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Concorde flight approval 'likely'

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Concorde flight approval 'likely'

Old 20th Aug 2001, 21:49
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Thumbs up Concorde flight approval 'likely'

from news.bbc.co.uk

Concorde is likely to have its certificate to fly passengers restored by the end of next week, it has been announced.
The decision could allow passenger services on the supersonic jet to resume within weeks.

The Concorde fleets belonging to British Airways and Air France have been grounded since one crashed near Paris in July 2000, killing 113 people.

BA has already said it hopes to resume fare-paying flights by September.

Air France says it hopes to do so by October.

Following a meeting in Paris on Monday, an Anglo-French Concorde working group announced the airworthiness certificates for both airlines' Concordes were likely to be restored by the end of August.

They were withdrawn after the Air France Concorde crashed shortly after take-off in July 2000, killing everyone on board and four people on the ground.

It is believed a decision on the certificates - which are needed for each of BA's seven planes and Air France's remaining five - will be made on 28 August.

Safety improvements

Both airlines have made extensive modifications to their fleets to prevent a repeat of last year's crash, caused when debris from a burst tyre pierced a fuel tank, resulting in a fatal fire.

Tougher tyres have been introduced, fuel tanks have been fitted with a bullet-proof lining, and other procedural changes have been made.

The modifications have performed well in a number of successful test flights conducted by BA, which is expected to spend around 17m fitting out its fleet.

Last week, a report detailing the changes was submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority and its French counterpart.

In a statement, the working group said: "The group noted with satisfaction that Concorde's certificate of airworthiness was likely to be restored simultaneously by the Civil Aviation Authority and the DGAC [France's civil aviation authority], probably before the end of August 2001.

Improving safety
Bullet-proof rubber fuel tank liners to prevent debris piercing tanks
New stronger Michelin tyres
Debris fired at mock fuel tanks in fire, wind-tunnel and 'gun' tests
Stronger undercarriage wiring to prevent fires

"The modifications being proposed will be approved, and the certificates of airworthiness will be restored, once the certification authorities have fully reviewed the technical dossier submitted by the manufacturers."

The group, which has met nine times since the crash, added that it "did not see the need for any further meeting".

Meanwhile, BA has offered staff the chance to win a place on one of five planned "operational assessment" test flights in a ballot.

Four of the flights will return to Heathrow Airport after flying out to the North Atlantic, but the fifth will touch down at New York's Kennedy Airport before heading home.
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Old 20th Aug 2001, 23:36
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Jolly good news!!
Old 21st Aug 2001, 00:00
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Not everyone agrees. This is what 'The Independent' thinks: (copyright acknowledged)

Concorde's promised revival will be hailed by British Airways and Air France, but many people who have been thankful for its absence in the past year will not be happy to hear that it will win back its wings.

In the year since it has been absent from our skies, there have been ups and downs in climate change negotiations, notably at The Hague last November where the Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions seemed to have been torpedoed and then at Bonn last month, where the plans got back on track.

And what has Concorde to do with climate change? It is, like all aircraft, a significant polluter. Concorde, in fact, produces more pollution per passenger-mile than any other commercial aircraft. And when one looks at the aural pollution or noise, to you and me it ranks up there as one of the most unpopular for people who live near airports; and also for those who didn't think they lived anywhere near airports, until the delta-winged plane roars off with its tiny complement of well-heeled travellers.

True, Concorde is a marvel of technology but of 1960s technology. It only gets where it does by virtue of burning huge amounts of fuel, and its true costs of development were borne by the British and French governments. Things have moved on. Do you still show off your 1960s watch? Or 1960s calculator? Or 1960s car, except as a museum piece? Why then for an aircraft?

Many people have spoken of last year's crash, in which 113 people died, as a world-shaking moment, with the implication that somehow Concorde had gone on for years and years without mishap. In fact, when you tot up the statistics and flying hours, it turns out that it did not perform so well in terms of distance and hours flown before an accident. It fact, it was pretty average.

