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Xeque
3rd Jul 2008, 11:03
Just breaking on BBC World news. 2 ex Continental Airlines personnel , 2 connected with the Concorde program and one other are to face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Air France Concorde crash in Paris eight years ago. Trial expected to take place next year.

One9iner
3rd Jul 2008, 11:48
BBC News Website
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Five to face Concorde crash trial (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7487282.stm)


US airline Continental and five people will stand trial over the 2000 Concorde crash near Paris which killed 113 people, French judicial officials say.
The five are said to be two employees of Continental Airlines, two from Concorde maker Aerospatiale, and the French civilian aviation authority.
The trial will take place in two to three months' time, the officials say.
The plane caught fire after its tyres were punctured by a piece of metal on the runway from a Continental plane.
Rubber from the tyres ruptured the plane's fuel tanks shortly after take-off from Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.
A French accident inquiry in 2004 found that the strip of metal had fallen on the runway from a Continental plane that took off just before the Concorde flight.
All 109 people on board the Concorde flight and four people on the ground were killed.

csquared
3rd Jul 2008, 12:17
At last. Now the true reason for the crash will be heard!

Agaricus bisporus
3rd Jul 2008, 12:42
Yeah, it was a conspiracy by the Duke of Edinburgh! Everyone knows that.

Taildragger67
3rd Jul 2008, 12:51
csquared,

At last. Now the true reason for the crash will be heard!

... and that reason is... ?

Oh do please enlighten us.

BigBoeing
3rd Jul 2008, 13:01
And this will achieve what exactly?

Moldioldi
3rd Jul 2008, 13:15
Big Boeing it will achieve loadsa money for the legal eagles and naff all for the bereaved cos it aint gonna stop another Concorde crash thats for certain

D O Guerrero
3rd Jul 2008, 13:27
BigBoeing - oh yes I see your point. Un-approved modifications to a DC10 resulting in FOD, which at best contributed to (if not caused) the destruction of an aircraft and over a hundred lives lost...
Yeah... let 'em off. No biggie.

philbky
3rd Jul 2008, 13:31
A piece of metal (albeit reportedly one that should not have been attached to the airframe) falls from an aircraft and damages another with fatal consequences.

The tragedy that ensued would not have happened if.....if.....if. As the old saying goes, "If ifs and ands were pots and pans....."

The lessons were learned years ago, what is the need to pillory individuals?

If an action is "involuntary" (dictionary definition "done without exercise of the will") how can someone be found guilty of manslaughter?

Guilty of gross stupidity maybe for fitting an unauthorised part; guilty of slack checking procedures certainly.

One party will be missing in court - ADP which did not ensure the runway was swept, as required, prior to the departure of the Concorde flight.

Presumably in the legal and bureaucratic minds acts of omission cannot be classed as contributing to manslaughter.

flyme273
3rd Jul 2008, 14:04
and the missing shims from the undercarriage truck? C of G aft? tailwind? overload by 11 tonnes?

Evanelpus
3rd Jul 2008, 14:14
and the missing shims from the undercarriage truck? C of G aft? tailwind? overload by 11 tonnes?

Surely, ultimately, the Captain has to take responsibility for the last three.

This was a tragic accident and the only people who will benefit from this are the damn lawyers.

HEATHROW DIRECTOR
3rd Jul 2008, 14:17
<<ADP which did not ensure the runway was swept, as required, prior to the departure of the Concorde flight.>>

Presumably a French local requirement? It never happened during all the years I worked with Concorde at Heathrow

Frangible
3rd Jul 2008, 14:20
As I understand the new act all it really does is remove the loophole under the old legislation under which it was impossible to convict unless you could show a "controlling mind" at work. Since it was impossible to pin entire responsibility for an accident on one controlling mind, nobody ever got done. This act is surely an improvement, and unless there was gross negligence I would have thought it unlikely there would be a prosecution. Anyway, it's the corporation that would be found guilty, not individuals.

Moldiolidi, this is a criminal case and thus not a legal pot of gold.

WindSheer
3rd Jul 2008, 14:27
Those in the UK need to remember that the new Corporate Manslaughter Act makes it almost certain that a prosecution will follow any fatal accident involving a UK aircraft anywhere OR any visiting airline.

...it happened in France...:confused:

sispanys ria
3rd Jul 2008, 14:44
I'm quite upset to see that some pretended professionals can believe Continental is responsible of this accident !

At least take some time to read the facts before posting !
This aircraft suffered dozens of similar issues with some leading to fuel tank perforations. Nothing was done over the years.

That day, this aircraft departed with tail wind, overload leading to tires over-speeding. The incriminated tire was also overstressed during the roll since a missing boogie part was causing a tire deflection and ripping.

When gathering all these conditions, it is obvious that this tire would have exploded sooner or later as it happened so many times previously, and one cannot say it was unpredictable !

BA283
3rd Jul 2008, 14:50
......also,............the engine was shut down immediately and the gear wasn't raised----definitely caused by the piece of metal----vive la France.

sispanys ria
3rd Jul 2008, 14:55
Please keep your comments toward France for yourself, I wonder how you would have handled the situation... (sorry, I forgot how good glider pilots you are on the other side of the channel...). Just read the report before refering to shut down and gear retraction.

Phileas Fogg
3rd Jul 2008, 15:18
So why is nobody from CDG airport facing trial? After all it was their contaminated runway that caused the incident?

PJ2
3rd Jul 2008, 15:33
Shell Management:

Do you (or does anyone) know if anyone has been successfully prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act?

We have the "Westray Law" in Canada, named after the mine in which an explosion killed 26 miners. The owners of the mine were forewarned about the risk potential but ignored the information.

We can only assume that commercial reasons were at the heart of such a corporate decision. I wonder if such legislation means anything to CEOs who are more interested in share price and their bonuses than employees.

Shell Management
3rd Jul 2008, 15:53
WindSheer
Paris is in France, really?
Seriously the point is that this is a trend that is not just a feature of the Napoleonic code.

PJ2
The act came into force on 8 April 2008 - so not yet, but is a subject that has grasped the attention of many companies doing business in the UK, though perhaps not as many airlines but as the recent GSM prosecution shows even the CAA are talking tough.

This may result in reporting culture issues though.

captjns
3rd Jul 2008, 16:29
In the day, I thought a runway inspection was to be accomplished prior to any Concorde departure. Was this not a fact, and if so, why was the FOD not discovered?

Dysag
3rd Jul 2008, 16:45
In case you didn't hear, French President Sarkozy has just announced that he alone will be responsible for appointing the head of government-run television.

Since the state controls information, and manipulates the justice system, Air France maintenance (who have a lot to answer for) will never have to justify their actions.

Quel banana republic.

Xeque
3rd Jul 2008, 16:56
When I opened this thread I reported that Continental Airlines (themselves) were also to be charged. I subsequently amended the post after someone queried that statement. Some hours later the BBC is still reporting that the airline itself is to be charged as well as the 5 people aforementioned.
I can't help feeling that all this is a complete waste of time and money and will do little to compensate or commiserate (with) the relatives of the passengers and crew on the ill-fated Concorde.
How many times does something fall off an arriving or departing aircraft or indeed during flight? There is always some debris on a runway. On aircraft carriers they walk the deck at least once a day to pick up bits that have fallen off aircraft. What's the situation at CdG or any other major airport? How many times a day do they physically inspect the runway and clear it of debris?
Things go wrong and bits of flying metal end up in all sorts of places - some critically significant, others not. If a tyre bursts and lumps fly upwards on any aircraft the chances are that a fuel tank could be perforated.
If there is a difference here then it was because Concorde used after-burners during take-off. With the fires of hell spewing out of the tail pipes, the addition of leaking fuel spraying into the line of fire contributed to an accident that, perhaps, no-one could have foreseen.
I hope that, if this does go to trial, Continental Airlines does not end up with a massive legal bill that was not of their asking. In these dim and dismal days for the airlines, such an unforeseen expenditure could send another good airline to the wall. As for the 5 individuals - I think to proceed against them would be massively unfair.

Phil.Capron
3rd Jul 2008, 17:01
Slightly different form of transport I know but wasn't the Herald of Free Enterprise (?) ferry accident a case of successful corporate manslaughter prosecution?

D O Guerrero
3rd Jul 2008, 17:23
Xeque - I can only assume that you've never actually flown on Continental then?
I think most people accept that potentially there are multiple causes for what was in the end a tragic accident - swiss cheese theory and all that. That doesn't mean that everyone should get away scot-free. Where it can be shown that negligence played a part - then the persons concerned should face the music - whether it be individuals or corporations. We all know that our actions can have a serious impact in aviation and the lack of intention to cause harm is not an excuse. If the only end-result is that it improves safety in aviation, then the action will have a valid purpose.

Langkasuka
3rd Jul 2008, 18:31
There were cases whereby some aircrafts had engine pod contact with the runway upon touchdown in poor visibility and the control tower was not aware. Upon inspection after landing, the damage was found......it would have been possible to have some loose parts littering the runway ( not lightly though unless the damage was substantial ). Now how would such cases play out in court as the pilots might not have known of the extent of the damage....in the interim between engine pod contact and physical inspection, some other unlucky aircraft might have come to grief like the afforesaid Concorde?

patrickal
3rd Jul 2008, 18:41
Was the CO part that fell of installed in the US or UK? Where are the workers located. I doubt the US would even consider extraditing anyone to the UK to face these charges.
From a legal perspective, if the person(s) were at fault, then they are in a sense partially responsible. But so are the people at Air France who ignored the already proven concerns about tires coming apart on previously on Concorde, as are the people who did not install the spacers on the bogies, and the people who did not inspect the runway. and are those who accepted a tail wind departure, and those who allowed an overload and CG issue to occur. As we all know, most aviation accidents are a result of multiple failures. If you are going to try and fix blame, do all or do none.

Patrick

surfman96
3rd Jul 2008, 20:12
from New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/04/world/europe/04concorde.html?hp

Trial Ordered in Concorde Crash That Killed 113
Toshihiko Sato/Associated Press

Air France Concorde flight 4590 crashed shortly after take-off on July 25, 2000, killing all 109 people aboard and four others on the ground.


Article Tools Sponsored By
By ALAN COWELL
Published: July 4, 2008

PARIS — A prosecutor said Thursday that Continental Airlines and two of its employees had been ordered to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges related to the crash of a Concorde supersonic airliner in 2000 near Paris in which 113 people died.

In addition to Continental, the prosecutor also filed involuntary manslaughter charges against two employees of the Concorde program and an employee of the French civil aviation authority.

Continental responded angrily to the French action. “These indictments are outrageous and completely unjustified,” Nick Britton, a spokesman for the airline, said in London. “Continental remains firmly convinced that neither it nor its employees were the cause of the Concorde tragedy and we will defend ourselves vigorously against these charges.”

The order by the prosecutor’s office in Pontoise, a Paris suburb, was the latest development in a long saga since the crash, which forced Concorde’s operators to make modifications to its fuel tanks before it was withdrawn from service in 2003. British Airways and Air France began flying the Concorde in 1976.

.... more at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/04/world/europe/04concorde.html?hp

chrisbl
3rd Jul 2008, 21:00
It has only been in place for three months so it is too early to say.

Phlap1
3rd Jul 2008, 21:39
Have a careful look at the bogies on BA and AF Concordes.
The AF models were all missing a FOD deflector fitted to BA's
machines, the French decided not to fit them.
This would probably have saved the ill fated flight.
Vive la France
Hooray for lawyers!

Casper
3rd Jul 2008, 22:03
No runway inspection
No FOD deflectors fitted as per BA concordes
Downwind
Overweight

French arrogance has no limits.

Carrier
3rd Jul 2008, 22:16
Quote: "The AF models were all missing a FOD deflector fitted to BA's
machines, the French decided not to fit them."

Would that not then be criminal negligence on the part of the company and the individual who made the decision not to fit them? They cannot say that it was an unforeseeable event since somebody at BA obviously foresaw the possibility and took the appropriate precautionary action of fitting FOD deflectors.

phil gollin
3rd Jul 2008, 22:35
I know next to nothing about the "Code Napoleon" other than FOR CRIMINAL LAW they have examining magistrates and the case is more a discussion of his/her findings rather than the adversarial procedures of Common Law countries.

Does anyone know how that might affect how things are done ?

.

YRP
3rd Jul 2008, 22:52
I would have thought that, logically, they can't hold _both_ the Continental and the French certification people negligent. Either there was a certification problem - not meeting the standard of being able to tolerate FOD of the size encountered - or the FOD created was beyond what a correctly certified airplane could tolerate.

If the certification authorities are negligent in approving the design, it means the plane should have survived the FOD which means Continental is not negligent. No?

I'm also curious about patrickal's question of where the workers were located. Was the modification done in the US? If so, it seems improper to charge them in France - if they were never in France, the workers should be subject to US law on manslaughter but not French law.

[edit] The accident report states that the modification was in fact done in Houston. So again, how can a maintenance worker in Texas be considered subject to French criminal law?

D O Guerrero
3rd Jul 2008, 23:38
What's the difference? Landing gear looks identical to me...
Photos: Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde 101 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-France/Aerospatiale-BAC-Concorde-101/1338760&tbl=photo_info&photo_nr=3&sok=keyword_%28%5C%27%2B%5C%22air%5C%22_%2B%5C%22france%5C%2 2_%2B%5C%22concorde%5C%22%5C%27_IN_BOOLEAN_MODE%29%29_&sort=_order_by_photo_id_DESC_&prev_id=1346283&next_id=1334711)
Photos: Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde 102 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/photo/British-Airways/Aerospatiale-BAC-Concorde-102/1171528&tbl=photo_info&photo_nr=39&sok=keyword_%28%5C%27%2B%5C%22british%5C%22_%2B%5C%22airways %5C%22_%2B%5C%22concorde%5C%22%5C%27_IN_BOOLEAN_MODE%29%29_&sort=_order_by_photo_id_DESC_&prev_id=1173619&next_id=1169100)

philbky
3rd Jul 2008, 23:45
<<<<ADP which did not ensure the runway was swept, as required, prior to the departure of the Concorde flight.>>

Presumably a French local requirement? It never happened during all the years I worked with Concorde at Heathrow>>

Sorry if my point was unclear. The runway sweeping was a scheduled requirement, not directly related to Concorde, but would have been carried out immediately prior to the take off according to contemporary reports. It was delayed due to staff being involved in fire drill as was a scheduled runway inspection. Abandoning operational requirements for a drill is as negligent as any other of the contributing omissions.

This whole involuntary manslaughter nonsense is just the latest Health and Safety PC fad. Hopefully the investigative nature of the Napoleonic Code will deal more equitably with the facts than the adversarial nature of the British/US systems

Phileas Fogg
4th Jul 2008, 00:21
Before an airline's aircraft departs from an airport's runway does it sign a disclaimer, to the effect, 'we shall not drop any nuts and bolts etc. on your runway'?

As they say, 'sh1t happens, and who is ultimately responsible for maintaining CDG's runway, Continental or the airport authority?

That would be great, but only to an accountant or a lawyer, we'll charge extortionate landing fees etc. and put the onus of responsibility for maintaining the runway and it's safe operation upon a US carrier who probably pays more for the usage of that said runway than the operator whose aircraft suffered a crash.

Captain Airclues
4th Jul 2008, 00:36
D O Guerrero

I suggest that you have another look at your photos. The BA aircraft has FOD Deflectors, the AF aircraft does not.

Airclues

Nov71
4th Jul 2008, 01:50
An 'accident' is usually a combination of contributory factors.

Wasn't there a prog on this crash in the NTSB Crash Investigations TV series?

NVpilot
4th Jul 2008, 03:48
and the missing shims from the undercarriage truck? C of G aft? tailwind? overload by 11 tonnes?



......also,............the engine was shut down immediately and the gear wasn't raised----definitely caused by the piece of metal----vive la France.


No FOD deflectors fitted as per BA concordes


I love the French but blaming Continental Airlines employees, PLEASE! :ugh::ugh:

PJ2
4th Jul 2008, 08:22
Captain Airclues;
I suggest that you have another look at your photos. The BA aircraft has FOD Deflectors, the AF aircraft does not.
I believe the photos show in both cases that the deflectors are present - bit difficult to see in the AF photo but they're there.

Regarding the deflectors issue

From the BEA report (http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-sc000725a/pdf/f-sc000725a.pdf):

1.6.2.4 Deflectors
The deflectors are situated forward of each main
landing gear. Their function is to deflect projected
water so that it does not enter the engine air
intakes. Weighing around four kilos, they are made
of composite materials and fibre glass (to make
them frangible) except for the bogie fasteners.

In 1995, these deflectors were the subject of an
optional Service Bulletin (SST 32-103 of 12/01/95
modified on 28/02/95) which proposed the insertion
of two cables in the leading edge in order to retain
pieces of the deflectors in case of failure. Air France
did not apply the aforementioned Service Bulletin.

Regarding aircraft weight,

the aircraft weight at which the takeoff was commenced was 185,880 kg, for a MTOW of 185,070 kg. The investigation confirmed these figures and showed that this excess weight had no significant effect on the takeoff and acceleration distances.
and from "Findings:"


Repeating the calculations for the flight preparation showed that the estimated weight of the aircraft on departure was in accordance with operational limits.


Taking into account the fuel not consumed during taxiing, the aircraft’s takeoff weight in fact exceeded the maximum weight by about one ton. Any effect on takeoff performance from this excess weight was negligible.
[/quote] and, regarding the tailwind,
Equally, the controller’s announcement of a tailwind did not lead to the slightest comment from the crew, which is, as we have seen, surprising.

For a tailwind of 8 kt, the takeoff weight is reduced to 183,300 kilograms due to a tyre speed limitation. 1.17.1.4.2 Extracts of Procedures from Concorde TU Manual Paragraph 10, Wind limit, page II-01.10.4, specifies that the tailwind limit for a takeoff is 20 kt.


Regarding the #2 engine shutdown:


The shutdown of engine 2 before reaching 400 feet resulted from the Captain and Flight Engineer’s analysis of the situation. Indeed, less than three seconds after the failure of engine 2 was announced by the FE and the controller had informed the crew of the presence of flames at the rear of the aircraft, the engine’s fire alarm (red alarm) and the associated gong sounded. The exceptional environment described above quite naturally led the FE to ask to shut down the engine. This was immediately confirmed by the Captain’s calling for the engine fire procedure. This engine had in fact practically been at idle power for several seconds and the fire alarm was sounding. The engine was therefore shut down following the “engine fire” procedure after having run for twelve seconds at low power. It is important to note that the Concorde Flight Manual requires an immediate reaction by the crew in case of a red alarm.

sispanys ria
4th Jul 2008, 09:33
Casper,
I don't know where you are from, but I cannot tolerate you have this attitude towards France when you obviously haven't read the report !

Read it and then make your comments. The deflectors wouldn't have helped ar all, and it all comes from a design problem which operators never wanted to correct while knowing all the issues. As far as I know, France was not alone to design and operate the bird...

Xorthis
4th Jul 2008, 10:27
The deflectors in question were to prevent water spray being ingested by the engines as stated above.

From what I know about French Law, if an aircraft drops something on the runway which causes an incident, the owners of that aircraft are accountable. Not taking into account the design flaws and the fact that the tyres puncturing the fuel tanks when bursting were known issues, if the FOD was not on that runway that plane would have been put in the situation that resolved into the crash. Right or wrong, that's how the French government see it.

bsieker
4th Jul 2008, 10:57
I have little tolerance for the ongoing nonsense spread about this tragic accident, and I won't comment on it again. I have analysed the accident in my Diploma Thesis (http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Diplom/sieker.pdf), which is available for download, as is the Official Report (http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-sc000725a/pdf/f-sc000725a.pdf). Please read at least the BEA report, and if you're curious, read my analysis, too.

Getting that out of the way: I'd like to clarify some little details about the water deflectors.


Both Air France and British Airways Concordes are, and have always been, fitted with the water deflectors.
Their function is to deflect water from contaminated runways away from the engine main and auxiliary air intakes. Demonstrating operation on a flooded runway is a certification test.
The mentioned optional service bulletin, implemented by BA but not by AF, does not concern the water deflectors themselves, but restraining cables intended to keep the water deflectors from flying away and damaging the airframe in case they are torn off.
Although the water deflectors of the accident aircraft were torn off, broke, and flew away, they did not contribute to the accident, nor would their absense have made any difference.
Read the report, it has several photos of the water deflectors, both installed in one piece, and torn off and broken.



Bernd

Phlap1
4th Jul 2008, 11:21
The water deflector detached from the main deflector on the bogie of
the subject aeroplane.
You missed this vital detail in your very detailed thesis.

DL-EDI
4th Jul 2008, 11:32
As this is my first post here, I should be clear from the start that I'm not in the aviation industry - never have been and probably never will be. However, I have been engaged in previous "discussions" on this subject at Another Place so I hope I've learned something from those who are in the industry, particularly those with experience of Concorde operations.

There are a few issues I'd like to comment on:

Runway Inspections
It's my understanding that, prior to this accident, runway inspections were carried out "at regular intervals" and not specifically prior to a Concorde movement. The inspections prior to each Concorde movement were only introduced as a result of the accident.

Spray Deflectors
As someone already stated, these were designed to prevent spray from the main gear entering the engines and were, structurally, pretty "light-weight". Due to concerns from previous incidents, BA chose to reinforce theirs with a steel cable but I believe this was to prevent broken pieces of the deflector from causing too much damage.

