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Concorde crash: Continental Airlines cleared by France court

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Concorde crash: Continental Airlines cleared by France court

Old 16th Dec 2012, 05:07
  #201 (permalink)  
 
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It's surprising that she stayed in service as long she did. Even with the fuel tank revamping and anti collision avoidance system installations it was evident she was way too long in the tooth. Hardly a week went by that I did not hear Speedbird 1 or 2 calling up Shanwick or Gander on HF ssb for lower flight levels as the air intake doors had problems. The passenger cabin was hardly more comfortable than that of a Dash 8 but the prestige and service was unrivalled and just listening on T2 spectators roof at Heathrow to the Olympus engine whine on taxying or the roar on take-off from R27 after she jumped the long queue will never be surpassed or seen again.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 06:05
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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Her resurrection is nigh!

No it ain't mates, she died and is dead!

But how and why she died will live on forever, and though I admire the cut and thrust of the PPRuNe contributors, I feel that the subject has died, and all that should have or not have been done by those in all forms of control can be argued until the cows come home (in whatever Grassy Valley), the outcome has already been determined by the justice (injustice?) system.

We can no more make a "silk purse" from a "sow's ear" than could the actors of the day replay and correct their final act(s) from their graves. R.I.P.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 07:11
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by mm43
"sow's ear"
The Concorde a Sow's Ear? Wash ya mouth out with pork fat!
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 10:41
  #204 (permalink)  
 
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Hi SLFinAZ,

I agree that we got (with my comments in [brackets]):
- sworn testimonies by highly respectable & trained people, [that I never saw quoted in extenso (if you have a reference, I'm interested), except for one ATC who said IIRC (TV show) he was not looking towards Concorde when she began her T/O roll];
- sworn testimonies by certainly also respectable people, [but not trained in any way, for exemple the foreman seen in the TV parallel inquiries];
- all those people were situated, at the time of the accident, relatively far from the aircraft [making it difficult to jaudge distances];
- the "step" on the runway that could have played a role "before the strip" [but I can't remember any evidence or even precise/factual hypothesis about that].

Now, on the "other side", we also got:
- no single hard evidence of fire (or any other arising problem) before the blown tyre/fuel leak event;
- no satisfying scenario able to explain where/why a fire would have been present before the strip/tyre/leak event (not even the missing spacer, see quote below);
- evidence (damaged concrete) of the tyre blowning up at the time when & place where the final report said it occured;
- evidences of the fuel leak beginning at the time when & place where the final report said it occured;
- evidences of this fuel leak taking fire shorlty afterwards;
- correlation of all those with the FDR traces;
- correlation of all those with the CVR recordings;
- correlation between those events and the TWR ATC message "Concorde, vous avez des flammes derrière vous".

The lack of precision of eyewitnesses is relatively common, if we're to believe what professionals experienced in working with witnesses say on the topic.
My conclusion is, then, that without meaning the slightest disrespect to sworn and/or professional witnesses, their testimonies must be somehow incorrect/not enough precise.

Quote from B. Sieker (op. cit. in my #160): The report makes a point of recording that there was no sign of abnormality in the taxying and takeoff run up to the point of tyre destruction. There was no shimmy, no deviation from track, the brake temperatures were equal RHS and LHS, and the longitudinal acceleration was consistent with the TO mass and ambient conditions. Let us accept that ensemble as evidence that any bogie misalignment due to the missing spacer became a potential problem only after the destruction of the tyre.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 11:05
  #205 (permalink)  
 
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I agree that we got (with my comments in [brackets]):
- sworn testimonies by highly respectable & trained people, [that I never saw quoted in extenso (if you have a reference, I'm interested), except for one ATC who said IIRC (TV show) he was not looking towards Concorde when she began her T/O roll];
- sworn testimonies by certainly also respectable people, [but not trained in any way, for exemple the foreman seen in the TV parallel inquiries];
- all those people were situated, at the time of the accident, relatively far from the aircraft [making it difficult to jaudge distances];
- the "step" on the runway that could have played a role "before the strip" [but I can't remember any evidence or even precise/factual hypothesis about that].
I think you can have some answers to your questions about references in the minutes of the trial:
2 « février « 2010 « Procès du crash du CONCORDE

Last edited by jcjeant; 16th Dec 2012 at 11:08.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 11:23
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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SLF

Retrospective knowledge is wonderful. We now know that once the exploding tyre or titanium strip had caused a fire on that scale, a controlled crash landing was impossible.

