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French Concorde crash

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French Concorde crash

Old 9th Dec 2010, 23:25
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Very interesting thread.
It is, but now seems to be in a 3-way stalemate between:

1. those who appear to believe that the crash happened because Concorde was actually on the runway and shouldn't have been because it was not airworthy;

2. those who adhere to the evidence in the report, which states that the aircraft was airworthy and would have enjoyed an uneventful flight had it not rolled over the titanium strip; and

3. Continental's lawyers, who appear to have thought that they wouldn't get away with using argument 1, and therefore used an "it wasn't me, mister" argument based on an alleged fire existing before Concorde hit the strip, rendering the strip incidental to the accident.

Do I read that right? Where do we go from here, then?

I dreamed of supersonic travel as a kid and look what happened.
The world's most beautiful aircraft.
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 23:46
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KBPsen
I used your quote to make a point. Am sorry if by doing so you feel agrieved.

I also said at the end of my penultimate paragraph in post 245 that "The last sentence is not directed at you KBPsen" so am sorry that you feel that my comments were directed at you.

Regards
Nick
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 02:24
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Iron Duck

It is, but now seems to be in a 3-way stalemate between:

1. those who appear to believe that the crash happened because Concorde was actually on the runway and shouldn't have been because it was not airworthy;

2. those who adhere to the evidence in the report, which states that the aircraft was airworthy and would have enjoyed an uneventful flight had it not rolled over the titanium strip; and

3. Continental's lawyers, who appear to have thought that they wouldn't get away with using argument 1, and therefore used an "it wasn't me, mister" argument based on an alleged fire existing before Concorde hit the strip, rendering the strip incidental to the accident.
I'm not so sure about the allegations of an argument as put forth in (3)
above unless it was somehow precised somewhere in this thread

and of course you omitted my suggestion as:

2a. Those who posit the argument that the aircraft was airworthy and would have safely landed after a tyre failure had it not been for the unlikely combinations of damage following a designed for tyre failure
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 02:47
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Field f Dreams

Iron Duck, I guess many of those on the accident flight had dreamed of supersonic flight, and look what happened to them. I think the loss of the opportunity by deSitter is somewhat less than their loss of life.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 03:51
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Cool

Hi,

Lemurian
Secondly, when you understand the physics phenomenon involved in the fuel leak, then you can talk to me. Until then, you're just making smelly puffs of air.
It's really a pity that the time has researchs were conduct to minimize the risks caused by leaking fuel tanks you was not part of the experts party.
Apparently because the experts at the time don't understand the physics phenomenom involved in fuel leaks they were unable to predict the coming catastrophe .. and so they called it a unprecedented event.
Or .. they knowed all about .. but cause design they were unable to correct the problem unless drastic modifications and involving a big amount of money ?
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 05:03
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Nick Thomas

Mr. Thomas, may I quote you?

I also said at the end of my penultimate paragraph in post 245 that "The last sentence is not directed at you KBPsen" so am sorry that you feel that my comments were directed at you.
In reference to 'your last sentence' ... you were referring to the many admonitions to posters re their racist comments you have made throughout this thread ....

Then, Mr. Thomas may I comment that I had no idea the French (France) were a ~race~ , more particularly since les Quebecois are considered to be pur laine and would most certainly be offended to be referred to as a ~race~.

To date, in my opinion, there has been nothing more than various references to the pros and cons of the peoples of certain countries and as such obviously a comment may be offensive or - defensive.

by the way Mr. Thomas, there is only one 's' in occasion!
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 07:38
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What projectile impact tests are done for assessing hydrodynamic ram vulnerability in certification now on civilian aircraft ? What testing has been done on hydrodynamic ram vulnerability on existing already certified civilian types ? What ADs issued on it for existing types ? Or were all other existing types miraculously not vulnerable to it ?

Oh, and are the stronger tyres designed for Concorde now on all civilian types ? That would be prudent, would it not, given what we now know about tyre failure from being sliced by fod ? The stronger tyre design is a solved problem, an extant solution for a known risk, surely we should ground any aircraft that doesn't use it ?
Reading the BEA report I wondered the same thing. As far as I can tell Concorde was doing approximately 170-180knots when it hit the titanium strip? Is there no danger at all if an Airbus A380 tyre was destroyed in an identical manner near its rotation speed? I know that the wing is thicker and the tyre pressure less - is that sufficient?

After the crash Concorde was modified with kevlar fuel tank liners, burst resistant tyres, and the electric wiring in the wheel bay protected against tyre damage.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 08:17
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lomapaseo

I'm not so sure about the allegations of an argument as put forth in (3)
above unless it was somehow precised somewhere in this thread
There have been complaints that eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen fire prior to the tyre burst were ignored. We've looked at the BEA report and established that

1. the timeline reveals that the crew received no fire warnings or indication of engine failure until after rotation had commenced (which rather rules out pilot error);

2. the engines reveal no physical evidence of having been on fire.