"Punctured" Fuel Tank
Again from my understanding, this was not a tyre burst like any that had happened before, to any type. In this case, the titanium "blade" caused the tyre to rupture in such a way that a 2 metre slab hit the underside of the wing at high speed, causing internal shock waves to rupture the tank from within.

Tyre Bursts
I've seen it stated many times elsewhere that "any other type" would not have batted an eyelid in the same circumstances but I've yet to see any authoritative evidence. Is there any evidence of what happens when any other type runs over a titanium "blade" at high speed? On the other hand, there have been fatal accidents and serious incidents following tyre bursts on other types.

I'm just not sure that this type of incident could reasonably have been predicted from the experiences of the previous incidents, where much smaller pieces of debris caused much less damage. It's also my understanding that the earlier type of incidents had ceased in the latter years (~20?) of its service.

Now, I'm adopting the "Brace" position in case anyone feels like ripping my comments to shreds. I'll remind you all again that I am not pretending to have any authority on these matters whatsoever. As a Concorde fan, I simply feel the need to speak in its defence from time to time. :)

Magplug
4th Jul 2008, 11:50
PJ2.... Your narrative is incorrect.

The FE shut down an engine on the runway prior to V1 without any reference to anybody else on the flight deck (read the CVR transcript). There is no 2/3 crew SOP in the world that has one guy shutting down engines below a safe height let alone unmonitored. As the other engine subsequently failed before the gear could be raised their fate was sealed....Unable to accelerate to V2 and all the drag of the gear hanging in the breeze.

Had the FE not embarked on that Maverick course of action there should have been enough Hyd pressure from the two lame engines to raise the gear and fly away. When the fuel cells were empty the spectacular fuel fire would have ceased, with some good flying they may just have saved the day. Being two tonnes over max tyre speed did not help, neither did ignoring eight knots of tailwind.

AF ploughed in an A320 F-GGED a VOR on approach to Stasbourg in 1992 because the pilots did not know the difference between FPA 3.3 and VS 3300fpm... despite having the rather large clue that the a/c would not slow below 280kts. Ultimately they ploughed in a serviceable a/c well short of the field killing 87 people. The did not have GPWS. It was not considered that French pilots required that protection.

So when people talk of arrogance I don't believe they are far wide of the mark, particularly when you consider that since Concorde AF have lost another 2 airframes - Both with Human Factors as the primary cause

AF358 F-GLZQ A340 at YYZ 2-Aug-2005 ...Attempted landing it thunderstorm
AF7775 F100 PUF-CDG 25-Jan-2007 ....Failure to de-ice before departure

Capt Fathom
4th Jul 2008, 12:53
French arrogance has no limits

Yep!

And they are suing everyone over the Toronto overrun accident.

'It wasn't our fault' !!! :rolleyes:

Mel Effluent
4th Jul 2008, 13:41
The decision to prosecute has much more far-reaching implications with a cumulatively negative impact on flight safety. Article 3.1 of ICAO Annex 13 states that:

The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability.

What are the chances of conducting an effective investigation into an aircraft accident if there is a risk of witnesses being prosecuted if they tell the truth?

bsieker
4th Jul 2008, 14:00
PJ2.... Your narrative is incorrect.

Well, so is yours. Actually having read the report and its appendices helps.

The FE shut down an engine on the runway prior to V1 without any reference to anybody else on the flight deck (read the CVR transcript). There is no 2/3 crew SOP in the world that has one guy shutting down engines below a safe height let alone unmonitored. As the other engine subsequently failed before the gear could be raised their fate was sealed....Unable to accelerate to V2 and all the drag of the gear hanging in the breeze.

The engine shutdown was past v1.

Please read the CVR transcript:

14:43:03.7 - F/O: "V1"
14:43:10.1 - Noise
[...]
14:43:13.0 - F/O: "Watch Out!"
14:43:13.4 - VHF: "Concorde, [...] you have flames behind you"
[...]
14:43:20.4 - F/E: "Failure engine 2"
[...]
14:43:22.8 - Engine Fire Alarm
[...]
14:43:24.8 - F/E: "Shutdown Engine 2"
14:43:25.8 - CPT: Engine Fire Procedure"


Please read my analysis, made after consultation with Concorde's Chief aerodynamicist, Clive Leyman. It shows that, regardless of the appropriateness of the F/E's shutting down engine no. 2, it would not have worked anyway as long as the fire was burning, because it was ingesting kerosene and/or flames. Even engine no. 1, farther away from the flames, did not reach its full power.

Even so, only one second after the Flight Engineer announced that he was going to shut down engine no. 2, the Captain ordered the engine fire procedure, which includes shutting down the engine. Presumably, the F/E took more than one second to announce his intentions, so it coincided with the Captain's orders.

Had the FE not embarked on that Maverick course of action there should have been enough Hyd pressure from the two lame engines to raise the gear and fly away.

1/ Engines 1 and 2 provide Green hydraulic pressure, which is the only hydraylic system available for gear retraction.

2/ Engine 1 was anything but lame. It was running, after a brief loss of power, at normal takeoff power, although, unlike engines 3 and 4, it did not quite reach the demanded contingency power.

2/ The gear could not be raised because tyre pieces had damaged a door, preventing door movement and thus a necessary signal for unlocking and movement of the landing gear proper.

When the fuel cells were empty the spectacular fuel fire would have ceased, with some good flying they may just have saved the day. Being two tonnes over max tyre speed did not help, neither did ignoring eight knots of tailwind.

1/ Those canisters in the aircraft that hold fuel are called "fuel tanks". a "Fuel Cell" is a hydrogen/oxygen-fueled cell that provides electric power. Concorde has no fuel cells.

2/ Assuming a constant fuel flow rate, the fire would have continued burning for at least another 2 minutes. As the fire prevented the left hand side engines from working normally, nothing could have been gained. In practice, fuel flow from the leak would reduce when the tank was becoming near empty. It is even conceivable that a nearly-empty tank might contain an explosive fuel-air-mixture and explode. Waiting for the tank to empty was not an option.

3/ The wing was starting to deform from the intense heat of the fire, accelerating loss of control.

4/ There are indications that the flight crew was well aware of a slight overweight/tail wind condition, leading to tyre stress very close to, or possibly slightly exceeding the rolling limit. Apparently they attempted, regardless of the approaching runway edge, a somewhat early, but slow, rotation.

The reason for the extraordinary tyre stress on Concorde aircraft is the combination of a very high Vr/V2 speeds, and practically zero lift prior to rotation. Rotation-initiation produces a small amount of negative lift for a brief time, so an early and slow rotation can alleviate tyre stress on Concorde takeoffs. Conventional aircraft already produce significant lift during takeoff roll before rotation.


AF ploughed in an A320 F-GGED [...]

What has this got to do with Concorde? Oh, you're trying to "prove" that all Air France cockpit crews are incompetent. Nice try.


Bernd

NVpilot
4th Jul 2008, 14:18
Bernd, you are obviously well informed, what is your opinion of why their takeoff roll was headed toward the edge of the runway to begin with, and is it possible that had they stayed near the centerline of the runway, they would have never hit any FOD?

Thank you in advance.

Xeque
4th Jul 2008, 14:42
NVPilot
The report states that the drift towards the left of centreline began after the tyre had been damaged.
Basically the report says (as far as my reading of it is concerned) that everything up to the point when they ran over the piece of metal (start up, taxi, line up and launch) was, in all respects, normal. That includes the CofG, the take-off weight and the tailwind component. Frankly, my understanding of the report is that the crew did nothing wrong and that it all went pear shaped after hitting the metal strip on the runway just before VR. Thereafter their fate was pretty much sealed.
Much has been made of the missing spacer on the undercarriage bogie but, again, the report categorically states that its absence had nothing to do with the accident.

lomapaseo
4th Jul 2008, 15:04
and is it possible that had they stayed near the centerline of the runway, they would have never hit any FOD?


I've walked a few runways both reactively as well as proactively.

Immediately following an incident the debris is distributed mostly along the flight path with about a 15 deg side to side dispersal.

Several days later the debris has migrated to the very edges within a foot or so of the grass overhang.

So yes the runways are cleaner along the center, but you can build a plane from the parts near the edges.

This part of the discussion is statistical at most and I am not sure of it's application to the courts.

bsieker
4th Jul 2008, 15:50
NVpilot,

Xeque's post pretty much sums it up, thanks a lot. If you don't believe it, take a look at the FDR data yourself, they're available as Appendix 4 to the official report. No rudder inputs out of the ordinary are recorded, up to the point where they hit the titanium strip. Centre line tracking and acceleration was normal.

The missing spacer may have slightly exacerbated the bogie movement after the tyre burst, but certainly not before. Even then its influence above and beyond the asymmetric forces caused by the burst tyre itself and asymmetric thrust would have been negligible.

Not specifically to NVpilot: when engaging in tirades against alleged French arrogance, please keep in mind that the AAIB was also involved in the investigation. Although they did contest some points, and complained about being hindered by the French judicial inquiries (separate from the BEA investigation!), they did not argue with the non-effect of the spacer.


Bernd

Robert Campbell
4th Jul 2008, 16:17
Look at the photos again. There are FOD deflectors on both aircraft

PJ2
4th Jul 2008, 19:36
Magplug;
The FE shut down an engine on the runway prior to V1 without any reference to anybody else on the flight deck (read the CVR transcript).

Nonsense. How could an engine be shut down "prior to V1" when the aircraft had not yet struck the debris on the runway and the engine had not yet been affected? It is you who needs to reference the Report, not I.

The report states:

At 14 h 42 min 31 s, the PF commenced takeoff. At 14 h 42 min 54.6 s, the PNF called
one hundred knots, then V1 nine seconds later.
A few seconds after that, tyre No 2 (right front) on the left main landing gear was
destroyed after having run over a piece of metal lost by an aircraft that had taken off five
minutes before. The destruction of the tyre in all probability resulted in large pieces of
rubber being thrown against the underside of the left wing and the rupture of a part of
tank 5. A severe fire broke out under the left wing and around the same time engines 1
and 2 suffered a loss of thrust, severe for engine 2, slight for engine 1.





The clearly anti-French agenda in your and others' posts is offensive to good flight safety work. As Bernd has observed, the AAIB participated in the Report. You may desire to hold and even broadcast such thoughts, but if you wish to establish and retain credibility insofar as a safety discussion goes (what, not who), a separation of personal vs. professional commentary is required.

pontifex
4th Jul 2008, 20:59
DL-EDI has hit the nail on the head when he says that the piece of tyre did NOT puncture the fuel tank and that it was an internal shock wave reflected from the upper surface of the tank that caused it to burst open. This eventuality had been anticipated by the manufacturer so that the clearance to service required that there should be an air gap between fuel and structure in this tank on take off, and this was incorporated in SOPs. Because the crash aircraft had elected to go for a short taxi (hence downwind T/O), this air gap did not exist because anticipated fuel had not been used. Just one link in the chain! But an important one that might constitute an intentional breach of SOPs.

DL-EDI
4th Jul 2008, 21:18
Pontifex:

Just for the record, that's a shade more than I was suggesting. :eek:

I wasn't aware of this aspect of the SOP and have no idea whether or not it was breached. :hmm:

Dysag
4th Jul 2008, 21:33
The "anti-French agenda" arises because the French will do anything to protect their national champions. In this case Air France.

It's not a secret that in France the truth will always be sacrificed to preserve the good reputation of AFR, Airbus, etc. The French public think that's normal, so why deny it?

atakacs
4th Jul 2008, 21:46
This eventuality had been anticipated by the manufacturer so that the clearance to service required that there should be an air gap between fuel and structure in this tank on take off, and this was incorporated in SOPs
Was that after the relatively similar incident in Washington in 1979 ?

Regarding early rotation I'm wondering if the pilot wanted to make sure to miss the 747 waiting on the left side of the runaway (in which french president Chirac was returning from a trip in Japan) ?

pontifex
4th Jul 2008, 22:03
DL-EDI has hit the nail on the head when he says that the piece of tyre did NOT puncture the fuel tank and that it was an internal shock wave reflected from the upper surface of the tank that caused it to burst open. This eventuality had been anticipated by the manufacturer so that the clearance to service required that there should be an air gap between fuel and structure in this tank on take off, and this was incorporated in SOPs. Because the crash aircraft had elected to go for a short taxi (hence downwind T/O), this air gap did not exist because anticipated fuel had not been used. Just one link in the chain! But an important one that might constitute an intentional breach of SOPs.

DL-EDI
4th Jul 2008, 22:06
Was that after the relatively similar incident in Washington in 1979 ?Unsurprisingly, I don't know but, as far as I do know, none of the earlier incidents were similar in that they resulted in more straight forward punctures of the skin rather than any significant shock wave.

pontifex
4th Jul 2008, 22:17
Sorry about the second identical posting - finger trouble! Atakacs - yes! I also understand that, had rotate been at the correct speed, the fire would not have been in contact with the structure and, had the aircraft stayed airborne just a little longer, all the fuel would have gone from the tank such was the size of the breach. The fire would have extinguished itself, and had the good engine not been shut down, there is a significant possibility that it could just have been a spectacular incident

Carrier
5th Jul 2008, 00:25
Quote: ".........how can a maintenance worker in Texas be considered subject to French criminal law?"

Try the same way the NatWest three were subject to USA law. Try the same way Charles Taylor of Liberia was subject to some self-appointed court in The Netherlands. Try the same way Manuel Noriega was apprehended via a military invasion in another country and made subject to the USA's courts. Then there are all the inmates of Guantanamo Bay.

Self-appointed kangaroo courts that give themselves worldwide jurisdiction are springing up all over the place and some existing courts in many countries, particularly the USA, are giving themselves worldwide jurisdiction. Political toadies such as those in the UK government kow-tow to this out of control pseudo-justice. If they had any balls they would put out warrants for the apprehension of all of those insolent foreign persons who have pushed their own courts aside and after trial and conviction let said foreign persons have many years to reflect on the wrongness of their insolent actions.

Frangible
5th Jul 2008, 15:20
AAIB wrote as a dissenting comment in the report that it could have been either the shock wave, or a penetration, or a combination of both that ruptured the wing skin and fuel tank. They said neither theory could claim precedence.

Informally, AAIB people were saying at the time that it was far more likely that it was a penetration by a lump of rubber since this had already happened, at Dulles in 79. There were IIRC some seven holes in the wing skin, and a passenger even saw a lump go through the top of the wing.

The French, I think, were anxious to conclude that the entire BTSC accident sequence was totally unprecedented -- which is why they came up with the, quite frankly, implausible theory about why the leaking fuel ignited -- because if any part of it had a precedent, then it should have been prevented from recurring. This explains the indictment by the French of DGCA people and some of the Concorde designers.

The French BEA said the afterburners lit the leaking fuel, the Brits that it was shorts in the wheel bay. Shorts had occurred in the wheel bay at Dulles and subsequent French research concluded that the possibility of that happening again was so remote that it was not worth guarding against, especially since tyre strength was improved. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see why these exotic explanations were arrived at.

BEagle
5th Jul 2008, 17:06
One question to which I've never seen the answer:

What was the Regulated TOW on departure? Not the ATOW or structural MTOW, but the performance limited TOW for the conditions of the day including the tailwind?

My feeling is that Marty knowingly began the take-off not only marginally over structural MTOW, but well over RTOW. In other words, he took a gamble with the passenger's lives by operating outside Scheduled Performance rules.

Then the uncommanded shut-down and poor CRM. Sorry, but the total blame lies with Air France culture which led to this risk-taking mentality. If they hadn't gambled on taking-off outside limits, they would never have hit the runway debris.

sox6
5th Jul 2008, 18:03
Mr Beagle - how do you characterise the Contental repair?

philbky
5th Jul 2008, 18:07
In my view equally reckless.

Ex Cargo Clown
5th Jul 2008, 18:44
One question to which I've never seen the answer:

What was the Regulated TOW on departure? Not the ATOW or structural MTOW, but the performance limited TOW for the conditions of the day including the tailwind?

My feeling is that Marty knowingly began the take-off not only marginally over structural MTOW, but well over RTOW. In other words, he took a gamble with the passenger's lives by operating outside Scheduled Performance rules.

Then the uncommanded shut-down and poor CRM. Sorry, but the total blame lies with Air France culture which led to this risk-taking mentality. If they hadn't gambled on taking-off outside limits, they would never have hit the runway debris.

I believe the RTOW was around 180,000.

I don't have a Concorde L&B manual with me, but I'm sure some do.

TODA was 3370m I believe, and 090@8 on RW 26.

Not sure of the temp, but I know the perf calcs were done with wind calm....

p7lot
5th Jul 2008, 19:17
I had the honour of knowing Christian Marty personally and did not have him down as a risk taker.
He was a true professional and a credit to AF.
I see nothing to be gained by the impending legalities and would rather offer once again my thoughts to his family, the crew and pax.
May they rest in peace.

atakacs
5th Jul 2008, 21:08
My feeling is that Marty knowingly began the take-off not only marginally over structural MTOW, but well over RTOW. In other words, he took a gamble with the passenger's lives by operating outside Scheduled Performance rules.

My view is that the Concorde was not always operated "by the book" just as - unfortunately - many other airframes. However the safety margins where significantly lower than with "normal" birds. But at the end of the day just with any aircraft accident the holes lined up.

Frankly once they rotated early and shut down #2 their fate was sealed. In retrospect I really see this as one of the most unfortunate accident in recent history. Sure there was some negligence by Conti staff, ADP, Air France, the crew or even the certification authorities but it's really hard to blame anyone to the extent of a judiciary sanction.

Just my 2c

PJ2
5th Jul 2008, 21:39
atakacs:
Frankly once they rotated early and shut down #2 their fate was sealed.
I respectfully disagree. The report has examined the early rotation and indicated that the effect on the accident sequence was immaterial, as was the shutting down, by the requirements in the book, of #2 and which never developed much more than idle thrust post-fire. Their fate was sealed once the fire began. The relevant section of the report is,

1.16.13.3 Effect of the Early Rotation

To study the effect of the early rotation on the aircraft’s initial climb, a model of the
aircraft’s track in the vertical plane was made based on the following hypotheses:

• VR = 198 kt and trim = 13°, values written on the takeoff sheet,

• loss of engine thrust identical to that on the accident flight.

Note: the 13° trim is what is planned to counter an engine failure on takeoff.

In these conditions, at cycle 97660, thus before the final loss of thrust on engine 1, the
altitude would have been 470 feet and the speed 200 kt.

These values would not have made it possible to counter the loss of a second engine.

1.16.13.4 Consequences of Aborting the Takeoff

Two simulations of a possible acceleration-stop were performed, one based on the
aircraft’s speed when the rotation was commenced (that is to say in fact the first moment
when the crew could have been warned by unusual sensations), at 183 kt, the other at
196 kt, when the FE said what can be understood as “stop”.

The simulations were conducted with the following hypotheses:

• braking on seven wheels, to take into account the destruction of tyre No 2,

• braking torque available at nominal value until the maximum energy indicated in
the Flight Manual (70 MJ), increased by 10%,

• use of thrust reversers on engines 1, 3 and 4.

With this set of hypotheses, it appears that the residual speed of the aircraft at the end of
the runway would have been 74 kt for a takeoff aborted at 183 kt and 115 kt for a takeoff
aborted at 196 kt.
These figures show that an aborted takeoff would have led to a runway excursion at such
a speed that, taking into account the fire, the result would probably have been
catastrophic for the aircraft and its occupants., my emphases.

Regarding accidents and your observation,
In retrospect I really see this as one of the most unfortunate accident in recent history.
Not sure how much you know about recent accident history, causal paths, the effects of broad-reaching forces such as airline safety culture (Flt Ops and Maintenance) and human factors but, without denying that this is indeed a terribly tragic accident, it is by no means and no stretch, alone in it's genesis and tragic outcome. Many of us here can cite accident after accident in which the causal pathways were known beforehand and, through the "Normalization of Deviance", were set aside in favour of either politics or commercial interests or combinations of both. This forum is chock-full of such discussions, made all the more disconcerting in the face of introducing SMS - an-essentially self-regulatory safety environment - really, the "de-regulation of safety".

I understand very well, what you're trying to say in empathizing with those affected by this particular tragedy but please keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of others so affected by other, equally, especially tragic outcomes which, but for all factors lining up, were, in hindsight, preventable, and, as I watch data and what is being done with it locally - (ie, nothing), I can see causal pathways developing as we speak and, quite frankly, do not sleep at night.

The work of flight safety today is preventative. Kicking tin, reading DFDRs and listening to last words on CVRs is only designed to prevent the second accident, not the first. With today's capabilities in data analysis, knowledge of human factors and the prohibitive, (perhaps airline-ending) costs of an accident, such an approach is intolerable if not perhaps criminal. Pre-emptive actions on the part of operators is essential in an SMS environment for without it, and with the tendency to reduce hiring standards to staff cockpits around the world, the accident rate is going to rise.

If an operator is in possession of safety data in which the understood causal pathways of an accident such as non-stable approaches, long landings, idle-thrust landings, not following SOPs, are indicating high risk, and that operator does nothing with the data or merely creates the illusion of action when none in fact is taking place, that operator is taking the same risks, though this time, with clear knowledge, as those who normalized deviance with various aspects of the Concorde operation. Because of all this, it is important to comprehend that the Concorde accident is in many ways, "not special". Now please, I do NOT mean this to sound callous nor do I dismiss this tragedy as nothing special, but mean that the factors which put this beautiful airplane with it's passengers in harm's way are not unique to Concorde.

BEagle
5th Jul 2008, 22:33
I believe the RTOW was around 180,000.