It is unlikely that the crew knew this until the final couple of seconds before impact.

Carrying out an emergency drill (engine shutdown) before the aircraft is at safe height and speed smacks of poor airmanship. Or at least it was on any of the aircraft I have been on.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 12:01
  #207 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks jcjeant, but there is "only" Me METZNER PoV there.
I see no testimonies. Should I look at other pages? I will try to find something better suited on that blog, but it may require some time.

As a lawyer in court, Me METZNER had a clear and open agenda.
I've no problem with that, but I'm not interested in discussing his PoV, nor am I ready to take it into account for an analysis

EDIT
Originally Posted by AlphaZuluRomeo View Post
- sworn testimonies by highly respectable & trained people, [that I never saw quoted in extenso (if you have a reference, I'm interested)
Disregard, my bad and so on (about the bold part) the testimonies are "simply" available in the Appendix 6 of the BEA final report. Will re-read that.

Last edited by AlphaZuluRomeo; 16th Dec 2012 at 13:19.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 13:19
  #208 (permalink)  
 
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dalek you know no such thing. We can certainly agree that the catastrophic nature of the event made any type of controlled crash landing highly improbable. Can you tell me with 100% absolute certainty that a flight deck crew of aviators the caliber of Alfred Haynes and Dennis Fitch might not have accomplished a miracle?

We need to look no farther then the annals of any nations military aviation to find incidents of planes and/or people surviving catastrophic damage. The sad truth is that while events doomed the air-frame the specific cause of the crash was flight crew error.

How is it OK to argue that without the titanium strip none of the other deficiencies really matter yet dismiss the actual cause of the crash (FE's incorrect response). I'll use UA 232 as my argument. Had a less qualified flight crew destabilized the aircraft resulting in a high altitude loss of control and crash...many of you would be arguing the design flaws of the DC-10 as the root cause and dismissing the upset...since the plane was clearly doomed.

Yet more people lived then died that day. At the end of the day it's not really over till the aviator can no longer aviate. In this case the weakest link on the flight deck removed any opportunity for survival at a time when the plane was still capable of controlled flight.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 14:18
  #209 (permalink)  
 
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With respect, I would like to invite interested people to view the photograph in the Heritage link.

The shimmy is obvious. the trail of rubber has a cycle roughly the circumference of the tyres, and an excursion from center of close to one foot. That suggests the out of balance condition of the right side of the portside bogie contributed to the skid.

That means the ruptured tyre is contributory. Also note the dark scrub of the #2 tyre in roughly the same cycle as the bogie's oscillatory condition... That suggests the tyre was essentially still on the wheel, with the ruptured deficit causing severe drag.

A bogie with a blowout will not shimmy like that. Period. Can we surmise the bogie stated to shimmy at brakes release? Yes, I would say, yes.

Now, given the state of the bogie's wobble, I can suggest that as speed increased, it worsened. The vibration would have reached substantial effect in the cockpit (imo), and now we come to #2 engine cut.

Did FE have evidence to cut the engine? Of course. What was the nature of the evidence to hand to cause FE to take such a remarkable action? Temps? Tower? (ATC) "..derriere vous...."

I submit that FE associated the extreme portside bogie vibration with engine failure....

At 120 mph, the bogie would wobble seven times (right, left) EACH SECOND.

I estimate the weight of the bogie at approximately 2000 pounds.

I urge all objective people to see the photographic image, and decide if they can see the scalloped trail of rubber left by the 1 and 3 tyres.

At the runway light, the a/c was travelling closer to 250mph.

Last edited by Lyman; 16th Dec 2012 at 14:36.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 15:41
  #210 (permalink)  
 
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In many ways the damage sustained by Concorde F-BVFC in the June, 1979 incident at Dulles was probably as severe if not worse than that sustained by sister ship F-BTSC on that fateful flight in July of 2000.

Probably (IMO) the most telling comment based entirely on factual observation vs informed speculation.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 15:46
  #211 (permalink)  
 
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If the image I reference is not fake, I submit the out of line track of the tyres is a matter concluded by factual observation.

with all due respect....

SLF

Yes, I see that, I thought you were addressing my point re: shimmy.

Add to your (below) comment...