I've asked what else might have been on fire prior to the tyre burst apart from the engines, and why, and why no physical evidence for it has been found, but no-one has answered. Silence is Golden.

We've also looked at the pictures apparently shot from an aircraft on one of the South taxiways, established that the viewing angle is so acute that accurate estimates from occupants of aircraft in that area of what happened where on the runway are unlikely, and because of that and their distance from Concorde, that their verbal testimony was unlikely to add much beyond what can be gleaned from the photographs themselves, which all show that there was no fire on the RH side of the aircraft, contradicting the claims of the firemen.

[In the process of examining the photos and timeline we've also established that there was an aircraft somewhere on S1, that after the tyre burst but before rotation Concorde started to swing to the left, that only Concorde's crew could see exactly what was in front of them, and that on this basis the early rotation was justified to avoid a runway excursion to the left and possible collision with the aircraft on S1.]

I havent read the trial transcript (can't read French) but from news reports and the comments posted here I've gained the impression that Continental's lawyers didn't directly challenge Concorde's airworthiness, but went to great lengths to try to establish a preexisting fire that mitigated the influence of the titanium strip, and therefore the culpability and liability of their client. Please correct me if I have this wrong.

So all in all, Continental's argument appears to me to have been examined and found wanting.

and of course you omitted my suggestion as:

2a. Those who posit the argument that the aircraft was airworthy and would have safely landed after a tyre failure had it not been for the unlikely combinations of damage following a designed for tyre failure
I think it is a subset of 2, as you state. Concorde landed or stopped safely after every other tyre burst.

Old Fella

I guess many of those on the accident flight had dreamed of supersonic flight, and look what happened to them. I think the loss of the opportunity by deSitter is somewhat less than their loss of life.
Not to diminish your statement I think that similar can be said for anyone who ever got onto an aeroplane, but never got off again. But I agree with you.

Edit: I should add that on page 92 of the BEA report, the text accompanying the photographs includes a general summary of eyewitness statements.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 09:08
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Fire before tyreburst, Misunderstood translation of witness statements???

Isnt it likely that the witness statements of "fire before point of tyreburst" ( particularly one of "fire on the right wing") actually referred to their sighting of the normal afterburner lightup during takeoff ?
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 09:25
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Just another case about how there is no control over the plane crash investigations. The airline was half owned by the government, the airplane is half french and the crash is investigated by the french without any control from abroad.
There is a good example how useless the European Aviation Safety Agency is when it comes to plane crash investigations. An airplane crash in Estonia in 2001 of an also half government owned airline and an 8 year trial that is still not finished. No one is really hiding anything so it is a good example that the whole investigation goes out the window once government interests are involved...

In that investigation the officials openly admit that at they messed up the Black box data but they say there is no need to for a correct Black box data (even though the investigation is based on that data). The investigation is done by the people who's interest directly conflict with the investigation and that is actually against the EU rules for the aviation accidents investigations. And they managed to stick in some black box data from a crash in Venezuela into the investigation. The investigation was just just organized to pass the blame. But not only did they get away with all that. A criminal case was started based on that investigation.
So my point is if the french wanted to hide anything, there was nothing stopping them. The Estonian precedent shows that you can mess up aaannnything during the investigation there is no control by EASA, ICAO or anyone else. Of course the French are a lot more professional, so if they had something to hide, we will never find out what it was.

If you want to read more about the Estonian crash.
Hiiumaa An-28 Plane crash investigation blog:
Esnov's Blog English
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 10:41
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Originally Posted by wilyflier
Isnt it likely that the witness statements of "fire before point of tyreburst" ( particularly one of "fire on the right wing") actually referred to their sighting of the normal afterburner lightup during takeoff ?
I read the original report again a couple of days ago, and yes, I think you're right. The word 'allumage' does not usually mean 'catching fire', but 'being lit', or 'lighting up', being the common term for when the afterburners light up.

What doesn't help, of course, that we only have a brief summary of each statement, not the full text, and that several statements were added or amended in 2003, three years after the accident.
Between recall of a three-year old event, summary and translation, it's easy for the original meaning to get lost.

CJ
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 12:00
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SeenItAll,
Wings Folded: A number of months ago in a different forum on this board, you explained that although the French prosecutors had not levied any charges in this matter against Air France or Aeroports de Paris, no one should be worried that that these entities would escape judicial scrutiny. You stated that unlike U.S. courts in which the judges are powerless to examine the potential contributing guilt or innocence of parties not before the court, the Pontoise judges could be expected to pose questions to these parties so as to assure themselves that they were without any culpability for this tragic event.

I have not had the opportunity to read the transcript of the trial or its decision. Can you inform us if the judges conducted this inquiry as you suggested they would? Or did it occur that their inquiry was limited strictly to the entities that the prosecutors had decided to put in the dock?
Twas indeed several months ago (February?) and I recall your reasoned posting.