So that would put them 5-6 tonnes outside performance limits.

When told the wind was not calm, but was an 8 knot tailwind, and knowing that they'd only used 800 kg of the 2000 kg assumed for taxying, why did none of the crew query the performance issue?

My view is that the Concorde was not always operated "by the book".......

I think you'll find that BA certainly always operated Concorde by the book!

sispanys ria
6th Jul 2008, 17:57
I think you'll find that BA certainly always operated Concorde by the book!
If I were you I wouldn't be so proud because even if BA operated the plane as in the books, it's still a shame as an operator to fly that aircraft knowing all the preceding tyres' issues without initiating any correction. The continental piece, the missing boogie part, the tail wind (which in fact was calm on the contrary of what the ATC announced, read the report), the 6 t overweight are ALL contributing factors to the accident, BUT concorde didn't need all theses factors in the dozens of preceding incidents related to tyre bursts (with some fuel tank perforations). This mean the aircraft had a latent problem which neither the designers nor the operators decided to solve over 20 years.
There is nothing to be proud about operating an aircraft in these conditions, even if it is as in the books.

By the way, thanks for blaming and naming a dead colleague.

llondel
6th Jul 2008, 18:08
The aviation safety database lists 65 BA incidents since 1978, all but eight of which were Concorde incidents. This includes such gems as "No. 4 tyre burst due to FOD; damage to wheels no. 7 and 8 and engines no. 3 and 4." (An entry from 1979.)

Most of the others are related to tyre failures, with occasional bits dropping off in flight and the odd engine hiccup.

ATC Watcher
6th Jul 2008, 22:20
PJ2 thank you for your posts, very informative.

2 remarks :

1- from an ATC point of view , as Heathrow Director already pointed out, it is not a requirement in any place that I know of to visually inspect the runway before every departure. You have to do so at prescribed intervals, and/or after a FO is reported by someone or is suspected to be in there. Nothing more.

2-Re The Continental "strip" : I have heard ( rumour) that the French Prosecutor was shown a series of photos showing part of the engine cowling that the " strip" was supposed to cover, and that those photos implied a certain degree of negligence over a long period of time on the maintenance part of that aircraft..
The next argument is that should the part had been the original one ( in Aluminum ?) it could have been run over more safely. The non-standard part was in Titanium ( much harder) and was prone to be lost over time as it could not be attached properly because the cowling had a dozen or so holes from earlier attempts to attach similar strips .
The next argument is that other previous strips must have detached before and Continental maintenance must have known about the danger.

I do not think the judge will say that the Continental strip is the main cause of the accident but he might give a certain percentage of responsibility (i.e part of the damage claims ) to Continental insurance company...

stepwilk
7th Jul 2008, 03:06
1/ Those canisters in the aircraft that hold fuel are called "fuel tanks". a "Fuel Cell" is a hydrogen/oxygen-fueled cell that provides electric power. Concorde has no fuel cells.

My racecar, a Porsche 911, has a "fuel cell." I has nothing to do with hydrogen being consumed to create electricity. It is what in the racing business is universally called a "fuel cell"--an aluminum gasoline tank filled with an absorbent medium that largely encapsulates the gas in the case of a crash. All serious racecars have fuel cells.

visibility3miles
7th Jul 2008, 08:35
When this story was first reported, the brief radio commentary I heard about this had two points:

1) The piece that fell off was "supposed" to be aluminum (aluminium), but was actually titanium, which being a sturdier metal caused the tire puncture.

2) The pilot is ultimately responsible for a safe flight, so should not have taken off under unsafe conditions.
---------
Hard to argue with the simple logic behind the second point. The plane crashed, so it clearly wasn't a safe flight and thus was the pilot's "responsibility" (fault.) Beyond the death penalty handed out at the time, it's difficult to see where else to take it. :(

I suppose they expect every pilot to make a full inspection of the runway before takeoff. The reduction in traffic should make ATC's job much easier. :ugh:

Note, I'm criticizing the radio jockey's comments rather than the merits of the case.

sispanys ria
7th Jul 2008, 10:06
The runway inspection has nothing to do with this issue.
A safe aircraft is supposed to be able to suffer a tyre loss without causing fuel tank perforation, fire, and loss of control.

Concorde used to blow its tyres even without continental's help, and this for years, without any action of the manufacturer or the operators (AF & BA). This accident is an opportunity to put into the light some serious lacks in Air France procedures, maintenance as for Continental, but this is NOT the fundamental cause of the accident. To my opinion, AF & BA holds the main responsibility in exposing for so many years the passengers to such well known risks without taking any action. It is absolutely silly to pretend BA operated safer flights than AF, the main issue was a design issue absolutely known by both operators. In any circumstances they should have tolerated to operate an aircraft with such high risks.

forget
7th Jul 2008, 12:27
F-BTSC(203), being originally a model 100 (that would have been converted to a model 103 for Pan-Am), was the heaviest Concorde of all the Air France fleet: it was just under one ton heavier and two years older than the lighter and youngest F-BTSD (213).

Here (http://www.concordesst.com/accident/203a.html)

One ton seems rather a lot for 'production variations' + Mods. No?

lomapaseo
7th Jul 2008, 14:02
sispanys ria

The runway inspection has nothing to do with this issue.
A safe aircraft is supposed to be able to suffer a tyre loss without causing fuel tank perforation, fire, and loss of control.


I agree with everything that you say above

However the "issue" has two parts. The airworthiness part and the civil part.

The airworthiness part as discussed above has been addressed by removing the certificate. The civil part operates under entirely different standards and is to be addressed in a french court (an eye for an eye).

Ex Cargo Clown
7th Jul 2008, 14:49
My previous post in this thread was a bit too black, but what I am trying to say is that regardless of all the good technical discussions taking place, in simple terms it is really bad aviation to have bits fall off an aeroplane and then running over them at 100+ km/h. This should just not be happening.

I'd suggest having a skipper happy to take an aircraft over MTOW and way, way over RTOW is even worse aviation.

Typically the French are trying to incriminate others to deflect attention from their own faults.

layinlow
7th Jul 2008, 15:15
Regardless of the cause one thing is for certain. If we are to criminalize aircraft accidents, then we are going to set airline safety back 50 years. Instead of working together with authorities during accident investigations airline personnel, if they are smart, will dummy up for fear of prosecution. It started with Value Jet and continues today.
Mistakes happen. Do you acutally think that any mechanic, pilot, or otherwise goes to work thinking "I think I will cause an accident today"? Hardly.

ix_touring
7th Jul 2008, 22:21
BEagle,
I think you'll find that BA certainly always operated Concorde by the book!

So the pic of a mate’s ex wife (CC) sitting on the flight deck (not jump seated) is SOP/by the book?!?

Certainty breeds complacency…

iX

Bronx
9th Jul 2008, 11:14
If we are to criminalize aircraft accidents, then we are going to set airline safety back 50 years.

Well said. :ok:

whiskeyflyer
15th Jul 2008, 09:01
can a anybody tell me where to find the EAD 001-09-2001 relating to the accident (the AD issued after the offical accident report)
I have looked in EASA and UK CAA sites and cannot source

Thanks

Finn47
12th Jan 2009, 17:22
Update today: manslaughter trial to start in 2010, according to French prosecutors.

French Concorde Crash Manslaughter Trial To Begin In Feb 2010 (http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200901121014DOWJONESDJONLINE000335_FORTUNE5.htm)

airfoilmod
12th Jan 2009, 21:15
67 tire blowouts and seven tank ruptures? Manslaughter seems rather an ambitious path. Willful negligence and lack of disclosure, purposeful wrongdoing? Continental or Air France? Air France. CAL was trying to fix something (non-standard?). Air France was trying not to.

captplaystation
12th Jan 2009, 21:29
Well, obviously very pressing for them to sort this out, 10 feckin years :confused:
I know the wheels of justice turn slowly in France , , , , , mes franchiment :hmm:

SPA83
13th Jan 2009, 05:56
Quote:
"If we are to criminalize aircraft accidents, then we are going to set airline safety back 50 years."


No, you must make the difference between a mistake and a fault. Maintaining the Concorde airworthiness so many years with so many precursory accidents and serious incidents is a serious fault

Bobman84
31st Jan 2010, 03:53
Continental on trial for deadly Concorde crash | Herald Sun (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/continental-on-trial-for-deadly-concorde-crash/story-e6frf7jx-1225825158120)

US airline Continental and two of its employees go on trial this week for the manslaughter of 113 people who died in a Concorde crash that put an end to the dream of supersonic travel.

US airline Continental and two of its employees go on trial this week for the manslaughter of 113 people who died in a Concorde crash that put an end to the dream of supersonic travel.
A former French civil aviation official and two senior members of the Concorde program will be tried on the same charge from Tuesday in a court near Paris, with proceedings expected to last four months.

The New York-bound jet crashed in a ball of fire shortly after take-off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on July 25, 2000, killing all 109 people on board - most of them Germans - and four hotel workers on the ground.
The blazing Concorde demolished an airport hotel when it hurtled to the ground in a crash that marked the beginning of the end for the world's first -- and thus far only -- regular supersonic jet service.

Air France and British Airways grounded their Concordes for 15 months after the crash and, after a brief resumption, finally put an end to supersonic commercial service in 2003.

The plane, born of British and French collaboration, embarked on its maiden commercial flight in 1976. Only 20 were manufactured: six were used for development and the remaining 14 flew mainly trans-Atlantic routes at speeds of up to 2170km/h.

A French accident inquiry concluded in December 2004 that the Paris disaster was partly caused by a strip of metal that fell on the runway from a Continental Airlines DC-10 plane that took off just before the supersonic jet.
The Concorde, most of whose German passengers were due to board a Caribbean cruise ship in New York, ran over the super-hard titanium strip, which shredded one of its tyres, causing a blow-out and sending debris flying into an engine and a fuel tank.

Continental is charged over a failure to properly maintain its aircraft, along with two US employees: John Taylor, a mechanic who allegedly fitted the non-standard strip, and airline chief of maintenance Stanley Ford.
An arrest warrant was issued for Mr Taylor after he failed to show up to be questioned by investigators here, and, according to his lawyer, he will not be attending the trial in the court in Pontoise, northwest of Paris.
Mr Taylor's lawyer declined to say if his client would show up in court.
The former Concorde officials and French aviation boss are also accused of failing to detect and set right faults on the supersonic aircraft, brought to light during the investigation and thought to have contributed to the crash.
Henri Perrier was director of the first Concorde program at Aerospatiale, now part of the EADS group, from 1978 to 1994, while Jacques Herubel was Concorde's chief engineer from 1993 to 1995.

Both men are accused of ignoring warning signs from a string of incidents on Concorde planes, which during their 27 years of service suffered dozens of tyre blowouts or wheel damage that in several cases pierced the fuel tanks.
Finally Claude Frantzen, director of technical services at the French civil aviation authority DGAC from 1970 to 1994, is accused of overlooking a fault on Concorde's distinctive delta-shaped wings, which held its fuel tanks.
The trial will seek to pin down the share of responsibility of the US airline, the Concorde and French aviation officials.
Most of the victims' families agreed not to take legal action in exchange for compensation from Air France, EADS, Continental and the Goodyear tyre manufacturer.
The amount they received has not been made public, but reports said that around $US100 million ($A111.78 million) was shared out among some 700 relatives of the dead.
Throughout the eight-year investigation, Continental pledged to fight any charges in the case.

Flyingmac
2nd Feb 2010, 11:27
BBC News - France Concorde crash trial set to begin (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8492561.stm)

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 11:46
In the hands of true professionals Concorde was an extremely safe aircraft indeed. But this crash followed many French near-misses, spread over all the years of Concorde operation. Misses due to questionable airmanship or maintenance, often combinations of both. Maybe we will get the truth and not a cover up this time?

max alt
2nd Feb 2010, 12:07
I would suggest this is more about compensation.This is one time when all the holes lined up in the swiss cheese.A tragic loss of life and the end of an era.
J

dontdoit
2nd Feb 2010, 12:15
Let's have another one, get DGAC on trial for allowing the continuing use of English/French at CDG & elsewhere...now there's a real accident waiting to happen (again).

Beanbag
2nd Feb 2010, 13:35
I'd suggest it's more about French face-saving. Maybe we'll hear some details of the arguments in due course, but it seems a strange. IIRC the story is that a bit fell of a CO aircraft, wasn't cleared off the runway before the Concorde began its takeoff roll, and then caused the fatal puncture to the fuel tank. But bits do fall of aircraft now and again, and if the finger of blame points anywhere here (and we don't just say it was a tragic lining up of holes) then wouldn't the airport be first in line for not clearing the runway?

forget
2nd Feb 2010, 13:59
I'd suggest it's more about French face-saving.

And how will they do this with a six tonnes overweight aircraft, down-wind take off, misaligned main gear bogie (bits missing after maintenance) and a Flight Engineer shutting down a power producing engine? Not to mention tyres which BA had decided were inferior to their Dunlops.

Nubboy
2nd Feb 2010, 14:10
All will be revealed due to the magic combination of vested political interests and very well paid corporate lawyers.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 14:16
......Not to mention MULTIPLE eye-witness acounts (some of them French firemen!!) stating that the L/H gear area had flames eminaing long before the aircraft reached the titanium strip. . all of these accounts were dismissed out of hand by the BEA. (Oh, and ask the BEA who found out that the bogie spacerwas missing... it was a British engineer assisting at the crash site).

ZBMAN
2nd Feb 2010, 14:47
If this thread is going to turn into the usual french bashing, then it is a horrible waste of pprune's bandwidth.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 14:54
This is NOT French bashing, in fact there is pressure in France to finally get the truth out about this tragic accident. There has seems to have been a deliberate and orchestrated hiding of facts from the very begining. Please read and learn and don't be so patronising sir. Honest debate is what PPrune forums are all about.

Capetonian
2nd Feb 2010, 15:08
I read down this thread from top to bottom and was waiting for something like this If this thread is going to turn into the usual french bashing, then it is a horrible waste of pprune's bandwidth. to rear its head.

Why is it a waste of bandwidth? If people have opinions surely this is the place to voice them. It has been acknowledged from the start that there were operational and maintenance related deficiencies in the way the SSC was operated by AF, and more recently there has been a lot of talk, speculation if you prefer, about the standards of airmanship in AF after a spate of incidents.

Fingers have been pointed at Continental stating that they were to blame for the tragedy. Can you blame the people there for wanting to clear their name?

By the way, as I recall, the Captain (Christian Marty if my memory is correct) was one of AF's most experienced and well regarded captains, so it will be interesting to see what comes out in this enquiry.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 15:26
Gobonastick. I'm not sure f you understand anything about this dreadful tragedy, but the French Judiciary are blaming Continental Airllnes for the bulk of the accident. Most relevantly learned people here are of the opinion that the explosive destruction of the tyre was more due to a comnination of being grossly overweight, the front wheels on the L/H U/C skewing badly from true (due to the missing spacer) and running over a very rough (awaiting repair) initial runway surface, NOT the strip on the runway.. Oh, and also the fuel tanks were under pressure, due to illegal placement of fuel inlet valves to over-ride, ('hiding' fuel in the fuel transfer galleries from the fuel gauging system/fuel weight computation). So when the tyre destruction occured (not a blow out in the normal sense) we have a terrible set of ingredients. This overweight aircraft veered hard along the L/H side of the runway, took out a taxi llight which in turn seriously damaged an engine. It then took off on 3 1/2 engines, way below V2 and in flames. A good, thrust producing engine was then shut down leaving 2 1/2 engines. RAF studies show that the only hope of extinguishing such a fuel fed fire is enough IAS to cause the flames to become detached from the source. The Bogie Beam alignment circuit on the L/H gear had been damaged, preventing raising of the gear. The aircraft desperately needed to climb and accelerate to survive; it could do neither, and tragically came down on the hotel at Gonez.

nnc0
2nd Feb 2010, 15:33
Can somebody clarify why a charge of involuntary manslaughter has been applied in this case. I've seen this before in European aviation accidents but don't understand why it is applied in some cases and not others. What criteria must be satisfied that result in charges being laid against individuals.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 17:16
But this crash followed many French near-misses, spread over all the years of Concorde operation. Misses due to questionable airmanship or maintenance, often combinations of both.

Actually BA suffered a higher number of serious tires incidents than AF... (BA: 5 previous occurrences of fuel tank perforations due to tire incidents and associated engines damages. AF: 1 previous occurrence).
All of these incidents could have led to exactly the same result. There was a major issue with the aircraft, voluntary ignored for decades by operators, civil aviations, crews and manufacturer. The tire incidents rate and related repetitive extensive damages have nothing to do with airmanship or maintenance (even if it played a significant role in 2000), it's above all a major design issue and blatant lacks of responsibilities from all involved parties (certainly not only French).

I think this is pretty clear:
http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-sc000725a/pdf/appendix5p.pdf

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 17:32
Oh dear, I do love armchair critics!! The REASON that BA had more incidents than AF was because BA both operated more A/C (7 as opposed to 5) and flew infinitely greater hours. Before you make statements like this you need to be in posession of a few facts. OK, everyone accepts that the original high pressure tyre design was far too volatile shall we say, but any damage done was relatively minor. No British aircraft ever had an A4 section of the lower wing blown out. And get your facts right before you make such statements about something you clearly know nothing about; many modifications were carried out to reduce/minimise tyre blow out incidents. And as people have been trying to explain to people like you, the BEA report was terribly tainted, with half-truths and ignored evidence. We an all post hyperlinks.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 18:14
The REASON that BA had more incidents than AF was because BA both operated more A/C (7 as opposed to 5) and flew infinitely greater hours.

Whatever was the reason, the fact is that there were enough occurrences to take appropriate actions from a CAA & manufacturer point of view.

but any damage done was relatively minor

You call this minor?

1981 Impacts on wing, Tank 5 penetrated, Hydraulics, Elevon, Engines 1/2/3
1985 Impacts on fuselage, damage to brake, Tank 5 penetrated, Engines 1 and 2, Deflector+I67
1988 Loss of wheel bolts, Impacts on wing, Tank 7 damaged
1993 Impacts on wing, Tank 8 penetrated, Green hydraulics, Engine 3, Deflector
1993 Impacts on wing, Deflector, Tank 1 penetrated

And get your facts right before you make such statements about something you clearly know nothing about

What is untrue in my statement and what make you think I know nothing about it?
By the way the issue with the missing spacer wasn't on the takeoff phases but during the landings preceding the accident...

Brit312
2nd Feb 2010, 18:36
Oh dear here we go again, so let me state that I have got no new information as to what caused the sad Concorde crash, but I might be able to help as to what happened in the past.

1] BA in the early years of operation did have a number of tyre problems with Concorde, but these were caused by FOD mainly on the departure stands.Concorde had very hard and high pressure tyres and so any FOD which was run over during push back or taxi usually penetrated the tyre and caused a deflation [slow or otherwise] of that tyre, but it now caused the other tyre on that axle to be overloaded, which usually caused it to shed its tread during the take off run. This detached tread usually damage the hydraulic pipes on the landing gear, sometimes damaged the wing, but nearly always was accompaanied by high vibration, surging engines [Usually both on that side]as the two engines ate the remains of the tyre. The vibration could be so bad that it was difficult to see the engine instruements. Once the tyre debrie had passed through the engine the vibration would stop and the engines operated normally, the only give away that they had run down was the yaw of the aircraft. Damage to the wing was normally done by the fibre glass/ metal water deflector in front of the tyres being ripped off [by the departing tread] and hitting the wing.

To over come this certain mods were introduced
1] Flat tyre detection system was introduced
2] Protection guards positioned over exposed hydraulic pipes on the the
landing gear
3] Stronger tyres and hubs were introduced
4] Metal reinforcing wires were fitted into the water deflector to prevent it
from detaching itself and so hitting the wing

All BA Concordes had all these Mods incorporated

Also BA introduced a vigorous inspection of the push back area prior to departure

If my memory serves me correctly by the 1990s only one company made the tyres for Concorde, which only used NEW tyres and not remoulds or retreads.
IIRC that company was Kleber

One thing about Concorde was that it had 3 hydraulic systems two normal and one emergency backup. These system were kept rigidly apart except at the flying controls power control jacks. Now Concorde had no mechanical back up to it's flying controls and so if all hyds was lost then there would be no way of controlling the aircraft, which as it was a delta wing would then pitch very nose up and possibly turn over.
If you look at the picture of the aircraft taking off you can see that the flames are playing over the port inner elevon PFCU and I suggest would not take long to melt the hydraulic pipes of all three system so causing a complete hyd loss and so complete loss of control of the aircraft
If my theory is correct the result might have been the same no matter what the crew did or how many engines were running.

Just to finish up with the missing spacer apparently was missing for the previous 3 round trips of Paris to New York and those crews did not mention having any problems with the aircraft.

Anyway a sad accident, as they all are.

Brit312

norodnik
2nd Feb 2010, 18:45
"Just seems a remarkable coincidence to me that a clear cut in the tyre matched the shape of the metal strip which fell off the CO jet."

Before you continue with your dumb conclusions, why don't you go and do a bit of background reading. You'll then be armed with all the facts so blatantly ignored by our French Cousins.

The fire started no where near the titanium strip. It's not disputed that the tyre ran over it (eventually), but what is clear is that the aircaft should have been in the air long before it ever reached it. Why it wasn't is well understood by most (non-BEA) and has already been alluded to above.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 18:49
Still 14 tire incidents after 1990 including 4 involving deflectors on BA's aircraft... 24 years of clearly identified and documented incidents. The FAA clearly expressed its concerned following the 1979 incident without appropriate action from the CAA, AAIB/BEA or manufacturer...