Mike Bannister, head of Concorde operations at British Airways, is typical of those who are strongly in favour of a resumption: "I wouldn't want to have to explain to my grandchildren that we used to cross the Atlantic in three hours and now we do it in nine."

But just because we can do something with the technology we have developed does not mean that we have to do it all the time. We managed to fly men to the Moon and back in 1969; yet somehow we have resisted the enormous temptation to have weekly passenger cruises out there. Concorde pollutes the atmosphere and isn't necessary. We haven't missed it. Let's do without it.

[ 20 August 2001: Message edited by: Unwell_Raptor ]
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Old 21st Aug 2001, 01:21
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Sorry UR, but couldn't disagree more.

Concorde's environmental impact is negligible, BA have seven aircraft (count 'em) flying four Transatlantic services per day, two Barbados services per week, and misc. charters.

And Concorde's emissions per mile (NOT per passenger mile) are ten times lower than your car. Not than my car, 'cos I drive a smoke-belching sixties roadster, and I'm proud to sometimes wear my inherited fifties Rolex.

And while building Concorde's successor might not consume more of the world's resources than running it on, that's certainly the case with cars - those who drive inefficient ten-to-twenty year old cars are causing less damage than those who buy a new diesel every two years - and that's without the particulates. It's a complex subject, the environment, and too many people are too selective about which bits of environmentally friendly they subscribe to?

I'm sorry that you're troubled by Concorde's infrequent noisy departures out there in Buckinghanshire (two to three per day, on average, and all at 'sociable' hours!). Perhaps you shouldn't have bought a house in Marlow, or Gerrards Cross, or wherever. And doesn't the sight of the great white bird thundering majestically (blah blah) bring a lump to your throat, goose bumps to your skin, etc.? Doesn't it make you proud to be British, or even European?

It may not be necessary, but then nor is any airliner engaged in carrying tourists to foreign holidays they don't need, and nor are any historic aircraft, works of art, historic buildings, or anything that isn't strictly utilitarian. Down with such soulless killjoyism!

If you agree with the piece which you posted, you have no soul, my friend, and while we're talking about a fleet as small as Concorde's, you have no argument either!
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Old 21st Aug 2001, 01:30
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Actually, compared to your average military aircraft Concorde is no noisier nor dirtier.

There are what, 12 Concordes remaining? Anyone like to hazard a guess as to how many military jets (and especially supersonic ones) there are?

A darn sight more than 12, I'll bet!

As a kid, I lived for a while in Wokingham - and every time I heard that unmistakable sound of four RR Olympus engines on afterburner I'd rush to the window. As you say, Jackonicko - it gave me goosebumps. And now, 20 years on and 30 trips on the great white bird later, I still get a thrill out of it - especially when I'm on board and we start the take-off roll!!
Old 21st Aug 2001, 02:33
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Before you have a go at me, go back and read my post again. It's a quote, geddit? That is, I was bringing the Independent's view to the debate.

For myself, I love the thing. I would never pass LHR at 10.40, when Speedbird One was due off in 5 minutes, and I know one or two niches where I can park and watch - just for a minute officer. I have toured the aircraft on the ground, and my wife loves to remind me that she has flown on it (albeit a 15 minute positioning flight from BHX).

So save your scorn for the Indie journos, Jacko; it weren't me what said it.
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Old 21st Aug 2001, 02:51
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Phew! What a good job I caeated with an "if you believe..."

But you raise a serious point. How can this sort of tosh (I'm pished, shorry) be countered?
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Old 21st Aug 2001, 13:21
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Anyone tell me which SID the scheduled Concorde flights use out of LHR? I live right beneath the first part of the Buzad and 09 BPK SIDs. I moved there after the Concorde flights were suspended and if they resume might just have to get my deckchair out in the garden.
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Old 21st Aug 2001, 14:14
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For JFK the CPT SIDs are used. Not in Heston per chance are you Pandora?
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