The dispatcher was also made aware of a technical issue with the new aircraft, F-BTSC, when his computer indicated that the thrust reverser on the number two engine was inoperative due to an issue with the secondary nozzle.* The aircraft could be safely operated in this condition but the issue would reduce the aircraft’s maximum operating weight by 2.5%.

That is roughly 5000 pounds. For performance, did the aircrew subtract that from maximum allowable TOW?

I completely agree: that the tyre burst is indisputable, its mechanism of failure is less important than the history of similar events, and the utter lack of mitigation that followed Dulles. The complete disregard for safety given the dozens of incidents is inexcusable. In that context, the Titanium strip takes on a more subtle role, that of scapegoat....

Last edited by Lyman; 16th Dec 2012 at 17:25.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 16:14
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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Lyman, we are discussing different issues. My point is that regardless of the cause of the tyre failure the damage incurred in the two incidents is similar and the Dulles incident actually had potentially greater damage to the air frame...

Further....

While the condition experienced was highly unusual and not something for which any crew had been trained to deal with the crew failed to follow one of the most basic responsibilities of a pilot. No matter what happens, no matter how many alarm bells or warning are going off, your chief responsibility is to fly the airplane. An engine fire can be dealt with, but only after a stable climbout has been achieved. By shutting the #2 engine down the crew eliminated any available margin that might have kept the aircraft in the air long enough to reach Le Bourget.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 17:27
  #213 (permalink)  
 
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After reviewing the 3 firemen testimonies (and a waiting captain's), I note 2 things:

First, even if the 3 firemen were in the same room, they don't give the same exact same location/timing for the events.
Example: event "blake smoke like a tyre exploding" at around S6 or S5 for two of the firemen, while the third didn't see the black smoke, but only the beginning of the fire, around S5, with first a small flame at the rear of the engine (different from the reheat), then the big flame everybody saw later.

Nevertheless, they were close enough (not like the foreman I remembered from a TV show) and their descriptions are precise enough to come to the conclusion that it seems the "black smoke" event took place at or shortly before the "first apparent trace of destroyed tyre" located between W7 and W6 on the appendix12.
Indeed "around S5" and "shortly after W7" are close enough - or were, in 2000, now the taxiway have different names.

Also noteworthy is the confusion in some TV shows when they said that witnesses had said the fire had begun a long distance (wasn't 1 km quoted?) before the strip. Yep. That is before where the strip was finally found. Not before where the strip probably was when Concorde rolled over it. I really have no difficulty to imagine the strip being swept along the trajectory of the aircraft, as its 200 tons rolled over it... but it seems that notion eludes some people anyway.

Second, many people said the BEA just "disregarded" the testimonies of the firemen. Not so, as seen above.
And quite not, when we read in extenso the appendix6. We understand then that the fact that the BEA was so keen to say the fire may have begun at the rear of the engines (by opposition to the second theory of the ignition in the U/C bay, which is the only one the AAIB considers valid) is somehow directly related to the testimonies of the firemen, which were trusted (as they should be) regarding the sequence of events (first this, then that: we human are good for that; not so when it came to precisely locate (in the space or time) this or that).
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 17:39
  #214 (permalink)  
 
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AZR

BTSC took off with an inop Thrust reverser on #2. It was legal, but reduced her max op weight by 2.5%.

It is not possible to know what FE was acting on, but if #2 was problematic, even in his thought only.......

Something triggered his desperate attempt to cage the #2 engine.

What do you make of the "black smoke" re: the "tyre burst"?

I would associate black smoke with unburned (neat) fuel out the nozzle?

Last edited by Lyman; 16th Dec 2012 at 17:43.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 18:02
  #215 (permalink)  
 
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"Can you tell me with 100% absolute certainty that a flight deck crew of aviators the caliber of Alfred Haynes and Dennis Fitch might not have accomplished a miracle?

We need to look no farther then the annals of any nations military aviation to find incidents of planes and/or people surviving catastrophic damage. The sad truth is that while events doomed the air-frame the specific cause of the crash was flight crew error.

How is it OK to argue that without the titanium strip none of the other deficiencies really matter yet dismiss the actual cause of the crash (FE's incorrect response). I'll use UA 232 as my argument. Had a less qualified flight crew destabilized the aircraft resulting in a high altitude loss of control and crash...many of you would be arguing the design flaws of the DC-10 as the root cause and dismissing the upset...since the plane was clearly doomed."