Before you continue with your dumb conclusions, why don't you go and do a bit of background reading. You'll then be armed with all the facts so blatantly ignored by our French Cousins.

It's funny to start your sentence with dumb conclusions and to end it with the same :E

norodnik
2nd Feb 2010, 18:59
so what are you trying to say... That Concorde is/was the only aircraft flying that had some identified weakness and should have been grounded.

The risk was understood, and mitigated as far as possible. As many have said previously, 737's, MD11's still fly around despite having well publicised faults and there are plenty other issues less well publicised.

The facts show why Concorde crashed on that day and had it been operated and maintained as per the manuals it would have had an immeasurably better chance of surviving.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 19:03
Very good points Brit312, but remember that bearing migration if the spacer was ommited would almost certainly be progressive, not sudden. Remamber that this take off was grossly over weight, with a CG well aft of the MAXIMUM allowable 54%, over an initially VERY rough surface not being used by any other traffic. (The runway, 26L was damaged at it's extremity and no other aircraft were using full length). The aft CG alone would have radically reduced the effectiveness of the nose wheel steering. (Oh, and the takeoff was into wind too). It takes very little imagination to picture the trauma that the L/H gear was experiencding. Your points regarding fire damage possibly seem valid, although PFCU pipes were titanium, if I remember rightly,but the FDR showed that the aircraft just ran out of flying speed when it came down. The whole point here is to try and get all of the facts out, not just those that suit AF!!
But over all, a good post with accurate information.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 19:06
It's funny to start your sentence with dumb conclusions and to end it with the same

If the cap fits, then wear it. It seems to fit you perfectly sir!!

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 19:15
The risk was understood, and mitigated as far as possible.
Are you convinced by what you are saying considering that mitigation didn't prevent occurrences to happen 24 years after the first one, including numerous similar fuel tank perforations?

As many have said previously, 737's, MD11's still fly around despite having well publicised faults and there are plenty other issues less well publicised.

737 and MD11 might have some faults, you can't compare the amount of hours flown by concordes with other aircrafts. Concorde had a tire incidents rate 300.000 times higher than on A330. Not only the tire incidents couldn't be reduced to a reasonable level, but the main issue with the fuel tanks being regularly perforated was not mitigated. This has little to do with one specific operator or one specific country...

ABO944
2nd Feb 2010, 19:20
I was wondering who produced the loadsheet for this flight. Was it completed by a dispatcher or by the crew ?

Who signed for it ? If it was a dispatcher, is he one of the 5 people on trial too?

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 19:36
737 and MD11 might have some faults, you can't compare the amount of hours flown by concordes with other aircrafts. Concorde had a tire incidents rate 300.000 times higher than on A330. Not only the tire incidents couldn't be reduced to a reasonable level, but the main issue with the fuel tanks being regularly perforated was not mitigated. This has little to do with one specific operator or one specific country...

OH COME ON SFLY, we can all Google statistics, this does not make you knowledgable. There is an old adage that the further you are away from a problem, the simpler it seems; you must be a million miles away. Certain other aircraft were allowed to continue with known stab trim, freight door and other problems, and MANY lives were lost as a result. But this is not at issue here (I'm not stooping to your level and bash Boeing/MD etc); Up until the Paris disaster Concorde never hurt a soul (actually helped save many lives with regular donated organ flights across the Atlantic). This is the stuff that a person jealous of, or not good enough for Concorde might say. I saw with my own eyes the majority of British incidents, did you? No matter what Google tells you, the material and systems damage was relatively minor

Brit312
2nd Feb 2010, 19:38
M2dude,
Yes you are correct about the the runway but I thought the aircraft was taking off with a tail wind which in itself was not unusual but not at MTOW I have to say.

As I remember it the the aircraft was 1000 kgs estimated over weight which I know sounds a lot, but at the rate Concorde used fuel during the takeoff
[ 100,000 kgs/hr/ac] that excess would have been not considered too much of a performance problem.

You are correct though that one of the problems with a 54% take off was light nosewheel steering control,and yes especially if the runway was bumpy but when runway directional control became a problem wasn't the aircraft approaching V1 when rudder would have been the principal control.

Concorde was extremely sensitive to high nose up attitudes because of the extremely rapid increase in drag so any un intended increase in attitude would cause a rapid loss of airspeed. Without hydraulic all the automatic high incidence protection devices were useless and there was nothing they could do to stop it increasing, even more power would not have helped

You have to wonder why if the aircraft was indeed heavy and they were faced with a tail wind for takeoff , why they did not opt for a different runway, but I am sure if they were alive today they would be asking themselves the same questions.

Brit312

forget
2nd Feb 2010, 19:54
SFLY By the way the issue with the missing spacer wasn't on the takeoff phases but during the landings preceding the accident...

Eh? Are you saying that the aircraft had flown and landed, before the accident, with the bogie spacer missing. New one on me. See page 64 here

http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-sc000725a/pdf/f-sc000725a.pdf

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 19:57
Up until the Paris disaster Concorde never hurt a soul

That's a very brilliant deduction. All of the previous 6 incidents with fuel tank perforations could virtually have led to the same result. The fuel tank perforation per flight hour ratio of the concorde is far far above any other aircraft's ratio of major issue per flight hour.

If you would have fully read the final report (and be "knowledgeable") you should know why my numbers aren't coming from google.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 19:58
BRIT 312 sir; I think that you will find that the 'estmated' 1 Tonne overweight does not take into account 19 suitcases not on the loadsheet, placed in the aft hold. We can only 'guestimate', but these were good folk going on a world cruise, these cases are unlikely to be very light.
Also remember that it has not been satisfactorilly explaind why there was large amounts of right rudder applied early on the T/O roll, with no heading change. What you have to realise about the 'bumpy' runway is that the rougness was at the extreme end; ie the beginning of the T/O roll, and that was where the damage was done. Remember, the early part of the T/O requires NWS as well as rudder for full control. By the time the A/C was travelling fast enough for the rudder to become effective, the A/C was already well over to the right, because of the U/C problems.
Your point about flying at the backside of the drag curve is of course correct, however there is no evidence that there was a detected loss of B, G or Y fluid. As I said before,did not have sufficient IAS, and the A/C needed to climb and accelerate, but because of reported factors it could do neither, once engine 2 was shut down there was absolutely no chance of survival.

forget
2nd Feb 2010, 20:02
..... the A/C was already well over to the right, because of the U/C problems.

Well over to the left.

Chronus
2nd Feb 2010, 20:06
The whole sad affair is reminiscent of the tragic loss of Flight 981, the Turkish Airlines DC10 which crashed into Grove of Damartin in the Forest of Ermenonville north of Paris on 3 March 1974. Initially a poor baggage handler was blamed. Now we have a hapless welder who stands in his place. In the case of the 1974 crash the subsequent investigation revealed the complexities of truth and proved that truth is never simple but it is always pure. It is my sincere hope that this trial will achieve the same.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 20:09
I didn't yet check the P64 of your document but there were 4 previous flights without spacer before the accident.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 20:11
Again, SFLY, like all armchair critics you just do not get the point. We've (the rest of the world that is) established that the 'final' BEA report (that I'm sure you lovingly downloaded) was totally tainted; more about protecting AF than giving a totally honest objective report. The previous incidents were minor perforations in comparison. There were NOT EVER any British events of gushing fuel, ever. Tank inlet valves illegally being set to O/R resulted, for reasons that you just would not understand. all of the tanks becoming pressurised. Tank 2 exploded OUTWARDS, this was not a simple tye burst, but DESTRUCTION of the tyre. Please stop criticising something you clearly do not understand, or do you have a private agenda?.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 20:13
Sorry Forget, my bad. That's what happens when you type too fast.

ExSp33db1rd
2nd Feb 2010, 20:18
All will be revealed due to the magic combination of vested political interests and very well paid corporate lawyers

The only truth that will come out of this tragic affair.

The only reason now is to decide who pays.

Says it all, and that's not only confined to French investigations, either.


I think that this thread should end right here.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 20:22
The previous incidents were minor perforations in comparison. There were NOT EVER any British events of gushing fuel, ever.Buddy, I was among the firsts to criticize the final report even before its public release.
Now you can tell me whatever you want about the size of the holes in BA's concordes tanks, there were still 5 occurrences of tank perforations caused by tire incidents. How can you seriously pretend these shouldn't have been considered as major issues? If appropriate mitigation of the fuel tanks perforations risks had been enforced, the Paris accident would only have been another non-fatal tire issue.

It's precisely because previous occurrences (which you consider as minor) have been voluntary ignored by authorities and operators than nothing was done to prevent the accident to occur following another tire incident.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 20:26
The whole point is to try and get the WHOLE truth out in the public domain. This has arguably been one of the biggest accident cover ups in aviation history. Trying to put the bulk of the blame on Continental Airlines is both wrong and pathetic; you have to look back at a state run airline being prepared for eventual privatisation. Did you not notice that AF are in no way implicated in court?
I'm sure the thread will continue sir.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 20:31
SFLY; the incidents were all considered serious, and where necessary dealt with as far as possible with several modificaions. This was a case of several mistakes all happening together. I seriously doubt that any wing undersurface would have been intact, given the combination of fuel tanks pressurised and such a massive tyre explosion. This was NOT a blow out, it was the total destruction of the tyre.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 20:36
Trying to put the bulk of the blame on Continental Airlines is both wrong and pathetic

No need to blame Continental.
AF, BA, the BEA, the AAIB, the DGAC, the CAA and the manufacturer should all be held accountable for ignoring the serious issues which occurred for almost 3 decades.
Not only the rate of tire incidents was insane, but the extent of potential dramatic consequences were clearly known. Tolerating fuel tank perforations on an afterburner civilian transport aircraft is a very innovative approach of flight safety.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 20:49
Oh dear SFLY, back to our armchair rant again are we? You clearly seem unable to grasp anything here, a lot has been explained to you (by people, unlike you, who DO know what they are talking about). You play statistics like a musical instrument (you're playing off key too).
The fact that Concorde had Reheat/Afterburner is irrelevent. Again, and read this now, there were NEVER any cases of ANY British aircraft streaming fuel. Maybe a shrink can cure your SST complex.

robertbartsch
2nd Feb 2010, 20:54
Isn't Continental's defense an uphill battle? Ok, so apparently there were many factors in the crash including tire issues, aircraft design issues, runway issues, pilot issues, and on and on and on....

...But it is fairly clear that the metal piece that fell off their plane caused the AF tire to blow and that metal piece was not authorized for use in repairs to this A/C; right?

Can someone explain the sanctions the French court might impose for each party charged?

Thx...

B Fraser
2nd Feb 2010, 20:54
A few years ago, I was talking at length to a former Concorde SFO who took me through the entire "Swiss cheese" scenario. He stated that the source of the ignition was not the afterburners as I had presumed. The ignition source was (at that time) believed to have been in the wheel well, possibly through an electrical short.

Has this been disproven or is it still believed to be the case ?

I asked by how much in relative terms was the aircraft overweight. I think the answer was around 4% based on what had been officially recorded.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 21:02
Hi B Fraser, a very interesting point. Your Concorde SFO friend was dead right about the Swiss Cheese and the ignition source. Although the ignition source was never 100% proven, it seems that the most likely source was the 200VAC supply to the wheel brake fans, as the wiring on the L/H U/C leg was severely damaged. After the crash, the fans were selected to OFF for T/O, and also the wiring harness was reinforced.

lomapaseo
2nd Feb 2010, 21:06
Totally boring to read through arguments by posters talking past each other for numerous posts. Most of these arguments will be adjudicated by the court.

To me they are all valid arguments so once stated there is little to gain by trying to covince each other of who is more right.

I learned that taking valid arguments to a jury trial is still a large chance in the outcome.

But is this really a trial by jury of whose arguments carry the most weight, or is this a deterministic trial by judges against the law of the land?

Either way once the arguments are put foward there is liittle that our say will weigh on the matter.

ready to hear more arguments without the bashing :)

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 21:13
The whole point (for most people) in this debate to to hope that the whole truth will out. Everyone has to accept the points you make about jury trial (NOT 100% if this is one though, I'd have to check). The whole point here is that technical facts have been hidden from the official BEA report. I'm sorry if you find this all boring sir, but most of 'us' are very passionate about what is being said about this amazing aircraft.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 21:17
there were NEVER any cases of ANY British aircraft streaming fuel

I'm sure you're more knowledgeable than me and I do hope you'll be kind enough to educate me on the few questions I may have.

Could you for instance explain me why BA's concordes tanks perforations couldn't have led to fuel leakage? How is it possible to dissociate "fuel tank perforation" and "possible fuel leak"?

It's not because something didn't happen that it couldn't happen. That's precisely the point of enforcing safety & risk management procedures.

StickFlyer
2nd Feb 2010, 21:23
I've been a long time lurker of PPRUNE and wish it wasn't this that made me register I guess but I would have anyway I'm sure, however this event has always stuck in my mind
I agree with SFLY, not based on special knowledge but as someone with a very logical way of thinking (have to for my job)

The facts seem very clear to me:
Firstly, the tank penetration in the late 70's caused fuel to be seen spraying out from the wing. Obviously this is about as serious as it gets, especially on take off. I'll get no arguments about this I'm sure

Secondly following the sad day in France all Concordes were modified at great expense to have titanium protection under the tanks - surely a guaranteed fix that should have been carried out the first hint it could happen

Therefore all the other 'fixes' were half measures and down to purely financial motives they flew around with a serious fault

The blame on Continental or the airport is misplaced because a tire shredding is an unpredictable event and objects left on the runway is always a possibility - the plane should have been able to manage it!

But it wasn't the plane's fault and surely a lack of willpower to correct the problem fully and it's very sad poor management and cost cutting ever led to this situation

All that work to make the engines safe and the plane viable compromised by something so simple. Bottom line - never cover up and downplay concerns but address them no matter what the cost, that should be the attitude of the manufacturers of aircraft

If I was running things it would be a terse one line memo - 'fix it to the satisfaction of the chief engineer and get on with the the show!'

I have no idea the point of this trial

forget
2nd Feb 2010, 21:30
SFLY By the way the issue with the missing spacer wasn't on the takeoff phases but during the landings preceding the accident... .... there were 4 previous flights without spacer before the accident.

You cannot possibly say that, as the aircraft had flown previously (if indeed it had) without bogie problems then the bogie made no contribution to the accident. Simple reason being, the missing spacer caused a mobile fault and it may well have produced an aligned bogie for any previous (?) flights.

Look at the tyre scuffing on the runway, day of the accident. Are you suggesting that the aircraft had taken off and landed with the bogie misaligned to this degree?

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 21:35
I'm sure you're more knowledgeable than me and I do hope you'll be kind enough to educate me on the few questions I may have.

OK, of course I will. Seeing as you are so fond of your statistics, perhaps you would care to look at the last time the British had tank damage... 1993. (As I've TRIED to explain, these puntures, although I admit were serious, because any tank or wing damage is serious, were structutaly minor, with little or no fuel loss in most cases). After the water deflectors were modified there were no further instances of such damage.
But EVERY single incident was acted on, as I'm sure you've read.
Let's just agree to disagree here; people have died, and probably innocent people are now accused of involuntary manslaughter in a French court.

forget
2nd Feb 2010, 21:43
all Concordes were modified at great expense to have titanium protection under the tanks -

Stick flier, if you are here to tell us all how the world should really be run then get the facts right. Kevlar, not titanium.

S.F.L.Y
2nd Feb 2010, 21:45
You cannot possibly say that, as the aircraft had flown previously (if indeed it had) without bogie problems then the bogie made no contribution to the accident.

Yes I can. The aircraft flew on the 21,22,23 and 24. While the missing spacer wasn't a factor during takeoff phases (slow acceleration) the landing efforts caused the ring to slip due to the lack of spacer. Marks are clearly visible on the ring: http://www.bea-fr.org/docspa/2000/f-sc000725/htm/images/figure75.jpg

As a consequence, the tire might have been exposed to a succession of lateral efforts resulting from the axis misalignment during the previous landings.

While having been uneventful, each of the previous landings might have weakened the tire.

StickFlyer
2nd Feb 2010, 21:52
ok Forget I stand corrected, I must admit I prefer to post 'by the seat of my pants' rather than check my facts first, however this proves my point, why didn't they make the Kevlar mod originally? Did they over-react?
There's obviously some very knowledgable people posting here but to a 'lay man' such things stand out, illuminated if you will, and logic seems to have been, well, forgotten

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 22:02
Welcome Stickflyer, you've made a very well presented first thread, and make your points well. The AF incident at IAD in 1979 was never fully explained; no other tyre blow had produced such damage.
As far as titanium reinforcement; this was never proposed or implemented; The weight penalty would have been staggering, when you look at the size of the wing). What WAS done was to fit Kevlar linings to the INSIDE of the 'vulnarable' tanks, to make these tanks effectively self-sealing. But the 'real' fix was the NZG tyre, the technology for which just was not available in the 70's, 80's and 90's. The fixes were never really meant as half-measures; every mod' reduced the chance of systems damage.
But your post is very well balanced, addressing both sides of the arguement.

Cymmon
2nd Feb 2010, 22:24
Gobonastick. I'm not sure f you understand anything about this dreadful tragedy, but the French Judiciary are blaming Continental Airllnes for the bulk of the accident. Most relevantly learned people here are of the opinion that the explosive destruction of the tyre was more due to a comnination of being grossly overweight, the front wheels on the L/H U/C skewing badly from true (due to the missing spacer) and running over a very rough (awaiting repair) initial runway surface, NOT the strip on the runway.. Oh, and also the fuel tanks were under pressure, due to illegal placement of fuel inlet valves to over-ride, ('hiding' fuel in the fuel transfer galleries from the fuel gauging system/fuel weight computation). So when the tyre destruction occured (not a blow out in the normal sense) we have a terrible set of ingredients. This overweight aircraft veered hard along the L/H side of the runway, took out a taxi llight which in turn seriously damaged an engine. It then took off on 3 1/2 engines, way below V2 and in flames. A good, thrust producing engine was then shut down leaving 2 1/2 engines. RAF studies show that the only hope of extinguishing such a fuel fed fire is enough IAS to cause the flames to become detached from the source. The Bogie Beam alignment circuit on the L/H gear had been damaged, preventing raising of the gear. The aircraft desperately needed to climb and accelerate to survive; it could do neither, and tragically came down on the hotel at Gonez.

Good to hear the outcome, when you in court?

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 22:26
SFLY,we know you are an expert reader of the tainted BEA report but the spacer did, repeat DID contribute in a large way to what happened; again, there were large rudder inputs before the 'strip' without corresponding HDG changes, also witness the scuff marks. And no more of your hyperlinks; we've all read it before. Now back to your armchair.

M2dude
2nd Feb 2010, 23:49
Oh, and Cymmon, I don't need to be in court. there are other expert witnesses for the defence already. What's your point?

S.F.L.Y
3rd Feb 2010, 05:02
SFLY,we know you are an expert reader of the tainted BEA report but the spacer did, repeat DID contribute in a large way to what happened;

Darling, would you be kind enough to take the time to understand what I've written?
I'm precisely explaining to forget why the missing spacer during the previous landings played a major role in the accident while the official report only consider the effects of the missing spacer on takeoffs. The hyperlink is simply illustrating this.

vapilot2004
3rd Feb 2010, 06:16
All will be revealed due to the magic combination of vested political interests and very well paid corporate lawyers

This sort of thing goes on more often than you might think and is not limited to French courtrooms.

One Outsider
3rd Feb 2010, 09:29
For the sake of the thread, perhaps the author of
don't be so patronising sir
would care to follow his own advice?

Flyingmac
3rd Feb 2010, 09:53
I am aware that a number of contributing factors brought about the sad end of this aircraft. At the risk of being accused of finger-pointing, which I am not. Would it be true to say that the engine shut-down,(for whatever reason), sealed it's fate?

in my last airline
3rd Feb 2010, 10:09
Just a couple of questions for the knowledgeable posters on this thread;

1. Was it proven that the tanks were over-ridden and therefore over-filled?

2. Was this commonplace amongst Concorde crews?

3. Was this manufacturer approved or approved without technical objection from the manufacturer?

Thank you for your input.

valvanuz
3rd Feb 2010, 10:17
It may have sealed the fate of the crew and passengers. Assuming that with a bit more power on, they woud have managed to reach nearby Bourget airport (airport limits less than a mile and runway 21 less than 1.5 mile from crash site), I doubt very much the plane would have survived the fire.

M2dude
3rd Feb 2010, 11:44
In My Last Airline; to try and answer your questions as well as I can:

Yes it was proven; Tank 5 O/R switch found at O/R in wreckage. These were lever locked switches, Impact could not have changed switch position. (De-Air pump in Tank 11 would do the pressurising).
Was not commonplace in the UK.
It was definately not approved; The O/R position was there to cater for fuel level switching failure, not 'hiding' fuel from the FQIS.Valvenuz yes, that is a very valid but sad point. On this tragic day, the V1 for the day was 150 KTS, VR 198 KTS and V2 was 220KTS. The A/C took off at only 201 KTS and the maximum speed achieved was only 211 KTS. So at the very BEST, the A/C was 9 KTS below the MINIMUM safe engine out speed, and this on only 3 1/2 engines (#1 engine severely damaged by ingested runway light), and with landing gear stuck down. When # 2 engine was shut down (stricly against SOP's) there was nothing that anyone in the world could have done to save the A/C. As stated before, the A/C needed to climb and accelerate in order to survive; it could now do neither.
It's possible to debate that the A/C (and all of the poor souls onboad) was doomed once airborne and may never have made Le Bourget, but with the shutting down of #2 went any chance at all. Even after nearly 10 years it is still such a tragic, sad story.