I have kept abreast of the hearing while it was taking place, and have of course read the judgement.

I am afraid that I just do not have the time to assemble all those instances in the trial when the court required explanations outside of what the "trial bundle" (not a term with any relevance under French procedure, but a convenient shorthand. I would want to be verbose!), but there were many instances of just such a thing.

What several posters who dislike this judgement appear to overlook completely is that Continental did not hire a lawyer fresh out of law school on a work placement course.

They hired one of the top flight lawyers in France who has recently acted for a former Prime Minister, and for an inheratrix of France's largest personal fortunes.

Acting for Continental, he was able to call for his own witnesses if their version of events worked in favour of his client.

A lawyer with his experience and skill must have made reasoned choices about the strategy. If he chose not to call evidence from parties other than those accused, he did so knowingly.

The trial as is normal under French procedure heard from lawyers acting for the "parties civiles", who were also dismissive of the Continental version. They had no particular chauvinistic agenda.

And the judgement is not "let the French off and blame the Americans".

The mechanic's supervisor was exhonerated. EADS and a French national were found to have a degree of reponsibilty.

Sorry if my reply is abit long, but I wanted to answer your question.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 12:23
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PacWest
Thank you for your comments. I am quilty of using the term racist as shorthand for discrimination based on race.

The United Nations Convention on the Elemination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination states:

"the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent,or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life"

I hope that clarfies my position.

Regards
Nick
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 12:34
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WF: Thank you for your explanation. I must admit I was puzzled that Continental's defense case seemed so focused on trying to establish that the fire has started before the tire burst. To me, it would have seemed more logical that it should have focused on the contributory negligence of AF and Aeroports de Paris. But maybe its goal was to hit a "home run" (i.e., be found completely non-culpable) rather than simply to establish that they were but one of several aligning holes in the swiss cheese.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 12:56
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SeenItAll

I must admit I was puzzled that Continental's defense case seemed so focused on trying to establish that the fire has started before the tire burst. To me, it would have seemed more logical that it should have focused on the contributory negligence of AF and Aeroports de Paris. But maybe its goal was to hit a "home run" (i.e., be found completely non-culpable) rather than simply to establish that they were but one of several aligning holes in the swiss cheese.
Continental's lawyers appear to have concentrated on getting their client off the hook, as is their job. The court, concentrating on establishing the truth as is its job, found Continental's argument inconclusive and therefore dismissed it.

That looks like a decent decision to me.

As I said earlier, Continental didn't directly attack Concorde's airworthiness, which would have required attacking AF, BEA, Aeroports de Paris, etc., probably because their seasoned lead lawyer reckoned they stood less chance of success with that approach than the one they took.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 13:13
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Is "Insufficiency of Counsel" an allowed Plead on Appeal in France??
 
Old 10th Dec 2010, 13:19
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SeenItAll,

I think that a factor easily overlooked by people whose national pride was outraged by this verdict, is that no entity has ever disputed that the "wear strip" was made of one of the most resistant materials available. Perhaps not too wise a decision.

Conitinental and their legal team faced a bit of a struggle against that particular fact.

We are not party to their deliberations, but perhaps they would think it wise not to dwell too much on the dodgy piece of repair work, whose consequencies were as it transpired, catastophic, but could equally have been totally benign had Concorde tracked a couple of feet right or left on its roll, and missed the debris.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 13:34
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Mr bearfoil.

You cannot be serious.

Continental employed one of the most senior and respected avocats in France.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 13:45
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How well was she tracking? Who could possibly defend the CAL "mechanic"? I meant no disrespect for this verdict at all, on the contrary, it seems to have satisfied at least one contingent, and as I say, the Titanium blunder is indefensible. I do not even rue amateur "partisanship", it is the stuff of discussion. What irks me is the level to which some would take their devotion. A product of Human interaction is not a basic of the Laws of Physics. Eh?

Courts produce Opinions. Enforceable Opinions. They have Power, which is seductive to many people, but should not encourage "fans". Courts are only one step above "Elections". IMO.

Observer only, and I know my place.

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Old 10th Dec 2010, 13:46
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Iron Duck

I havent read the trial transcript (can't read French) but from news reports and the comments posted here I've gained the impression that Continental's lawyers didn't directly challenge Concorde's airworthiness, but went to great lengths to try to establish a preexisting fire that mitigated the influence of the titanium strip, and therefore the culpability and liability of their client. Please correct me if I have this wrong.

So all in all, Continental's argument appears to me to have been examined and found wanting.
I have no idea if you have this right or wrong and that is why I questioned its validity.

I am aware of that argument and of course just the fact that the argument persists would be logically pointed out by any lawyer for examination and weighting.. Of more interest and assignment to a party defense would have been their evidence that their expert's facts supported the argument.

The unanswered question itself would have mitigated assignment of blame.
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