverable, or unrecognised. What was not acted upon was the evidence to hand of a potential catastrophic failure mode, that could have been mitigated by engineering and in part by revised operational practices.

A tyre burst at high rotational speed is a fairly high energy event, and can cause extensive collateral damage, as it has been doing since the 50's when TO/LDG speeds started to become quite high. Tyres fail in service for various reasons, that may include external, environmental and operational factors as well as manufacture and maintenance errors. Tyres fail. Taxi a B747 too far, and the tyres will fail on TO, take off at Harare at high temps and weights, and the aft body gear tyres fail in the rotate regularly... tyres fail. If the certification authority, design engineers and operators, having a depth of incident data available were unable to recognise the risk, then that needs to be addressed. Had the tyre failed on this takeoff for no external causation, the outcome would have still been the same, as the inherent weakness of the design, and it's latent potential for consequential failures of some significance were not addressed.

Did the uncommanded shutdown of a engine still capable of producing thrust add to the mix? In most cases, that would be a major factor, for a VMCa event, however the compromising of the hydraulic system subsequent to the tyre impact and also the exposure to the fire from the fuel appears to have overtaken the normal course of events, and precipitated a failure of flight path control authority.

When the aircraft was designed, the design offsets for placing wiring and hydraulic components, fuel tank access panels, and hydraulic control lines are frozen on the basis of the knowledge available and hopefully sound consideration of the relative risks & costs. I would contend that in the 60's it was known that tyres can cause damage, that hydraulics at the rear of any body that has a fuel source can be burnt through, and that fuel leaks near ignition sources in a flow promoting aerosol/vaporisation of the fuel were foreseeable.

What probably has never been foreseeable is that replacing a poorly designed component subject to abrasion with a harder material would result in the chain of events cobbled together by fate in this disaster. Occasionally, accidents do happen. I would think that this one is very close to the AoG definition, than the outcome of an engineer sitting 5,000nm away from the event.
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Old 14th Mar 2012, 13:55   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdr View Post
Had the tyre failed on this takeoff for no external causation, the outcome would have still been the same, as the inherent weakness of the design, and it's latent potential for consequential failures of some significance were not addressed.
Well, that's not what BEA said. In fact, they may have written:
"Had the tyre failed on this takeoff for no external causation, the outcome would have been different, because the parts of tyres would have been smaller and lighter. Being so, they could not have triggered the hydrodynamic effect that concluded with the structural failure (a piece of tank skin ~ 26x26cm ejected, resulting in a massive leak".

However, I agree that in the light of the accident, the tyres could (should?) have been improved before such a catastrophic event.
Had the new "NZG" Michelin tyres been fitted, the outcome may have been different, too (perhaps just a non event).

Now, what about cost? Analysis has been made and solutions were implemented (before 2000). As you noted, tyres failed. Regularly. With consequences, but no catastrophic ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdr View Post
What probably has never been foreseeable is that replacing a poorly designed component subject to abrasion with a harder material would result in the chain of events cobbled together by fate in this disaster. Occasionally, accidents do happen.
I understand you're not advocating that someone should have foreseen this kind of accident. Indeed, that would be a big "what if", in my mind. And Concorde was not a military plane, hardened/armored against a large range of hypothetical external agressions...


[edit]Please don't think I try to refute other failures/errors before/during that flight (missing spacer, early cut-off of eng 2...) but I read the BEA on those topics:

§ 1.18.2.3 Possible consequences on the Landing Gear of the Absence of the Spacer
Quote:
In conclusion, nothing in the research undertaken indicates that the absence of the spacer contributed in any way to the accident on 25 July 2000.
§ 2.1.4 Loss of Control of the Aircraft
Quote:
In these extreme conditions, the combination of lateral and thrust asymmetry and the major thrust/drag imbalance, which could not be compensated for by a descent, led to a loss of control. This loss of control was probably accelerated by the structural damage caused by the fire.
In any event, even if all four engines had been operating, the serious damage caused by the intensity of the fire to the structure of the wing and to some of the flight controls would have led to the rapid loss of the aircraft.

Regards.

Last edited by AlphaZuluRomeo; 14th Mar 2012 at 14:44.
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