DickyPearse
3rd Feb 2010, 11:52
nnc0: Can somebody clarify why a charge of involuntary manslaughter has been applied in this case.

I think I have read somewhere that criminal charges are required to be laid in many European countries where a death other than by natural causes occurs. The last high profile case was in relation to Aryton Senna's F1 crash in Italy

wings folded
3rd Feb 2010, 14:35
Can somebody clarify why a charge of involuntary manslaughter has been applied in this case.



I have no idea the point of this trial


I will not be postulating technical explanations of what happened. I do not have the competence.

I will not rise to the bait about the BEA, AF, BA ADP, CAA, and others failing to react in the past.

I will simply explain that French judicial process requires that responsabilities be identified.

There is a corrolary in the sense that the insurers of the responsible party take up the burden of indemnifying the victims. Here, I do have some competence.

Note that the charge is "involuntary" manslaughter. (OK it is a translation from the French, and therefore not too precise.)

It would be a different matter if any firm, individual or entity were to be accused of deliberately causing this tragedy.

The form is a legal one, according to the way French law (and many others too) phrase these issues.

Anybody claiming a typical French "cover up" cannot be taken too seriously.

We are almost at the tenth anniversary of the event. Huge amounts of investigation have been carried out. The trial has been programmed for something like 4 months.

That, to me, smacks of rigour, need to establish what happened, learn from it, take steps for the future, and above all hear expert evidence about exactly what did happen.

And I mean "Expert"

in my last airline
3rd Feb 2010, 15:35
Thank you M2DUDE,

Can you therefore conclude with any certainty that IF the tanks hadn't been filled 'beyond the brim' that the accident would not have occured?

It seems that all the other factors, CG; spacer; tyre failure; tailwind performance; rough runway; metal strip; in themselves or even combined would not have caused the catastrophic loss of the aircraft.

The fuel shockwave theory (or was it fact M2DUDE?), the overfilled and overpressured tank that set off a 'tank explosion' was what ultimately caused the next sequence of events, the crash sequence.

So who was responsible for allowing/ordering a fuel overload surely THEY/HIM or HER are directly to blame for the crash?

Additionally if this was a 'normalisation of deviation' known to Concorde crews in AF and obviously the BEA, then there is accountability there too, I would imagine?

S.F.L.Y
3rd Feb 2010, 15:56
Yes it was proven; Tank 5 O/R switch found at O/R in wreckage. These were lever locked switches, Impact could not have changed switch position. (De-Air pump in Tank 11 would do the pressurising).
Was not commonplace in the UK.
It was definately not approved; The O/R position was there to cater for fuel level switching failure, not 'hiding' fuel from the FQISTwo questions to understand your points:

1 Where is it documented?
3 Where was it disapproved (in writings)?

The report mentions that tank 5 switches were damaged and unreadable. Where did you get different information?

Gulfstreamaviator
3rd Feb 2010, 17:12
I suspect the death toll would have been massive.

A fire ball, totally out of control, bouncing off the airfield, with a very large built up area so very close, I think the captain was very clever in aiming for the hotel car park.....(Irony).....

I have my own beliefs: mosty if the Engineer had not shut down the engine (without the Captains authority), then the crash would have happened somewhere else, so it was good that he ensured the landing was in the car park.

glf

captplaystation
3rd Feb 2010, 18:15
Gulfstreamaviator,

Don't know if everyone will share your ironic humour :hmm:

If I remember well, Concorde was very tight out of CDG to carry a full payload. So, if a little "fiddle" had been found to squeeze more fuel in :rolleyes: well, you tell me. Quite apart from weight & balance issues, it seems nobody thought of the other consequences.
Trouble is, who will admit to this procedure ? as anyone who did it was by association breaking the rules too.
Maybe they have to seek someone who feels strongly enough to tell the truth, and offer them "witness protection", or maybe they won't try too hard to investigate all these "nasty rumours" and continue to protect AF, and jeez, with some of the stuff they have done since then, they could do with having their safety culture reputation protected.

Gulfstreamaviator
3rd Feb 2010, 18:27
I was based in PLB that month, was on the apron the day before the accident.

I was there the day after, passed almost over the smoking hole, on finals.

I was very pleased that the aircraft did not make PLB, as were all the other crews and owners based there.

glf

in my last airline
3rd Feb 2010, 18:42
Terribly sorry all, I should not have used the word 'blame' in my last post. I did not mean it in a demonizing way at all to any individual or group. My question was, 'was the person(s) who ordered/over-fuelled the Concorde, morally responsible for the catastrophe?'

Sorry for that word which should obviously never be used when trying to determine the cause of an accident (or speculation either).

B Fraser
3rd Feb 2010, 19:02
When # 2 engine was shut down (stricly against SOP's)

I'll stick my neck out again and relay what was doing the rounds a few years back. #2 engine ingested neat fuel and recovered, it happen for a second time and the crew decided that this engine was no longer serviceable and shut it down.

I'm not an expert on airflow however the info is from the same chap who spoke about the source of the ignition. He's an expert on flying the aircraft and he did not criticise the action.

GarageYears
3rd Feb 2010, 19:25
It happened for a second time and the crew decided that this engine was no longer serviceable and shut it down.

I'm not an expert on airflow however the info is from the same chap who spoke about the source of the ignition. He's an expert on flying the aircraft and he did not criticise the action.With the crystal-clear clarity of hindsight, it's really hard to see how the act of shutting down this engine was anticipated to help the situation. And it was always my understanding that the engine was shutdown by the FE acting alone, or at least without the acknowledgment of the Captain. Is there information otherwise?

- GY

Chronus
3rd Feb 2010, 20:31
Those needing clarification/appreciation of the nature of the criminal charges involved may refer to the UK Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which came into force only as recently as 6 April 2008. The link is

www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/manslaughteractguidance.htm (http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/manslaughteractguidance.htm)

Albeit that the trial is under French law and jurisdiction conceptualy the law is similar. I do believe that had this accident occurred after the date of this enactment, on UK soil, the charges would have been brought under the Act.

B Fraser
3rd Feb 2010, 20:40
Here's an extract from the CVR transcript. The crew were aware of the fire and #2 engine gave cause for concern.

14 h 43 min 10.1 s, noise followed, from 14 h 43 min 11 s to 14 h 43 min 13.8 s, by a change in the background noise. In the same time per"d the FO announces "watch out".
14 h 43 min 11.9 s, an unintelligible sound is heard, then at 14 h 43 min 13.0 s, the FE says "watch out".
14 h 43 min 13.4 s, message from the controller indicating flames at the rear and read back by the FO.
14 h 43 min 16.4 s, FE "(stop) ".
14 h 43 min 20.4 s, FE "Failure eng... failure engine two".
14 h 43 min 22.8 s, fire alarm.
14 h 43 min 24.8 s, FE "shut down engine two".
14 h 43 min 25.8 s, Captain "engine fire procedure" and in the following second the noise of a selector and fire alarm stops.
14 h 43 min 27.2 s, FO "watch the airspeed the airspeed the airspeed".
14 h 43 min 29.3 s, fire handle pulled.
14 h 43 min 30 s, Captain "gear on retract". In the course of the following eight seconds the crew mention the landing gear several times.
14 h 43 min 42.3 s, second fire alarm.
14 h 43 min 45.6 s, FO "(I'm trying)", FE "I'm firing it".
14 h 43 min 46.3 s, Captain "(are you) shutting down engine two there". 14 h 43 min 48.2 s, FE "I've shut it down".

S.F.L.Y
3rd Feb 2010, 21:16
So, if a little "fiddle" had been found to squeeze more fuel in :rolleyes: well, you tell me. Quite apart from weight & balance issues, it seems nobody thought of the other consequences.

Again, I would be very much interested to know your sources for such assumptions which are contradicting the official report. Did you inspect the wreckage by yourself?

captplaystation
3rd Feb 2010, 21:30
In response to your comment re the wreckage . . . p1ss off !

In response to your Q, read the previous posts.

ONTPax
3rd Feb 2010, 21:32
Maybe this is a naive comment, but how do the prosecutors intend to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a specific Continental plane left behind a small fragment of metal along the runway? It's a busy runway with many take-offs and landings.

This reminds me of the people who have their homes damaged by "blue ice" falling from the sky and they, or, rather, their lawyers manage to pinpoint the specific airline and plane that supposedly dropped it.

ONTPax

S.F.L.Y
3rd Feb 2010, 21:36
In response to your comment re the wreckage . . . p1ss off !

In response to your Q, read the previous posts. So your only reference is an undocumented PPruNe post?
If you can't be polite try at least to be accurate.

From the report:
On the flight engineer’s central panel (fuel), the following items were noted:
• Tank 5
o indicated quantity of fuel "2 t"
o pump switches unreadable

RobertS975
3rd Feb 2010, 21:40
Because the CO plane later landed in Newark with the piece of metal missing from the airframe!

nnc0
3rd Feb 2010, 22:02
Can somebody clarify why a charge of involuntary manslaughter has been applied in this case.

Thanks to Wings Folded, Dicky Pearse and tkazaz for their answers.

I don't think the question has ben answered though.

The UK act only applies to the corporation and comes with a fine. This trial is against individuals and the penalties could involve a fine and prison time for those folks.

Such a trial is almost unheard of hear in N America, Ref the Ford Pinto, Ford Explorer, etc): These were situations wherein the company actually knew of the problems for a long time but did not fix them because a cost benefit analysis showed it was cheaper to let people die. There are probably similar stories in the pharma biz. I don't recall any individuals being charged with any crime. (does sounds like a really good idea though) The only time I can recall an engineer facing charges was if the designer knowlingly signed off on false data at the start.

I do recall that the ATR 42 had some icing issues that led to crashes and some engineers and regulators went to jail for similar charges back in the late eighties/early ninreties. What I don't understand is why? They designed the product in good faith to the stds in effect at the time without any fraud or misrepresentation.

How can they, the individuals, be charged in this specific case? What is so different about it? Why these particular individuals and not their bosses/subordinates?

robertbartsch
3rd Feb 2010, 23:11
Lomapaseo:
I did not think this new trial in France is a "JURY" trial but I could be wrong. I thought the AB crash trial accusing the pilot of negligence in the Air Show crash was decided by a judge and not a jury but that is my recollection.

What are the sanctions for manslaughter in France?

Thx...

S.F.L.Y
4th Feb 2010, 09:41
Yes it was proven; Tank 5 O/R switch found at O/R in wreckage. These were lever locked switches, Impact could not have changed switch position.

M2dude & Captplaystation could you please name your references in regard to this statement?

Thank you.

M2dude
4th Feb 2010, 12:30
SFLY, read this and read it good!! There will be no further responses here to your provocative and quite honestly childish postings, use Google for this, that is what you are clearly best at. Unlike you, we are people who were INVOLVED, saw and read official data (We've 'lived' this whole tragic strory for nearly 10 years, you haven't). Take a look at the photos of the fuel panel wreckage, all will be revealed regarding switches. And EVEN if you want discount the whole fuel tank pressure theory, the A/C was SERIUOSLY overweight, took off into a tailwind over damaged runway, and with the spaced missing was crabbing to the left FACT!! You think just because you have downloaded and read the BEA report you are an expert; here's news for you, you are not. And do NOT try and 'pursue' me on other forum threads again with your insults, you will get no response. Your behaviour here is both childish and pathetic. Perhaps you are a poor frustrated pilot who was never good enough to fly Concorde, I don't know, but you seem to be totally obsessed about something you know clearly about. Now back to your armchair

S.F.L.Y
4th Feb 2010, 12:51
Stop acting like a virgin, I just asked you to name your sources as you are affirming something contradictory with the released facts. I believe that it's the minimum you can do if you want to be taken seriously.

Btw I didn't download this report, I had it in my hands before its public release.
This report clearly says the aircraft was overweight, had tailwind and a missing spacer. It also says the tank 5 O/R switch position was unreadable (while you managed to read it from a picture).

M2dude
4th Feb 2010, 13:09
Hi, In My Last Airline, sorry I did not reply to your post yesterday, I was not 'here'. It is of course speculation whether ‘just’ the fuel situation was the straw that broke the camel’s back here; we all know that crashes are seldom caused by one, but by a succession of factors. As far as ‘blame’ or should we say, ‘responsibility goes’, it is always of course too easy to’ blame the crew’, but the F/E was alone responsible for the fuel panel and it’s operation. The fuel shockwave theory is an interesting one I know, evidence suggests that it was soft material only that hit the tank (ie tyre debris), and in no other reported incident regarding Concorde tyre bursts was soft material alone able to rupture the A/C skin. What is known of course is that an A4 sized chunk of lower wing surface was blown out, and if you take into account the trauma on the U/C caused by the missing spacer migration/rough initial runway surface/overweight situation, you can see how this tyre destruction occurred.
You have hit the point perfectly here; any implication of AF by the BEA seems to have been avoided totally, and eye witness accounts were dismissed, because these accounts did just that.

M2dude
4th Feb 2010, 13:15
Oh, and to clarify; A question raised by a prevous poster 'were you at the crash site'? No, but I know personally two people that WERE, and have discussed what the situation was, and what was found at length. AT LENGTH.

S.F.L.Y
4th Feb 2010, 13:26
You basically didn't see the fuel control panel yourself while had an opportunity to view pictures contradicting with the report. What did you do about it during these 10 years (apart of making a point on this forum)?

With all due respect, you understand that most readers can't just rely on your statements and need some evidences supporting your accusations.

captplaystation probably had an opportunity to view the same pictures.

BOAC
4th Feb 2010, 14:09
Question for M2Dude (do you have a tie by the way?):

I have looked at the BEA report and can see no reference to a 'Tank5' over-ride switch of any sort. I see
Tank 5A
- indicated quantity of fuel "2.4 t",
- two pumps on "On"

and
Tank 5
- indicated quantity of fuel "2 t"
- pump switches unreadable

The only references there to 'overrides' are
Tank 9
- indicated quantity of fuel "11 t",
- left pump on "Auto", right pump on "On"
- main left Inlet Valve on "Shut" (free movement of the switch which has no locking device), Override on "O/ride"
- main right Inlet Valve on "Auto", Override on "Off"

and
Tank 11
- indicated quantity of fuel "10 t"
- left hydraulic pump on "Auto", right on "Off"
- position of electric pumps unreadable
- main left Inlet Valve on "Shut", Override unreadable
- main right Inlet Valve and Override unreadable

I presume from your username you have some association with the a/c, so can you
tell me what I have missed? Which of those switch positions is relevant to tank 5?

wideman
4th Feb 2010, 14:18
how do the prosecutors intend to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt...

"Reasonable doubt" is the standard for U.S. (and U.K.?) criminal convictions, but I do not know the standard for convictions in the French/Napoleonic code of laws. Could someone who is knowledgeable kindly provide some information?

wings folded
4th Feb 2010, 15:47
Quote:
Can somebody clarify why a charge of involuntary manslaughter has been applied in this case.
Thanks to Wings Folded, Dicky Pearse and tkazaz for their answers.

I don't think the question has ben answered though.

The UK act only applies to the corporation and comes with a fine. This trial is against individuals and the penalties could involve a fine and prison time for those folks.


I will attempt a better explanation for those trying to understand the legal process.

Applicable law is French law. UK Acts and US law have no relevance.

The case is being heard in the Tribunal Correctionnel at Pontoise, the administrative capital of the Departement in which the accident took place. (A "Departement" is an administrative sub division of France. Think of a "County" or a "State" if you are in doubt)

A Tribunal Correctionnel is the second in ascending sequence of Courts according to the severity of the accusations. French law classifies three types of process. The lowest are to deal with "contraventions" (e.g. traffic offenses), the second are to deal with "delits" and this is the one we are dealing with here. The most severe deals with "Crimes" (e.g. murder)

There is no jury.

The court is composed of three career judges. Not elected. Not appointed by some mysterious inner circle. Selected on merit into a very demanding specialised school, and trained intensively.

A prosecutor (called Procureur) pleads the case against the accused on behalf of the Nation (for Americans, think of "The People versus...."; for Brits, think of "Regina versus.."

Defendants are legally represented.

Affected third parties may be present and plead. They are termed "Parties Civiles". Relatives of victims on the ground fall in this category.

What are the sanctions for manslaughter in France?


That's not how it works. It is not laid down. Towards the end of the trial, the Procureur requests the Court to impose the sanctions which he or she has determined to be appropriate, but the Court makes its own mind up.

Fines and / or up to 10 years prison are possible, but may be doubled in the event of a case of a recurrence by the accused. This is not likely to be the case here.

A prison sentence may (and often is) be suspended, whereby the accused does not actually serve time, but does however have a criminal record.

The judges take expert evidence and legal argument, and determine accordingly.

The process may not be perfect; the judges are not aviation accident experts.

They are trained however to weigh the evidence and to make a determination within the application of the law.

In so doing, they put an end to the sorts of controversies expressed already on this thread in the vein of "theory / counter theory",

Such as "I have a mate who knows exactly what happened", "it must have been the titanium strip", it must have been shoddy tyre design", "it must have been overloading" or whatever.

Given the exchanges of views expressed on this thread by people who appear to know quite a bit about the topic, at times with, at best bad temper, and sometimes quite frankly puerile, the explanation of this tragedy is clearly not straightforward.

It is not just in aviation that sometimes a chain of events or circumstances leads to an outcome, but any one link in that chain may not be the sole root cause.

The judges will hear evidence amounting to 90 volumes of documents, some from the BEA, some from Sud Aviation, some from Continental, and so forth. Inconsistencies in the evidence will be spotted. The decision will be made according to the most convincing explanation.

All civilised societies have in place a judicial system to resolve this kind of dilemma.

M2dude
4th Feb 2010, 16:58
Hi, BOAC; nice name too. (Yes, lots of ties). I'll see if I can find it, but I saw a photo of the fuel panel a couple of weeks after the crash which showed the stub of the O/R switch at O/R. I'm certainly not trying to suggest that this is THE major issue here, just another piece in a very large and complex jig-saw; a tragic one at that.

Chronus
4th Feb 2010, 19:44
WINGS FOLDED may find it helpful to read the Time report where he may note that a defendant party is Continental, a corporation. So my understanding is that not only do individuals stand charged with criminal offences but so does a corporate body. The link to the Time article is at
Paris Concorde Trial Seeks Answers on Air France Crash - TIME (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1957937,00.html)

S.F.L.Y
4th Feb 2010, 19:52
I saw a photo of the fuel panel a couple of weeks after the crash which showed the stub of the O/R switch at O/R. So you saw a picture 10 years ago and you consider it enough to accuse the crew for over pressurizing the tank.

Your words:
Yes it was proven; Tank 5 O/R switch found at O/R in wreckage.

I wonder if captplaystation did even see such a picture but he seems very prompt in "revealing" this new crew contribution to the accident. :=

lomapaseo
4th Feb 2010, 20:00
wings folded
Thanks for a thread-subject worthy explanation.

At least posts like yours brings a sense of knowledge rather than conviction of opinions to the Thread subject:ok:

Of course I, like others, have an opinion of guilt and blame, but it is of little value even if I were to testify as an "expert witness". The law of the land decides the issues in the eyes of the public

wings folded
4th Feb 2010, 20:11
tkazaz,


WINGS FOLDED may find it helpful to read the Time report


No, I do not find it helpful.

I never have found reports of journalists with little or no knowledge of the topic to be helpful.

I know that Continental are defendants in this case. Iknow also that other corporations are defendants also.

I wished to add that, and it is obvious, acquittal is also a possible outcome.

It has been almost ten years since the event.

French legal procedure requires an examining magistrate (Juge d' Instruction ) to identify parties potentially implicated.

Much of these ten years have been spent with all the evidence with which the Court has been bombarded being sorted, examined, verified.

We are now at trial stage.

Extravagent/ridiculous hypotheses have been set aside.

The judicial system will make a determination.

It may well exhonerate a welder working for Continental. Or Continental full stop.

Or it may not.

That is the job of these judges.

It is not the job of journalists from "Time".

It is not the job of contributors to this forum.

SLFinAZ
4th Feb 2010, 22:33
I've been fascinated by this entire thread and have a couple of thoughts. The more of these threads you read the more and more you become aware of the tremendously fickle winds of fate that bring all the holes into alignment. My questions flow along the following lines...

1) This is all based on a prosecutors findings less then a year ago. Given that it's an AF plane i'm amazed not a single person from AF is accountable with regard to the weight/balance and maintenance issues the plane clearly had.

2) Given the delicate issues clearly documented by numerous other tire issues I can't believe that a runway check wasn't done immediately preceding the takeoff roll. After all stuff does fall of planes from time to time.

3) Given the documented irregularities in the judicial proceedings specific to the Airbus crash I would have serious misgivings specific to both the custody and chain of evidence here. From my admittedly non ring side seat this comes across as an entirely politically affair. Accordingly I wouldn't trust or accept a "verdict" given my 3 administrative judges in a non jury proceeding.

From an SLF's perspective the tires had a history of "issues". The plane was overweight, improperly maintained, out of balance and on a runway with such significant degradation as to be out of service for a portion of it's length. To overlook all of this and attempt to magically pin the blame on an other "hole in the cheese" that may or may not even exist (even if the titanium strip contributed it should have been found prior to the takeoff roll IMO) is farcical.

Sadly (given its historical and aesthetic appeal) it's a plane that should have been out of service well before this tragedy occurred.

