View Full Version : AF Concorde - airborne again....

24th Aug 2001, 12:18
An AF Concorde has just lifted off from Paris CDG at about 0815z - don't know which one, but nobody missed the huge roar...!

Great to see them getting back up there again....


:D :rolleyes:

24th Aug 2001, 13:18
Though the Concorde is on the verge of being recertified for flight, it has a history of problems that go back much farther than the crash of July 25, 2000. Below is a statement prepared, at the request of the National Transportation Safety Board, by a passenger who was on a Concorde flight out of Dulles International Airport in June of 1979.

"On June 14, 1979, I was on Concorde Air France Flight #54 bound for Paris from Dulles International Airport. I was sitting in row 35, which is about two-thirds of the way aft of the airplane, in the port window seat.
At approximately 3:25 p.m., the aircraft started a normal take-off roll. Well after [rotation] there was a violent shaking and shuddering of the aircraft that felt to me as if it were one or more blown tires or as if the runway was in extremely poor condition. As I knew that the Dulles runway was not in this terrible condition, it was my opinion at the time that we had blown one or more tires.

A few seconds later an object went by my window vertically. This shocked me, as any object which we might be passing (i.e., a bird) would go by the window in a horizontal movement. The object I saw was either white or metallic in color. I immediately lifted myself up in my seat and looked at the sharpest angle possible down at the wing abreast my window. I could see a hole in the wing that appeared to be approximately two feet square. I also noted at the time that I could see a group of hydraulic hoses which were visible through the hole in the wing, and that some of them were starting to actually protrude through the hole in the wing. Also, pieces of the skin of the wing were being ripped off by the increasing velocity of the airplane. Additionally, some sort of fluid started to spew out of the hole in the wing.

I made a signal on the stewardess/steward call button. Not getting any response from this, I got up and left my seat and went towards the back of the aircraft, principally to alert the crew to the fact that there was a hole in the wing of the aircraft. The stewardess (she did not seem alarmed at the shuddering which we had experienced previous to takeoff) commented on the fact that I should not be moving around the aircraft. I pointed out to her that there was a hole in the wing of the aircraft and we should immediately advise the flight deck that we had a serious problem. The stewardess advised me that this condition was "normal" and that I should not change seats before the seat belt sign was turned off. I explained to the stewardess that it was not normal for an aircraft, even a French aircraft, to shed its skin on takeoff. In order to gain some credibility, I told her that I had been in the aerospace business for approximately 20 years, had sold fighter planes for a living for years, had previously flown on the Concorde a number of times, and that I know they had a serious problem with the airplane.

At this time, sitting in the rear row of seats in the aircraft, I could look out of the window of the port rear of the airplane and see quantities of some sort of fluid going by the window (I could not tell whether this was fuel or hydraulic fluid). Due to the quantity of fluid, I assumed that it was fuel. I asked that the stewardess or steward come up with me and look out the window at the hole in the wing. Neither she nor the steward were particularly interested and, while I was having these discussions with them, the seat belt sign was turned off and the cabin attendants started to serve drinks.

I was becoming increasingly alarmed at that point, as I was still the only one who had seen the hole in the wing despite my continuing entreaties to get the crew to look out of the row 35 port window. Additionally, the aircraft was still accelerating and what would happen to that wing at Mach 1 (if, indeed, we ever made it to Mach 1) didn't even bear thinking about.

Finally, after I made considerable issue of the fact that they should go look out of the window, the steward went up to the flight deck, returned, and told me that they realized that they had blown one or two tires but that they were going to continue to Paris as they were not certain that they had spare tires in either New York or Dulles. At that time I told the steward that I was going up to the flight deck to talk to either the pilot or co-pilot if they refused to come back to talk to me. In fact, I actually started up the aisle before they agreed to go forward and get one of the flight crew to come back to talk to me. The steward then went up to the flight deck and brought back someone who was either the engineer or the co-pilot. At this time, the no-smoking light had been turned off and some of the passengers were smoking, which alarmed me a great deal. I took the gentleman who had come back from the flight deck to my seat and virtually held his head over to the window so that he could look down and see the hole in the wing. When he was the hole, he exclaimed, "Mon Dieu!"

It was clear to me that until the time that I held his head to the window, they were still proceeding on the assumption that they had only blown a couple of tires and had no idea that there was a hole in the wing. The engineer or co-pilot then asked me if I would go take a seat at the absolute rear of the airplane, by the rear door, and that I should "act like a part of the crew." He said that they were "going to be needing plenty of help." This gentleman then headed up to the flight deck and it was immediately after that they turned on the seat belt sign, ordered no smoking, and started to alert the passengers that there was a severe problem. Also, about the time that this gentleman would have arrived back at the flight deck, the aircraft started going through violent maneuvers.

Shortly after the aircraft started making violent maneuvers, it appeared to me that we flew over Dulles Airport. In scribbling down my notes later, I stopped at that point as it was clear that everyone that mattered knew that they had a relatively serious problem."

24th Aug 2001, 13:38
An absolutely incredible story.... almost (and I stress almost knowing the various possible French mentalities) unbelievable...


24th Aug 2001, 14:36
This article has been discused in depth before.

It was though to be wide of the mark and pretty in-accurate

eg crew always planned to return to NY as it was SOP and thre is not row 35 on Concorde it only goes up to 26.(no13)

Let's close discusion on this topic but continue with the Air France news, well done to them and I hope today's test and the one planned for Monday go accoring to plan.