M2dude
5th Feb 2010, 00:30
It may be possible to put all of the points that have been made by myself and others here in context if you consider the following list of AF incidents during their operation of the aircraft. Gonez was, as was said by others, the final lining up of the holes in the Swiss Cheese. These events really happened, are not rumours, and are not the figment of anyones imagination.

The permanent structural damage caused to A/C F-BVFD, in 1977. The aircraft made TWO extremely heavy landings in succession at Dakar, This resulted in a crushing of the tailwheel assembly and heavily scraping the rear of the engines over several hundred feet. The end result was a serious distortion of the airframe, dramatically reducing the A/C’s supersonic performance. Because of very high fuel burn, this A/C was limited to only a few routes, and was permanently grounded in 1982. (A/C was broken up).
Massive engine damage caused by omitting a critical component (two actually) during maintenance (sound familiar?), this time on an air intake ramp actuator.. This act of forgetfulness was coupled with an illegal set of mode switch operations by the F/E that resulted in a double engine surge. The dramatic structural weakness caused by the 2 ommited components causedthe intake ramp torque tubes being separated from the actuator, the ramps were driven downwards, the fwd ramp hitting the floor of the intake and disintegrated. The large amount of debris flew into the engine. Fortunately the A/C was close enough to JFK to make an emergency landing. The intake assembly itself was also seriously damaged, and had to be returned to Filton for repair. (Oh, and the two missing components were found on a bench in the hangar in CDG).
Major overfueling surge of an engine at Mach 2, due to a flight engineer experimentally tripping a C/B. This bit of craziness speaks for itself.
Incorrect hydraulic fluid (Skydrol) added to aircraft. The mixing of the Ester based Skydrol with the mineral based Chevron M2V fluid resulted in a polymer being formed in solution. When cold this polymer was found to be fairly fluid, but became solid as the fluid heated up. As the aircraft became supersonic systems began to fail one by one as hydraulic ports and valves were clogged by the polymer. Fortunately, as the A/C decelerated, the fluid cooled and the blockages again became fluid. The A/C just managed to return to Paris, and did not fly again for nearly a year. (EVERY single hydraulic component had to be replaced).
Flying for over one hour with NO electronic control on one engine. (System was totally electronic control). Due to the overspeed protection system also being disabled, there was a major overspeed of the engine. RR insisted that every rotating component on this engine was quarantined.
Ignorance of a very basic power generation defect, defect occuring every flight for several months without rectification. This finally resulted in a fire in one of the elrctronics racks. The cabin crew fought the fire through a hole burnt in a rack panel.
And finally, in late 2002, another disaster narrowly avoided when the crew failed to correctly follow drills following the loss of fuel from a failed engine fuel pipe. The offending engine was shut down, but the fuel LP valve was not closed, even when the fuel continued to escape. (A/C just made Halifax after crew FORTUNATELY decided to finally follow the correct drill).This is a series of events, not just one in isolation, perhaps now some people will see our frustration with this whole thing, concerning the errors made AGAIN leading up to this terrible tragedy.

PJ2
5th Feb 2010, 01:17
M2dude;

The list speaks for itself and is disconcerting. Much could be said but I think would be redundant as most will understand the broader issues here.

I would like to ask you what the nature of the AF flight data monitoring program for the Concorde was. BTSC had a QAR so I am assuming there was an active data-monitoring program. I wonder first, if the aggregate data was ever kept or was it routinely destroyed after a period of time. More importantly, was the quality and capability of the program such that other "events" were captured and if so, what they may have told those examining the data and where indicated, what may have changed in operations as a result of the data.

I realize that the time the aircraft was in operation was long before sophisticated computer analysis capability but I also know that BA has run a data analysis program since the late-50's and so was doing rudimentary analysis even then.

Concurrent with the list you have posted which is serious enough, some knowledge of the long-term operational issues as captured and naturally reported to the operations people in routine data analysis might be of relevance. In any case, I'm just asking, nothing more intended.

In any case, thanks for your welcome contributions.

PJ2

M2dude
5th Feb 2010, 08:34
Hi PJ2. I seem to remember that the AF data monitoring was not that sophisticated, and parameters monitored were a fraction of the British content. I think that it is pure conjecture as to whether the data was retained; your guess is as good as mine.
These events were always greey
ted by a 'Oh no, they've done it again' this side of the English channel, and as the details of the Paris tragedy emerged there was a very somber 'they ran out of luck this time'. The holes in the Swiss cheese.

captplaystation
5th Feb 2010, 10:21
From a purely non-technical view, I spent 4 yrs of my working life doing CDG-LHR and back twice each working day during the Concorde era.
I always felt judgemental in comparing the absolutely pristine BA Concordes I saw, with the frankly grubby unkempt looking examples that I studied at close quarters on the other side of the channel.
I always wondered if one could equate the external appearance with the level of care and attention lavished on them internally.

It appears maybe my suspicions were not so ill founded.

No doubt S.F.L.Y will be along in a minute asking for proof, strange, as one who had acess to the report before it was even published :hmm: he would know all this surely ;)

Most of us have heard of one or two of the occurences you speak of (as some were rather difficult to keep quiet ) so I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of your claims.

Frangible
5th Feb 2010, 11:37
This forum is usually full of praise for the AAIB's analysis but not when it stands in the way of having a pop at the French. Please follow the critical path. All that stuff about grubby French a/c and other misdeeds may be true but they have nothing to do with the crash.

AAIB dissented from the BEA conclusions about what started the fire on BTSC and even the tank-rupture, declaring that there was no physical evidence to say that this exotic and unprecedented pressure wave in the tank should have been responsible, as opposed to the idea that a lump of rubber had gone through the wing, as it had at Dulles in June 1979. And yet, BEA chose the exotic over the thing that had already happened.

Equally improbable was the idea of ignition being caused by a flame front from the reheat moving forward against an airflow of 90m/s (in the rest of the physical universe it can't move forward against more than 6 m/s), which was the official BEA view. Much more probable, said AAIB, was the idea that the electrical cables in the wheel bay had been shorted by wheel debris and those sparks lit the escaping fuel. These wires also shorted at Dulles but, fortunately, did not ignite the streaming fuel.

The NTSB called the 79 incident "potentially catastrophic" at the time, but the Anglo-French (it always took two, remember, where Conc was concerned) post-incident analysis concluded that a recurrence was so improbable as to be not worth guarding against, although tyres were strengthened because of continual blow-outs. In the opinion of the AAIB investigators of BTSC what happened was a recurrence of 79 with the sparks igniting the fuel -- a simple, common sense and much more plausible explanation. IMO, if the BEA and the French establishment were trying to protect anyone from criticism in its investigation of Gonesse it was the aeronautical establishment, not AF.

The issue of an alleged failure by the authorities to act correctly after the 79 incident has not escaped the attentive French prosecutors, however, and the responsible officials from 30 years ago have also been indicted.

Enough French-bashing. IMO the fact that the exploding tyre caught a French Conc instead of a British one is just bad luck and AF, whatever its sins, is not in the frame, any more than all the other bits of supposed evidence which prove the Englishman's innate superiority over the Frenchman.

BOAC
5th Feb 2010, 11:38
showed the stub of the O/R switch at O/R. - fully in agreement of the 'jigsaw' aspects, but

a) Which switch?
b) hopefully not instigating a 'conspiracy theory', but why was it not mentioned by the BEA report since I gather from your posts you consider it to be highly relevant?

shortfinals
5th Feb 2010, 14:07
Frang,

With due respect for an otherwise impeccable post, the stuff that went through the wing at Dulles in 79 was metal. The wheel broke up following a tyreburst. It was after that that the regulators required Concorde's wheels to be built so they could run safely with no tyre all the way to rotate.

When the CAA eventually grounded the BA fleet after Gonesse, it was because they had, by then, established the size and weight of the piece of rubber that caused the Gonesse accident. All tyreburst tests done before this had shown that pieces of rubber/carcass would be 1kg or less (I think that was the weight), and ballistic tests had demonstrated that the aircraft could survive the damage that chunks of that size would cause. When they found that the chunk of tyre at CdG was much larger and heavier, theoretically because the tyre had been cut in the way the BEA said it was, they had to admit that, without further protection, the argument that Concorde's design was still safe had just been destroyed by an unexpected set of circumstances.

BEagle
5th Feb 2010, 14:36
One thing I find totally baffling is the pre-flight performance by the crew.

They knew that the aircraft would be 'right on the limit' (MTOW), then 'adjusted' the taxy fuel burn by more than 100% to make it appear that the aircraft would be at MTOW at the start of its take-off roll. Just before take-off, it was clear that it hadn't used anything like the 'amended' taxy fuel burn. So they all knew it was over MTOW. But when the departure wind was passed to them, not one single comment was raised by any of the crew about the effect on Regulated TOW.....

They knowingly started the take-off outside the limits required by regulators in terms of scheduled performance. What sort of a company allows such lax attitudes to be prevalent amongst its crews?

lomapaseo
5th Feb 2010, 14:46
Shortfinals

With due respect for an otherwise impeccable post (Frangible above), the stuff that went through the wing at Dulles in 79 was metal. The wheel broke up following a tyreburst. It was after that that the regulators required Concorde's wheels to be built so they could run safely with no tyre all the way to rotate.

When the CAA eventually grounded the BA fleet after Gonesse, it was because they had, by then, established the size and weight of the piece of rubber that caused the Gonesse accident. All tyreburst tests done before this had shown that pieces of rubber/carcass would be 1kg or less (I think that was the weight), and ballistic tests had demonstrated that the aircraft could survive the damage that chunks of that size would cause. When they found that the chunk of tyre at CdG was much larger and heavier, theoretically because the tyre had been cut in the way the BEA said it was, they had to admit that, without further protection, the argument that Concorde's design was still safe had just been destroyed by an unexpected set of circumstances.

Yes I agree that taken together these two posts are well balanced interpretations of what happened.

I will add just a slight but critical interpretation myself.

The piece of tank found on the runway at CDG did not exhibit evidence that it had been substantially penetrated through by anything. It had in all proability been impacted by the rubber from the tyre and damaged. Many alloys of aluminum at these thicknesses do have a tendancy to fracture easily once damaged by blunt ballistic impact. The subsequent fixes addressed this archilies heel. The earlier events did not exhibit the same failure mechanism nor result.

Thus lessons learned every day

S.F.L.Y
5th Feb 2010, 16:48
@ captplaystation and M2dude:

You're more than welcome to share your points of view in regard to your suspicions about the over-pressurized fuel tank, but you can't seriously act like if this was a proven fact should you wish to be considered as professionals. I've been politely asking for your sources and only found insults. Ultimately you've demonstrated you're lack of objectivity and clearly tried to manipulate readers with fantasies.

If I had access to the report before its release its simply because I was somehow connected to the person in charge of the investigation.

M@dude, you can criticize AF as much as you want by demonstrating how unprofessionally this company was operating its concordes, you won't prove that the aircraft weren't in danger when operated by BA. First of all BA had its own list of "BA specific" incidents (many in-flight rudder separations, in-flight part of elevon separation, fuel tank perforation caused by the loss of ten wheel nuts (!) etc.). Above all, BA experienced 5 fuel tank perforations before the accident (1 for AF) and you can't seriously pretend that BA didn't face any related risk.

While the professionalism of the operators can be discussed for long, the specific risks directly related to the accidents where clearly known on both sides of the channel by the airlines, CAA/DGAC, BEA/AAIB, crews and engineers. Pretending this accident isn't related to a long lasting aircraft weakness and only caused by an unprofessional company is absolutely pathetic.

captplaystation
5th Feb 2010, 18:55
If you reread my post #168 you will see I said if a fiddle had been found (which ameliorated the aircrafts well known range/payload deficiency) "well, you tell me".

Given this particular crews willingness to use other "fiddles" on the accident flight

1 - overestimating taxi fuel & not correcting afterwards
2 - Ignoring the tailwind which meant they were now overweight
3 - possibly missing a few last minute bags in the weight & balance calculation

it strikes me that they needed all the fuel they could get onboard, so would you be greatly surprised that another "fiddle" which seems to have been known about (and not needed I would propose on the slightly shorter flights of BA from LHR) could indeed have been used on this occasion.
I don't have any evidence it was, but given the crews slightly lax attitude to accuracy in other aspects of planning & execution, why not ?
Courtesy of the fact BA had lighter cabin fittings and a few less track miles to go to JFK I believe they didn't have this problem, but I know the AF operation Westbound didn't have a lot in hand with a good load.

I agree, the foundation for this tragedy should have been recognised and corrected in 1979, it wasn't, and it lurked in the background waiting for this unfortunate combination of circumstances to line up the final hole.
If the court find that the principal cause of this accident had anything to do with Continental, it will stink of whitewash.
What about the witnesses (pompiers @ CDG) who claimed to have seen sparks or flames well before the supposed position of the titanium strip, where was their evidence in your pet report ?
Furthermore if the gear bogey problem was judged by the BEA to be fairly inconsequencial why did they manage to lose directional control.
The report may be factual, up to a point, but it sure fails to emphasise the importance of things that would have been embarassing to AF ( the performance irregularities, the maintenance irregularities, the poor crm demonstrated by the crew in prematurely shutting down a live engine during the take-off)
Whether the court will look at these aspects, or just try to blame , 30 yrs later, the "soft targets", and a corporation on the wrong side of the Atlantic we will see.
If they do it will be as laughable as trying to blame an accident caused primarily by lack of situational awareness, on a little A/T defect, coincidentally also the fault of a corporation on the other side of the pond.
No wonder the Yanks must wonder how we can fit our heads so far up our own @rses.

M2dude
5th Feb 2010, 18:59
It is so pleasant to see that the majority of postings in this most serious of subjects, from both points of view, are being conducted sensibly and honestly.
I would respectfully disagree with Frangible, regarding French bashing, generally it is about the highly questionable engineering and operational standars of a certain Europian airline, at least as far as the Concorde operation goes, not French bashing sir. There is 27 years of 'previous convictions' here, and this is FACT. As far as the state of the AF A/C goes, I would suggest that the way you look after your aircraft speaks volumes about your engineering standards. On visits to AF in CDG, I and others were truly HORIFIED at the state of their A/C, not just about the agreed terrible state of the paintwork etc, but externally filthy and repair patches everywhere. (I remember in one case a HUGE patch over the main passenger entry door; lovely first impression for the passengers). But tattyness was not just confined to the exterior of the A/C; one of the DC power switches was twisted and bent, and the F/D had a distinct air of looking 'knocked about'. As far as the mechanics of what happened, I re-iterate that in the history of Concorde, this was the ONLY skin rupture (Approx the same size as an A4 sheet!!) caused by soft material only, blown OUTWARD; every other case was one of metalic debris causing relatively small fissures. (Nonetheless these of course must be and always were treated as serious). So what was so different here? Arguably the size (mass) and velocity of the tyre segment released when the tyre was destroyed, due to the previously posted conditions, and of course the condition within the tank.
We should all maybe consider what the motive is of a certain individual here, who seems personally obsessed with casting as much negative energy towards the aircraft as he possibly can. As soon as someone says something remotely positive about the A/C he seems to pounce, with the enthusiasm of a wild cat, coming out with the same 'recording' every time. He seems to know more about everything than those with 27 or more years experience. I will not engage here any more with responses to his jibes. (But as a matter of interest to all, the reported rudder and elevon panel failures (Eventually remedied by modifications and brand new units) caused no aerodynamic or control problems whatsoever. If something like this happens to a Boeing, it never even makes the back pages, but that's life I guess).

S.F.L.Y
5th Feb 2010, 19:19
I remember in one case a HUGE patch over the main passenger entry door

I prefer to have an ugly patch than to regularly loose airfoils in flight...

Can you seriously be considered as a neutral party given your curriculum?

No matter how bad was AF, BA wasn't good enough to avoid 5 fuel tank perforation caused by tires, which from my point of view is enough to be "concerned" by the potential associated risks. The rest is BS, just like your dishonest attempt to persuade us that tank 5 was over-pressurized without a single piece of evidence.

Desk Jockey
5th Feb 2010, 23:19
Just for the record Air France were not the only operator to have to replace all the hydraulic components on a Concorde due to fluid contamination.

M2dude
5th Feb 2010, 23:45
Correct sir, OAG due to water contamination of the fluid, circa 1981. Not QUITE the same results or implications as the AF incident, but it was a lesson learned by all. At this time in the early 80's no one anywhere quite realised how sensitive M2V was to hygroscopic contamination. A rigid airtight storage regime for M2V was employed after that, with no further reported cases of M2V contamination. Not quite the same as filling up with Skydrol though, I think you will agree.
As a point of interest to all other sensible posters here (that excludes one who obviously learned aircraft from a book, I sometimes wonder if he even knows which end that the pilot sits), AF had some flying control surface panel failures, they were as undramatic as the BA ones. They had fewer, because as the majority of people here realise, AF flew a fraction of the hours of the British A/C. These failures were due to water ingestion into imperfections in the control surface, causing delamination. As the aircraft spent the majority of it's life at 400 deg's K, the expansion caused the delams to seperate. It is unlikely that a subsonic A/C would have had a similar problem (as a matter of interest, these failures only occured after MANY thousands of supersonic flying hour)s. I hope that most of you accept that my comments here are not my opinions, they are generally facts borne out by a huge number of years of technical knowledge and experience.
It is good that there is so much in the way of constructive comments made here by the vast majority of posters.

ExSp33db1rd
6th Feb 2010, 09:11
.......And I mean "Expert"..........


X is an unknown quantity, and a Spurt is a Drip Under Pressure.

M2dude
6th Feb 2010, 09:14
To try and get back on track; Five people including Continental Airlines employees are in a French court, on trial over the Air France Concorde crash in July 2000. The debate within this forum has geerally been whether the BEA report into this tragedy (which is thole whole basis of this court case) was objective and fair in the first place. This debate is mainly centred around the BEA dismissal of critical evidence by highly credible eye witness reports and discounting out of hand the omission of a critical component by Air France maintenence personell. The whole blame for the crash is placed on a titanium strip on the runway, which had fallen from a Continental DC10, causing a tyre blowout and subsequent jettisoning of a large section of wing lower fuel tank surface. The resulting massive fuel stream flowing out of the fuel tank ignited and caused a massive fire, which resulted in the eventual crash of the aircraft, with the loss of 113 souls.
The point being made here (and this is NOT just my opinion; as I said before this is the opinion of a very large number of highly respected and learned people, not just in the UK, but elsewhere too:

The aircraft was highly over weight, taking off with a tailwind. The CG was way beyond the ABSOLUTE maximum for T/O of 54%, reduci9ng the effectiveness of nose wheel steering. (Particularly during the initial phase of the T/O roll).
An ommited spacer on the front L/H bogie had resulted in massive distortion in the geometry of the front wheels on this U/C. (Borne out by large amounts of R/H rudder application from the early to the very last satages of the T/O roll, with very little or no heading change. The trauma on the U/C was mitigated by rolling over an initial very rough runway surface, awaiting repair.
Eye witnesses (including 2 French airport firefighters, the closest of all to the A/C) categorilcaly stated that they saw smoke and flames eminating from the L/H U/C long before 'the titanium strip'.
The hydro-dynamics of the rupturing of the wing panel were like nothing ever experienced before, adding to the theory that this never was a simple tyre blowout,. There is an additional theory, not accepted by all that fuel tank #5 was being pressurised due to an illegal switch position. As tank 5 was directly feeding the ruptured #2 tank, the additional pressure of head plus pump pressure contributed to the hydo-dynamics of the event. This additional point however is not pivotal.
The A/C never achieved safe flying speed, on a day when the V2 was 220KTS, takeoff was at 201 knots, the maximum achieved IAS was 211 KTS. When the A/C was only running on 3 full thrust producing engines (#1 being seriously damaged by a runway light) #2 engine was shut down by the F/E strictly against SOPs. It was impossible for the A/C to remain flying after this.

S.F.L.Y
6th Feb 2010, 09:21
M2dude, how is hydraulic fluid contamination relevant to the Gonesse accident?

We understand that you want to make a point on the bad AF maintenance, but I don't think this is relevant to anything else than the tire failure. The consequences of such failure aren't related to the maintenance, but to a particular and known weakness.

All parties involved in the concorde operations were aware of the high rate of tire incidents and associated fuel tank perforations (without counting the BA fuel tank perforation caused by the 10 lost wheel nuts... maintenance issues?).

Pretending that BA wasn't exposed to any risk isn't fairly honest. There was a well known history of incidents with fuel tanks and engine damages with catastrophic potential due to the aircraft design. Talking about AF poor maintenance isn't gonna demonstrate that BA wasn't exposed to any risks.

ATC Watcher
6th Feb 2010, 10:36
M2dude.
A very concise and a correct recap of the facts so far .
just a couple of corrections ( based on published documents I have seen )

2.An ommited spacer on the front L/H bogie had resulted in massive distortion in the geometry of the front wheels on this U/C
I have not seen the words " massive distrortion " anywhere so far.

3.Eye witnesses (including 2 French airport firefighters, the closest of all to the A/C) categorilcaly stated that they saw smoke and flames eminating from the L/H U/C long before 'the titanium strip'

It is actually 3 firefighters ( evidence presented to the tribunal ) and they state smoke and fire started between exits S5 and S6 , so about 500-700 m before the position in the BEA report.( but the FDR transcript does not show/record any abnormality at that time )
When the A/C was only running on 3 full thrust producing engines
It was only 2 a full thrust , the 3rd one had irregular thrust , so they were in fact at 2,5 engines, an irrecoverable situation at that speed.

stickyb
6th Feb 2010, 11:09
M2Dude - Thank you for your summary. Let me state straight away I am not a pilot, just an interested observer with no ulterior motive. I would like to ask you one question, and that is : Do you think your summary will be aired in court?

B Fraser
6th Feb 2010, 11:40
#2 engine was shut down by the F/E strictly against SOPs

Please can you explain ? The crew were alerted to a fire by ATC and acted upon the information presented to them. #2 engine was behaving abnormally although not on fire. Was there other information available to the crew that should have directed them to a different course of action ?

On a separate point, it has been claimed that the shape of the edge of the titanium strip is a match to the lump of rubber that was left on the runway. Allegedly, the strip was kept in the safe belonging to the mayor who has jurisdiction over CDG. Very peculiar.

Chronus
6th Feb 2010, 12:01
Could I invite comment restricted to only the following question:

What would have been the outcome had there not been FOD, would the aircraft returned to terra firma without the loss of life and property ?

chuks
6th Feb 2010, 12:02
I think that the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) shows that the FE (Flight Engineer) shut down that engine on his own, without an order to do so from the Captain. The argument is that if it had been left running then it should have still been producing useful power, that shutting it down contributed to the crash.

I don't know the specifics of the Air France SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for this but I think that usually an engine is only shut down on the order of the Captain, using two-crew procedures. Something like:

FE: "Confirm shut down Number Two engine?"

Captain: "Confirm," etcetera. This protects against shutting down the wrong engine or as here, shutting down an engine that the Captain may wish to keep running.

Oddly enough, one may keep an engine that is on fire running after take-off. The logic is that you are using it to climb to a safe height, after which you may shut it down. The fire itself is not the main problem if you are at risk of crashing due to lack of performance or loss of control (both engines out on one side is much harder to control than one out and one on fire, for instance).

The counter-argument will probably be that there was no time for two-crew procedures so that the FE felt that he had to act on his own to deal with the reported fire as the greater risk to the aircraft. With hindsight, that might have been an obvious mistake on his part if the aircraft was not already unable to continue flight.

chuks
6th Feb 2010, 13:28
If a pilot or an engineer said something about what they saw in regard to an aircraft accident then you would give that a lot more credence than what your average citizen said, wouldn't you? Of course eyewitness testimony is always taken to be intrinsically unreliable but some eyewitnesses are more reliable than others.

An airport fireman has to be pretty credible when it comes to fire: sparks, smoke, flames and that sort of stuff are his area of expertise; while it isn't 100% absolutely established beyond any doubt it must be something that demands consideration, these reports about just where it was seen that this aircraft was showing the first signs of serious trouble.

lomapaseo
6th Feb 2010, 14:45
M2dude



1. The aircraft was highly over weight, taking off with a tailwind. The CG was way beyond the ABSOLUTE maximum for T/O of 54%, reduci9ng the effectiveness of nose wheel steering. (Particularly during the initial phase of the T/O roll).

2. An ommited spacer on the front L/H bogie had resulted in massive distortion in the geometry of the front wheels on this U/C. (Borne out by large amounts of R/H rudder application from the early to the very last satages of the T/O roll, with very little or no heading change. The trauma on the U/C was mitigated by rolling over an initial very rough runway surface, awaiting repair.

3. Eye witnesses (including 2 French airport firefighters, the closest of all to the A/C) categorilcaly stated that they saw smoke and flames eminating from the L/H U/C long before 'the titanium strip'.

The hydro-dynamics of the rupturing of the wing panel were like nothing ever experienced before, adding to the theory that this never was a simple tyre blowout,. There is an additional theory, not accepted by all that fuel tank #5 was being pressurised due to an illegal switch position. As tank 5 was directly feeding the ruptured #2 tank, the additional pressure of head plus pump pressure contributed to the hydo-dynamics of the event. This additional point however is not pivotal.

The A/C never achieved safe flying speed, on a day when the V2 was 220KTS, takeoff was at 201 knots, the maximum achieved IAS was 211 KTS. When the A/C was only running on 3 full thrust producing engines (#1 being seriously damaged by a runway light) #2 engine was shut down by the F/E strictly against SOPs. It was impossible for the A/C to remain flying after this.

Typical legal postulations (my bold above) that will be defeated immediately by expert witnesses. In the long run additional evidence beyond the BEA report may be introduced if supported by vetted experts. Then the case will be simplified down to non-expert judges interpreting the applicable law as it applies to fact vs opinion.

Much of what I read above is opinion and certainly the bolded words are only opinion by a non-expert

SLFinAZ
6th Feb 2010, 15:50
lompaseo,

Some of what your viewing as postulations do not appear to be so. I would submit that the airplanes weight and center of gravity are both easily calculatable as being beyond acceptable limits based on verifiable documentation and observation. The additional heat can be calculated with a reasonably high level of accuaracy (specific to the initial takeoff roll overrough surfaces) and that portion of the runway was already out of service for all other operations for documented reasons. So we have a certain amount of information that falls much closer to stipulated facts then to speculation.

Going further the FDR shows significant rudder input beyond the norm coupled with well below expected results for such an input. This would seem to demonstrate less then acceptable nose wheel steering performance initially as well as a clearly documentable problem with regard to the planes tracking. Since this deficiency predates both the tire blowout and impact with the runway debris it can be reasonably viewed as the 1st domino that fell. It is further possible to begin to calculate the additional heat and pressure added to that from the rough surface and normal operational stress.

So before you get to any consideration of the eyewutness (who would be deemed as expert witnesses acting in a professional capacity in a US court) you have a significant measure of forensic evidence that documents both heat and lateral stress beyond the anticipated load and the rating on the tires. Placed in the context of the historical issues predating the event which document a minimal margin of safty it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that the combination of takeoff configuration, local conditions (wind, runway surface etc) and the combined lateral stress and heat do to the combination of alignment and torque from the control surface input.

In effect all the required holes the moment the takeoff roll started. This leads us to the biggest flaw in the french legal system. In the US and British system the judge acts as the administrative function in applying the law. The role of the jury is to resolve any issue of truth as it relates to the facts. Here the administrative panel determines what "the truth" is. Any reasonable person with a high school education can really determine that this accident was decades in the making and that combination of circumstances reflects entirely on the airline and its operational and flight procedures. Viewed from this perspective the total absense of AF as a defendent points clearly to a political coverup at the highest level.

wings folded
6th Feb 2010, 18:50
This leads us to the biggest flaw in the french legal system. In the US and British system the judge acts as the administrative function in applying the law. The role of the jury is to resolve any issue of truth as it relates to the facts. Here the administrative panel determines what "the truth" is. Any reasonable person with a high school education can really determine that this accident was decades in the making and that combination of circumstances reflects entirely on the airline and its operational and flight procedures. Viewed from this perspective the total absense of AF as a defendent points clearly to a political coverup at the highest level.

Why do you not pop over to France and share all of your knowledge with the court?

Bring all your friends with a high school education.

The French courts are begging to be educated by wiser sources than those available to them. I sense that you feel you can plug the gap.

Were you so interested in the case of AZF?

The procedure was the same but in a diffferent locality.

There were numerous deaths.

As it happens there was no US individual nor corporation involved.

So it was not much reported in the US.

SLFinAZ
6th Feb 2010, 20:18
I take issue with any tribunal that utilizes it's administrative arm to determine issues of fact. If we look exclusively to the BEA report we can identify a couple of points of curiousity. The maximum gross weight is significantly reduced for an 8 knt tailwind entirely due to tire concerns. However the results of the overweight status (seperate from the late bags) is viewed an unimportant....yet we had a tire failure?.

Of the 57 documented failures 19 are specific to debris yet we had no preflight inspection for debris...even though both previous experience and engineering study showed both a very low safety margin and an abnormally high potential for catostophic failure in the vent of an incident. The prefight captains brief focuses on tire failure procedures and outlines options but at no time in the CVR is the tire failure mentioned or is a warning triggered by any sensor.

Based on the captains brief I'd expect an intricate sensor system monitoring tire pressure, temp etc that would have indicated a tire failure? The tremendous focus specific to potential tire failure prior to takeoff indicates how serious the issue is and begs the fundemental question on why a takeoff roll that exceeded the tires maximum certified performance threshold was even initiated?

So to me the real question/observation is that the proceedings have been artificially restricted to ignore very real and significant oversights that led directly to the crash. The argument that FOD was the direct cause and not coinsidental is unprovable within the context that the tire was being operated outside of its maximum certified perfromance envelope and that a significant history of failue within that envelope is documented in the absense of FOD. Further the failure to inspect the runway prior to every concorde takeoff is absurdly irresponsible given the potentially catostrophic outcome that was statistically unavoidable over a large enough sample set. In fact every effort appears to be in place to prevent an honest and objective review. The real three questions are simple...

1) Why was the runway not inspected
2) Why was the plane allowed to depart when "out of spec"
3) Why would a portion of runway unsuitable for standard operations be used for a plane with such potentially dangerous tire issues.

While a panel of administrative judges may very well discount these questions a jury (even a French one) is much more apt to contemplate these issues honestly. Jury nulification is the very real counterbalance to administrative judicial process that can place the "letter of the law" over the spirit of the law.

captplaystation
6th Feb 2010, 22:04
SLFin AZ,

I won't agree with all of your points just because we are the same age :ok: I will agree because I think they are well made. :D

On an anecdotal note, given the high stresses placed on the tires/tyres courtesy of the delta wing & the speed required to get airborne, I was always slightly surprised in CDG at the speed this projectile used to whistle past me on the taxiway as it made it's way to the holding point.
Yet again, I would suggest, a slight problem with carrying enough fuel, had perhaps a less than subtle influence on the priorities of the crew operating this ship. Maybe an over simplification of course, but an unconscious tendency to compensate for tight margins (ignoring excess baggage/squeezing extra fuel in "somehow" /exagerating taxi fuel to allow same/ taxying fast/ failing to allow for tailwind) may have become unwritten /unspoken S.O.P.'s on this fleet in this company ?
That will be a very difficult one to fish out in a court of law, even if it may have been the case.

S.F.L.Y
7th Feb 2010, 06:54
Further the failure to inspect the runway prior to every concorde takeoff is absurdly irresponsible given the potentially catostrophic outcome that was statistically unavoidable over a large enough sample set.When you need to inspect the runway before each takeoff due to potentially catastrophic outcomes it's probably that something is wrong with the aircraft itself. Maybe M2dude can confirm if BA had such mandatory inspections in its SOPs?

The aircraft was highly over weight, taking off with a tailwind.The aircraft's takeoff weight has been estimated between 185.598 kg and 186.251 kg. The MTOW was 185.070. At that point it is not exactly "highly" overweight and mainly depend on the reference used to calculate passengers weights. By using the 76 kg per pax you get 185.598 kg, 528kg above MTOW.

The restriction on weight comes from the tailwind which involves an increased ground roll speed. Tires have a maximum roll speed based on aircraft's weight. In case of tailwind the takeoff weight has to be reduced to a lower limit in order not to exceed the tires max speed. With an 8 kts tailwind the MTOW becomes 180.300 due to this tire speed limit. At this stage I want to make 2 comments:

1- The wind given by the tower was measured on the parallel runway (26L). The average wind (over 2 minutes) on this threshold was 090/03 while at the opposite runway end (08) the wind was 320/03. Despite the crew's decision to takeoff with the reported wind, it's very improbable that the aircraft actually encountered 8 kts of tailwind at the end of its takeoff roll.

2- Since the tire got burst well before reaching its rolling speed limitation, it is quite clear that exceeding an eventual tailwind MTOW limitation didn't play any role in the accident. By the time the tire was destructed, the aircraft wasn't exceeding its rolling speed limitation.

The CG was way beyond the ABSOLUTE maximum for T/O of 54%The CG was announced at 54% following fuel transfer before takeoff.

Machaca
7th Feb 2010, 08:25
When you need to inspect the runway before each takeoff due to potentially catastrophic outcomes it's probably that something is wrong with the aircraft itself.


Quite an obtuse judgment. Nothing wrong at all -- different ops for different equipment for different missions.


has been estimated

was measured

was announced

According to who/what? Surely you're not going to blindly defend AF with only the filtered details contained within the BEA report?!

DERG
7th Feb 2010, 10:03
"Any reasonable person with a high school education can really determine that this accident was decades in the making and that combination of circumstances reflects entirely on the airline and its operational and flight procedures. Viewed from this perspective the total absense of AF as a defendent points clearly to a political coverup at the highest level."

I agree.

Brit312
7th Feb 2010, 10:49
I do not won't to get involved with you boy's arguements but thought I would add the following points :-

1]There were no routine runway inspections for the departure of British Airways Concorde. However from the early 1980's a rigorous inspection of the parking bay and push back area was imposed, as it was found out that this was where FOD could be most likely found. It was found to include catering objects such as spoons, and baggage pieces such as buckles along with nuts/bolts from engineering.

2] Concorde had high speed tyres fitted to it, which if I remember correctly had a top speed of 225kts so tyre speed in this incident was not the problem, but it was always in the back of your mind

3] Concorde did have a tyre deflation warning system, but only up to 132 kts after which it was inhibited. The reason for this was that most of the tyre problems experienced in the early days was from slow tyre deflation due to FOD on the ramp or in some case on the taxi way without the crew being aware of it. This led to the other tyre on that axle being overloaded and giving way / shredding during the take off run. From many test done it was found that a tyre could easily withstand an overload for a certain period and it was determined that if a tyre deflated after 132 kts it's partner could stand the overload for longer than it took the aircraft to get airbourne, so to prevent high speed rejects the tyre warning was inhibited above this speed. Therefore in this case as the tyre rupture happened above 151 kts there would have been no warning.

4] Taxing fast was accepted if not the norm on Concorde, but not for 100% of the time. The recommended proceedure so as to save brake wear and high temps was to allow the speed to build quite high and then brake almost to a stop, before allowing the speed to rise again. You might have seen the high speed bit!! In fact getting to the runway too quick was not always benificial as often it just meant sitting waiting for space in the tanks to transfer fuel for C of G reasons

5]From the wreckage a C of G gauge was found showing 54.2 % which is within the Take off allowable range. In this case they were taking off at 54% so the aft limit was 54.3% for take off. However this indication was a gauge to check the C of G was withing range after you had transferred the correct amount of fuel from tank 11. If the C of G was not then within the correct range it meant there was something wrong with the load sheet. Now all this is in the ideal world and of coarse there was a certain amount of flexibilty used, but not much.

6] What has been called here the fidlle of putting on extra fuel was no such thing, but rather an approved manufacture's proceedure, and in BA was used rarely, mainly when trying to get the official paperwork figure on for say LHR to BGI. However as you topped up the tanks slighty over normal max full level, but still leaving airspace in the tank, it did mean the the F/E had to wait during taxi out for some of this extra fuel to be burnt off for him to transfer fuel for C of G reasons as his transfer fuel valves would not open until the fuel level had dropped below the normal high level switches. So this was a good proceedure, but it did rely on the Dispatcher loading the aircraft in such a manner that very little fuel transfer [burn off] was needed to achieve the C of G for take off, otherwise you just held waiting for the burn off to take place to allow transfer

Opps sorry gone on for longer than I realised, hope it helps

chuks
7th Feb 2010, 10:52
If you happen to find yourself anywhere between .5 and 5 tons overweight for takeoff then:

A. Ignore the reported wind because it probably isn't correct anyway.

B. If the book says that you are going to have a tire failure due to overspeed due to overweight due to A, above, ignore the book because, because...

I don't know why, exactly and I probably couldn't explain this very well to a Training Captain or a Ramp Inspector or, God forbid, some Flight Operations Inspector on the jump seat but if the book stops a man doing what a man's got to do, well... Did you ever see John Wayne sweating over loadsheet calculations or using the Flight Crew Operating Manual in "The High and the Mighty"?

I understand about the aircraft being anywhere from 528 to 5,298 kilos overweight at the very minimum, just going by the numbers provided by someone arguing against this awkward fact!

How, then, did some of you arrive at this notion that the aircraft was out of its aft CG limit of 54%? What assumptions were used for that? I assume that would have to be something to do with payload, since the post above states that the CG indication was within limits when that would have depended on fuel state. Or is there still a way to have "hidden fuel" as well?

wings folded
7th Feb 2010, 12:43
I take issue with any tribunal that utilizes it's administrative arm to determine issues of fact.



While a panel of administrative judges may very well discount these questions a jury (even a French one) is much more apt to contemplate these issues honestly. Jury nulification is the very real counterbalance to administrative judicial process that can place the "letter of the law" over the spirit of the law


Lacking the technical competence, I am in no position to judge whether your posts are correct as to the factors in this disaster. So I have never commented upon them, nor shall I.

But I do hope that your technical aviation knowledge is on a sounder footing than your knowledge of French constitution.

Where do you get the term "administrative judge" from?

The French Republic has a legislative arm, and an administrative arm and a judicial arm. All three are separate.

The hearing in Pontoise is under the authority of the judicial arm.

In most societies, the judicial arm exists to resolve questions of importance to that society. For example, guilt or innocence over an alleged crime, or responsibilty for something going wrong, or disputes between two parties or whatever.

The judicial arm is the one to determine "issues of fact". The judges in Pontoise are part of the judicial arm.

Different judicial systems may use different methods to determine "fact".

Some indeed use juries.

Given the disagreements expressed between, no doubt sincere and well informed contributors, about exactly what happened, how do you rate the chances of a random jury of lay people to determine which of all the highly technical evidence presented was correct and which was not?

The judges in this hearing are not aviation experts, but they have a staggeringly fierce training in the assessment of evidence.


You may be making the fairly common mistake of assuming that all the rest of the world is like the US, and if it is not, it should be.

Your condescending, flippant, irrelevant remark: "a jury (even a French one)" reveals a great deal about your agenda.

chuks
7th Feb 2010, 13:22
Well, I have to admit that a jury trial in the States can often be a real crap-shoot (a simple form of gambling using a pair of dice). You can read about decisions that contradict common sense, where the jury obviously bought some bogus argument that was very well put and handed some clown millions for something he most likely brought upon himself. It can be much better if what you care about is a fair and technically correct decision to have a case tried by a judge or judges alone. In fact, I think our National Transportation Safety Board does things that way in the cases they bring so that this might not be that far from American practice in some ways.

M2dude
7th Feb 2010, 13:35
This thread had now become full of comments, some of them a little colourful regarding the disaster, and a few more taking pops at me personally again; it’s ok, I’m a big boy and can take it. I’ll try and put my ‘pennies worth’ in here and answer, from MY perspective, as many of the points that I can. To save writing a veritable odyssey in one go, I’ll deal with a couple of points at a time, working backwards;

WINGSFOLDED Not much to say about your legal points, don't profess to be a legal person, but my point never was one of French Bashing. It is possible to obsess on both sides of this particualar issue, my point always was the way that Concorde was operated there, and the outright refutal by the BEA of some fairly critical points. I hope most people would want not to indulge in such things.
Chucks; the indicated CG was derived from the ‘fuel CG’, derived from the FQI fuel weight from each tank, modifying this for the individual tank CG moment arm and also total fuel weight. The Formula used by the CG computer was( (ZFW*ZFCG) + all 13 FQI fuel mass moment sums))/(ZFW + total fuel weight). This data was then modified by manually inputting zero fuel weight (obviously the weight of the A/C itself plus payload), and zero fuel CG (the individual A/C CG (known from periodic A/C weighing) and actual payload distribution). The manually inputted data, obtained from ‘dispatch load control’ depended on its accuracy on accurate payload data (as well of course as accurately stored individual A/C weight data) ACCURACY HERE WAS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL!! . A/C CG was then computed and displayed as a percentage of the aerodynamic chord line, Co. The FQIS data was obviously dependant on the FQIS being able to ‘see’ all of the fuel also. Of particular interest here is ZFCG; As you say, the ‘frozen’ CG here is 54.2 %, this in itself although 3.7% total in error, is within the operational tolerance.. (There is a historic issue regarding the 54% limit; when the A/C initially entered service in 1979 T/O CG was limited to 53.5 %, but to enable higher T/O weights a modification was embodied to extend the limit, when required only, the limit was extended to 54%. The limit had to be manually selected by the FE, via a solenoid latched switch. The latch was broken once either Tank 9 Trim Pump operated. Now the limits on CG were presented on the CG indicator as two orange limit bugs. These bugs would move rearwards as a function of Mach Number and total A/C weight, and at Mach 2 the aft limit would be 59.2%. If the CG deviated from the limits, a ‘Mach CG’ limit warning would be generated. To enable the 54% limit. Because of the criticality of the system, the three trim transfer tanks had dual gauging channels, for added accuracy. Now, we have an indicated CG of 54.2, but , leaving aside any other issues of conjecture, there are 19 suitcases in the rear hold NOT ON THE LOADSHEET. Now these poor souls are German tourists going on a world cruise, one can only speculate the average weight of the cases; if you assume a minimum of, say, 20kg, you have an unaccounted weight of 380 KG. If you assume 25KG, then you have 475 KG, getting on for half a tonne overweight. But this additional weight was in the aft hold, situated just forward of the aft trim tank; we are significantly aft of the 54% limit, without considering any other factors
BRIT312; Very good points made here. Your point regarding the load sheet is particularly valid here; you relied totally on the accuracy of the data you were given. As you say, although no runway check was normally carried out, there was a rigid FOD check done, both on the stands at LHR and JFK. The JFK check even extended into the confines of the initial taxiway, the rest of course being down to PONYA. Your point about the tank override switches are taken, ununreservedly withdraw my previous comments about this, I cannot use this as part of the arguement. I apologise to anyone who disagreed with me in any way on this particular issue. The Concorde Tyre Deflation Warning System, installed in the early 80’s (as part of the ongoing issue of preventing tyre failures). It was far cruder than the modern TPIS sensors used in present day Boeing and Airbus A/C. It worked on a differential strain gauge system, where the front and rear bogie loads were compared on each side. As crude as it was, it was good enough to detect a 10% deflation, and helped prevent many taxiing tyre failures. As you point out, above 130 KTS, the system was inhibited for the reasons stated.More later.

M2dude
7th Feb 2010, 13:48
SFLY; I've explained about CG, and what the display means. The whole point about the tyre being destroyed (no destructed?) was the COMBINATION of an overweight A/C, with a defective rolling set of wheels, initially running over an inferior runway surface. nb: this surface was repaired immediately after the dister.
The whole point is a COMBINATION of factors, not just one, get it?.

chuks
7th Feb 2010, 13:59
36 kilos is the usual limit for a suitcase (Health and Safety for the baggage handlers who might be injured picking up a too-heavy suitcase) so we could probably guess something like 680 kilos in this case and feel correct in that loose assumption, that our well-heeled Germans were on the limit with their bags.

Anyway, I never met a prosperous German male who tipped the scales at 76 kilos fully dressed with his carry-on stuff, there is that, too. (I worked for a while for a German construction company, flying a small aircraft, when I would get actual passenger weights. Some of the numbers were frightening.)

Then the bags would have been slung into the rear hold without being noted on the load sheet, not trying to kill anyone but still overlooking two critical points, the weight and the balance, in the rush to get away on time. That might make another plausible assumption, with the FE then looking at a nice, tidy loadsheet and a cockpit indication that both showed what he wanted to see, 54%. The first real sign of trouble would have been during the take off, I suppose, when the steering was ineffective.

It will be interesting to see what comes out in court. Is this a closed proceeding?

DERG
7th Feb 2010, 14:09
"Concorde had high speed tyres fitted to it, which if I remember correctly had a top speed of 225kts so tyre speed in this incident was not the problem, but it was always in the back of your mind"

DUNLOP
MICHELIN
KLEBER?
GOODYEAR?

Crossply
Radial

I hope reps of ANY company supplying tyres to Concorde are called to give evidence at the trial.

M2dude
7th Feb 2010, 14:39
DERG; Good point about the tyres. The problem was that Concorde (like any other practical SST) was a delta design, amd of course the wheels are going to be totally covered by the wing. Without any flaps or slats. complete reliance is placed on the lift characteristics of the delta. This requires relatively high take-off speeds (typical VR of around 200 KTS and a V2 of 220KTS). This necessitated high pressure/high speed tyres. Also due to the large wing area involved with any delta, relatively thin wing alloy thickness has to be employed due to weight concerns. This applies to any SST. If only Kevlar sheeting had been available from the early days, then critical areas of the wing tanks could have been protected. (Any idea of armour plating here would have been a non-starter for any SST design). As far as tyres go, with the technology available in the '70's & 80's, the only real available units tended to be relatively fragmentive when punctured. All you could really do was minimise the chances of tyre failure, and protect vital systems from damage. Note that after 1993, modifications to the BA fleet prevented any further wing damage due to tyre failure. It is arguable that the advent of the brilliant Michellin NZG design should have been available earlier, but such is the pace of technological progress.
LOMAPASEO; whether you consider me an expert or not is irrelevant here. (You do not know me, what do you know?).
These issues are not a matter of opinion, they actually happened. Copying and pasting is easy to do. Oh, and as far as the expert witnesses for the defence goes, you may welll find their opinions generally similar to mine; wait and see.
SFLY the patches issue, as you say relates to the whole question of the AF engineering standards in regard to Concorde. Do you understand? The hydraulic contamination post was the reply to the previous one.
SLFinAZ; Problem was here that the A/C required full length of the runway. Because of a tech' delay, the captain wanted to get airborne ASAP. In all fairnes to him, wrong as his decision of not requesting another runway (This runway condition was of course known by all, and remember the tailwind issue also) he was en extremely experienced pilot who is not here to defend himself. Maybe he was the victim of commercial pressures I guess, we'll never know. Irrespective of ANYTHING else, this was such a tragedy.
STICKYB; I think you will find MOST of my points will be aired in court by expert witnesses. I know personally two of them and they are incredibaly respected and knowledgable gentlemen indeed.
ATCWATCHER The U/C distortion issue is a perception, due to the lack of lateral control of the A/C on the runway (16 to 22 degrees of right rudder applied with little effect on the path of the A/C), coupled with a major component being missing from the U/C, due to a major error of maintenance. So many people (not suggesting for a second that yourself is included here) with little knowledge of the Concorde U/C makeup seem determined to disagree with this point. As far as the thrust issue goes, #2 engine surged and recovered, the theory being that the surges were due to massive fuel ingestion by the LP compressor. It was still producing thrust when shut down. But point well made sir.
GOBONASTICK Airport firefighters are professional people, not just members of the public. Your comments are an insult to their professionalism. You think that you should discount eveidence supplied by these very brave folks?
CHUKS; I completely take your point regarding the difficulties involved in the 'shutting down engine' case. With Concorde, Just like most other fleets, an engine shutdown should only be carried out ONLY when safe flying speed was obtained. Not the case here, ever.

wings folded
7th Feb 2010, 15:56
It will be interesting to see what comes out in court. Is this a closed proceeding?


No, it is a public trial.

But if you turn up without being an interested party, it is not likely that there will be room for you.

Matter of space simply.

EHartmann
7th Feb 2010, 16:17
That was actually calculated at BEA report.

Taking into account the 19 "missing" bags (and using 88 kg per male passenger) the CG at taxi with fuel was estimated to be at 54.25, when as per load-sheet that was supposed to be 54.2. Therefore, when the crew fixed the CG before take-off they thought they ended up at 54 when in reality you can estimate that it was about 54.03.

Cannot say if that difference has any effect on aircraft performance, but it DOES sound tiny, especially when taking into account that there has to be some margin to accommodate e.g. the fact that you do not actually weigh every passenger.

SLFinAZ
7th Feb 2010, 17:02
From my reading here it's clear that the captain was highly respected and very experienced (as would be expected). My interest here is twofold. 1st a natural curiosity with regard to identifying what the true holes in the cheese were and an interest in the mechanism of the inquiry.

With regard to the 1st the reduction in weight being specific to the tires indicates just how close to tolerance the typical demands were. The real concern is heat...not speed. The combination of a rough initial surface and improper loading (we can confirm the COG issue by interpolation of the ineffectiveness of control input during the takeoff roll that the nose wheels had less then ideal contact. So we had more weight (more heat), More friction due to surface conditions (more heat) more stress do to improper tracking (more heat) and well above normal torque on the sidewalls (more heat). So at the end of the day we have the basic formula - more heat x 4 = MORE HEAT.

To me the failure to mandate runway inspections for FO's prior to all concorde takeoff rolls (regardless of airline) is a disaster in the making.

Moving on to my comment specific to the "administrative arm". In a trial system the judge administers the trial in accordance to applicable law. He applies the "law" to the stipulated facts. In a jury system the jury weighs the evidence presented to reach a determination of "truth". Can this lead to poor results...sure. BUT it can also lead to the correct outcome. In fact it was fought for for the very reason that over hundreds of years trials were simply viewed as rubber stamp procedures. Reading the BEA report somethings jump out at you...as much for whats omitted as whats clearly stated. However even sticking to the official report certain things jump out procedurally. The most intriguing is the lack of attention to mandated operating parameters that were exceeded.

So once you have a formal criminal indictment that provides no mechanism to weigh the role of such clearly outlined transgressions or assign any blame you have an official witch hunt. The underlying questions specific to why bags were placed in the worst possible place with regard to COG (and not included on the load sheet). Why a runway unsuitable for use was ever assigned (and not rejected by the captain out of hand)? Why a plane with an incorrect undercarriage assembly (when tire failure has such catastrophic possibilities) was even in service? For a true and fair outcome these questions all need to be weighed against the other variables in play.

Instead we have a preset combination that clearly pre-states "Mr Continental in the Library with a titanium strip" as the primary culprit backed up by a few poor sods who got politically railroaded decades ago because no way no how would those planes have been pulled out of service by either nation for any reason.

chuks
7th Feb 2010, 17:25
Thanks for the information, Bubi. From that it reads as if the C.G. was in range even with the extra bags and all. I guess that just leaves the question of the missing spacer and why the aircraft didn't track the centreline.

wings folded
7th Feb 2010, 18:03
Moving on to my comment specific to the "administrative arm". In a trial system the judge administers the trial in accordance to applicable law. In a jury system the jury weighs the evidence presented to reach a determination of "truth".


In your US context you may or may not be correct.

I do not know. I will not comment.

France is not the US.

In France a judge does not "administer" the trial. Amongst other tasks, he attempts to reach a determination of truth. And there are three of them to perform this task in this context.

Laws and procedures are different between different countries and cultures.

Are you as assured in knowing the difference between an inquisitorial system and an adverserial system as you assert to be about CofG calculations, for example?

No, I am sorry, SLFinAZ, I will not accept your rabid anti French musings.

You may be entirely correct about the underlying causes of this tragedy. Or you may be entirely wrong. Or you may be somewhere in between.

But you should hold a little respect for a judicial system which has just an illustrious history as yours.

SLFinAZ
7th Feb 2010, 18:43
And there in lies the problem. The judges motivations and perception of the law can (and often does) undermine or reflect on what he feels the "truth" is. Specific to this trial the nature of the indictment shapes the judges handling and potentially points him in a specific direction with regard to his findings of "truth". One need look no further then the case in Italy to see this at work. As for your comment on an inquisition vs an actual trial I agree whole heartedly. What you have here is exactly that, an inquisition. I have no bias against the French at all. As an observation I find all too many hide behind both a charge of a bias and a defense of an "illustrious" history when confronted with a moment of stupidity...this is not confined to France by any means.

As for the COG I am 100% sure. That is nothing more then math and physics and can be easily demonstrated by reviewing the effect of control input cause and effect. nose wheel steering efficiency is directly effected by COG and if it is subpar then regardless of a preconceived "number" the COG was out of balance to the point that it had a direct effect on steering. So as a matter of provable fact the nose gear steering was compromised enough to both require above normal control inputs and for those inputs to have less then expected impact on directional control.

The difference here in my perspective and yours is also the underlying issue at hand in the trial. All I want is the truth while you want an "acceptable truth". In the end a search for acceptability defeats a search for fact.

S.F.L.Y
7th Feb 2010, 19:35
The different overweight values weren't a range (between 500 and 5000 kg). These numbers were given by using different approved calculation methods (male, female, infants with specific values or all at 76 kg each). Since the 500 kg results from an "approved" calculation method, it basically represent the "legal overweight" with no need to consider higher value in regard to "book operations".

There was a "high legal overweight" of 500kg, no runway inspection and a missing spacer which all played a role in the tire destruction. Which of the elements leading to fuel tank damages and fuel ignition following this tire destruction could have been 100% avoided by BA and not AF?

Considering the runway FOD and since BA wasn't conducting much runway inspections, it wouldn't have been avoided by a BA concorde. Again, what in such case would have led a BA aircraft to an 100% safe outcome?

I know that AF is definitely responsible for the violations that led to the tire destruction (the missing spacer above all) and that the BEA obviously failed to highlight it. I still want to look beyond that and I'm not convinced that such tragedy could have been avoided in all cases by a BA concorde bursting a tire.

It's my personal opinion to believe that there was a basic weakness within the aircraft's design which had little to do with the airline. Blaming AF's poor operational qualities doesn't demonstrate the aircraft wasn't presenting an unacceptable risk level.

wings folded
7th Feb 2010, 19:41
And therein lies your problem, SLFinAz:

As for your comment on an inquisition vs an actual trial

There is more than one method of conducting a trial.

The method will depend upon the legal regime in place.

You obviously think that an inquisatorial system means that it it is per se an "inquisition". Otherwise, in the contrary, it is what you term "an actual trial"

What is taking place in Pontoise is "an actual trial".

It is taking place according to the locally applicable law which you neither embrace nor understand.

Inquisatorial or adversarial methods of trial have co-existed for centuries.

You seem only to be aware of one method.

Your general knowledge is the poorer for that. And your ability to understand other systems is seriously undermined.

I did say that I will not contest your CofG conclusions. I still will not. You may well be correct. Why raise it again with me?


All I want is the truth while you want an "acceptable truth".


What entitles you to make such an outrageous remark?

For your edification, there was 100 deaths of passengers.

There was 9 deaths of crew.

There was 4 deaths on the ground.

And you think that I am concerned with "acceptable truth"?

I want this never to happen again.

You just want to appear clever and right.

quaxyisysu
7th Feb 2010, 19:42
"The problem was that Concorde (like any other practical SST) .........."

The problem was that Concorde was never a practical design, it was a white elephant from the start and was only kept aloft, despite it's many design flaws and technical problems, at enormous cost to the taxpayer in a fruitless effort to save face.

lomapaseo
7th Feb 2010, 19:50
SLFinAZ

Moving on to my comment specific to the "administrative arm". In a trial system the judge administers the trial in accordance to applicable law. He applies the "law" to the stipulated facts. In a jury system the jury weighs the evidence presented to reach a determination of "truth". Can this lead to poor results...sure. BUT it can also lead to the correct outcome. In fact it was fought for for the very reason that over hundreds of years trials were simply viewed as rubber stamp procedures. Reading the BEA report somethings jump out at you...as much for whats omitted as whats clearly stated. However even sticking to the official report certain things jump out procedurally. The most intriguing is the lack of attention to mandated operating parameters that were exceeded.

So once you have a formal criminal indictment that provides no mechanism to weigh the role of such clearly outlined transgressions or assign any blame you have an official witch hunt. The underlying questions specific to why bags were placed in the worst possible place with regard to COG (and not included on the load sheet). Why a runway unsuitable for use was ever assigned (and not rejected by the captain out of hand)? Why a plane with an incorrect undercarriage assembly (when tire failure has such catastrophic possibilities) was even in service? For a true and fair outcome these questions all need to be weighed against the other variables in play.


Some good points

But let us not rush to judgement that this is a witch hunt.

It could be as simple as weighing the facts as weighted contributors argued by expert witnesses, and only afterwards finding the extent of contributing factors which may or may not support criminal findings.

So at this point let's hope the expert witnesses argue their points in a less colorful fashion then some on this thread and after the fact we may make our own judgements of justice served.

captplaystation
7th Feb 2010, 19:55
You have a bit of an anti-BA obsession little S.F.L.Y.

No discussion on this accident is possible without you dragging BA into the argument.

No discussion on Turkish Airlines is possible without you somewhat myopically comparing it to BA038.

I will tell you two differences in what would have happened, the BA flight engineer would assuredly not have "jumped the gun " and shut down engine No2, and there was no Le Bourget at the end of any of Heathrows runways, so, endgame possibly all dead anyhow.

This is of course pre-assuming the BA aircraft would have left the hanger with a missing spacer & made its way to the runway for an illegal downwind take -off, in any case probably overweight & possibly out of C.G., with possibly unaccounted for baggage, and using a runway that was at best substandard in its surface characteristics.

If you want to slag off BA Concorde operations at least find decent ammunition & remind us all again about the erstwhile fleet-god who landed @ LHR & had to be towed to stand courtesy of his unwillingness to listen to the rest of the crew & divert to SNN/PIK (anywhere ) but instead complete the mission to LHR.Of course, as a mere "teenager" in this business, perhaps your memory doesn't go that far back, or wasn't it mentioned on wikipedia ?
That however does not I believe reflect on the overall comparitive levels of professionalism in the decades of operation, there are "black sheep" in every flock. :rolleyes:

S.F.L.Y
7th Feb 2010, 20:04
According to who/what? Surely you're not going to blindly defend AF with only the filtered details contained within the BEA report?!

I never intended to defend AF, on the contrary. You can check it on other forums where I've been criticizing the BEA report in regard to the missing spacer issue 6 years ago (I know you like to read my old posts :E).

Now in regard to the values, I don't have anything else to propose that what is officially available. Do you have a reliable alternative?

While the BEA report is clearly voluntarily ignoring some issues (effects of the missing spacer during previous landings), I don't think its values have been altered on purpose.

captplaystation
7th Feb 2010, 20:10
wings folded,

The reason many of us doubt the existence of a determined will to find the truth is that the only ones being charged are the ones highlighted by the BEA (Continental) and ones who are so far back in history that they will be dealt with leniently anyhow.
If the public prosecutor had listened to the other opinion existing and had demanded the prosecution of the AF engineer responsible for the non-replacement of the spacer (as everyone EXCEPT the BEA seems to understand the importance of this ), perhaps the person compiling the loadsheet, perhaps the controller who didn't see the smoke & flames until WAY too late (CDG controllers don't look out the window , I operated there for 6 yrs & I can give some hideous examples that prove that claim) the Director of Flight Training of the Concorde fleet, indeed , 1 single person associated with Air France, somebody ? ? nobody ? ? cmon ! ! maybe we could give more credence to this "process" which seems to me to be heavily loaded to dump the blame at the first & last holes in the cheese, whilst conveniently absolving (indeed not even accusing ) the embarassing mould in the middle.
Me, I think it is a cover up, let the verdict satisfy the professional pilot population throughout Europe & I will be happy to retract that statement.

S.F.L.Y
7th Feb 2010, 20:13
Captplaystation you really don't get anything about my point:}
I'm not attacking BA and I'm not saying its maintenance wasn't good. I'm just saying that it's a quick shortcut to use AF violations to pretend BA didn't have any responsibility in addressing and mitigating the concorde's risks.

BA was certainly a much better operator for concorde, but this has nothing to do with the fact that French & British operators, civil aviation authorities, crews, engineers and investigation boards failed to mitigate the risks.

I chose to make comparison with BA to demonstrate the risks were most probably also inherent to the aircraft. In no way my point was to "attack".

By the way, while you keep on blaming the maintenance for the missing spacer, I still didn't get explanations for the 10 lost wheel nuts which perforated a BA's concorde fuel tank....wasn't it a maintenance issue :}?

captplaystation
7th Feb 2010, 20:19
For once I find myself broadly in agreement with you :ok:

wozzo
7th Feb 2010, 20:28
Me, I think it is a cover up, ...

The prosecution obviously follows the BEA report, so if you don't believe in that report, you will think of the prosecution whatever you like.

But there is a distinction between prosecution and judge. A judge may not follow the prosection, and it happens every day in every decent judicial system like the french. A judge, as far as I understand, may even call witnesses on his/her own.

So, if the alternative explanation has merits, it will have a chance.

SLFinAZ
7th Feb 2010, 20:52
wings folded,

If in fact the trial judges go beyond the scope of the criminal bill and pursues the blatantly obvious lines of inquiry in depth then I'll be happy to comment appropriately. My thoughts prior to the trial is that any all elements outside the scope of the prosecutors draft will be either downplayed or even potentially excluded from consideration. So in the end it would appear that a forgone verdict exists prior to the commencement of the trial. In then end all of us will be able sit in judgement on the validity of the trial.

Chronus
7th Feb 2010, 21:00
The technical arguments have been done to death. We all know and understand what and how it happened. The purpose of the BEA investigation was to learn from it and avoid a recurrence. It achieved precisely that. The purpose of the criminal trial now is to deal with the issue of blame.
Roland Rapport, a lawyer for the victims said " it is unimaginable that all it takes is a burst tyre to crash an airplane ". Particularly so apt when considered in the context of SST Concorde. Back in the early days of the wide body jets, a 747 on take off removed most of a light gantry but remained airborne. This is the very reason why France has put on trial her very own plane makers responsible for its design and her own Civil Aviation authority for allowing it to fly. The five incidents 1979-1981 evidenced the weakness in design and the lack of adequate fuel tank protection. The charges eminate from their alleged neglect in failing to act in their knowledge or at least their awareness of this design weakness. The subsequent AD to reinforce/protect the fuel tanks is proof enough.
Continental`s part is relatively small ( no pun intended ) even if they are found guilty I do not believe they will carry the whole burden of responsibility for the accident. After all it could have been any other FOD from any other source, or a simple tyre burst, the whole question must be was Concorde an accident waiting to happen.
This I believe is the question that the French Judiciary will bravely and openly deal with.

captplaystation
7th Feb 2010, 21:04
wozzo,

I truly hope you are right, and this is how it pans out.

The only problem, it will be a terrible loss of face/slap in the face if the court finds contrary to the BEA, will this be politically palatable ? :hmm:

Nationalistic pride apart, courtesy of the internet, we read, or at least can if we choose, so much information nowadays, that MAYBE (God I hope so ) this sham (and I do not apologise for this term) of a conclusion by the BEA may indeed not be allowed to remain, even by the French public, as the definitive explanation of what really happened that day.

Rananim
7th Feb 2010, 21:12
BEA should have mandated better protection from tire debris way back in the 70's after a famous incident, and if they werent prepared to do that then they should have mandated runway inspections before each and every Concorde takeoff.AF and BEA must carry the blame for it.Nothing to do with Continental.Like every other crash before it,its a case of the tombstone imperative..ie nothing gets done until people die.

Finn47
7th Feb 2010, 21:43
As if you didn´t know that the BEA does not have the power to mandate anything. They can make recommendations and that´s it. Up to aviation authorities to mandate something or not, irrespective of anything the accident investigators might recommend. EASA, these days.