SLFinAZ the UA 232 is a red herring as it's no way comparable with this incident.
Firstly it happened at altitude and secondly they had an extra qualified pilot travelling on the flight. So the time they had to deal with the problem was considerably greater than the Concorde crew. That in no way takes away from the skill and expertise of the UA 232 crew. Yes the design flaws of the DC10 were the root cause of that incident.
To blame the late FE for the crash is simplistic and flawed and to expect any flight crew to be able to perform "miracles" is preposterous.
If you read my earlier post I clearly state that whilst the other deficiencies had no direct bearing on the crash, it does not mean that action should not be taken to correct them. The crash would have happened with or without the deficiencies.
Can I tell you with 100% certainty that the UA 232 crew would not have saved the day. They are human so I doubt that they can perform "miracles". The best people to answer that question would be the UA 232 crew. In fact this line of argument is better suited to the pub as it resembles the typical pub discussion comparing sporting teams of different eras, whilst fun it has no value in this case.

Last edited by Nick Thomas; 16th Dec 2012 at 23:28. Reason: spelling
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 18:05
  #216 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Lyman View Post
BTSC took off with an inop Thrust reverser on #2. It was legal, but reduced her max op weight by 2.5%.
No, the reverser motor (cause of inop) was replaced before departure, by request of the crew after the plane change (BTSC was the reserve aircraft for that day).

Originally Posted by Lyman View Post
What do you make of the "black smoke" re: the "tyre burst"?

I would associate black smoke with unburned (neat) fuel out the nozzle?
No, the testimonies (in french) are pretty clear. Black (puff of) smoke, located at/near the U/C, not at/near the nozzle.
Shortly after that, fire begun with a small flame at first (said the firefighters). Then, the big flame we all saw with, then, black smoke (yes again), this time from uncomplete burn of the leaked kerozen. But there is no confusion possible for a french reader.

Last edited by AlphaZuluRomeo; 16th Dec 2012 at 18:07.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 18:22
  #217 (permalink)  
 
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Again I'm sorry but your comment is completely incorrect. Under no circumstances is it appropriate to shut down the #2 engine below 400 ft regardless of circumstances. UA 232 is in no way a red herring but an indication of what is possible under extreme circumstances.

The shut down of #2 engine directly contributed to the specific circumstances of the crash. Had the engine been left on in accordance with specific SOPs that clearly state that no engine (even if on fire) is to be shut down below 400 ft a different specific outcome would have emerged.

This does not mean a different final outcome but we'll never know, what we do know with 100% certainty is that the FE's flawed decision robbed the captain of any chance to successfully control the "landing".

This seems to go back to the numerous 447 threads that all go beyond a basic lack of airmanship. At the end of the day that plane crashed entirely due to a lack of basic piloting skills. Neither individual was even remotely qualified to be in the pointy end of a commercial airliner.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 19:06
  #218 (permalink)  
 
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I really have no difficulty to imagine the strip being swept along the trajectory of the aircraft, as its 200 tons rolled over it... but it seems that notion eludes some people anyway.
Yes I have really difficulty to imagine the strip being swept along the trajectory (over such a large distance) of the aircraft ...
It is a concept that escapes me completely .. seems some"magic" at work there ..

Last edited by jcjeant; 16th Dec 2012 at 19:07.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 19:49
  #219 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SLFinAZ View Post
The shut down of #2 engine directly contributed to the specific circumstances of the crash. Had the engine been left on in accordance with specific SOPs that clearly state that no engine (even if on fire) is to be shut down below 400 ft a different specific outcome would have emerged.

This does not mean a different final outcome but we'll never know
Agreed until there...

Originally Posted by SLFinAZ View Post
what we do know with 100% certainty is that the FE's flawed decision robbed the captain of any chance to successfully control the "landing".
... but I agree no more here:
- as per SOPs, the #2 engine would have most certainly been shut down once in flight & above 400ft;
- hence any landing attempt would have been on 3 engines "only", which is abnormal but certainly not "without a chance".

Originally Posted by jcjeant View Post
Yes I have really difficulty to imagine the strip being swept along the trajectory (over such a large distance) of the aircraft ...
It is a concept that escapes me completely .. seems some"magic" at work there ..
What is the definition of "such a large distance" for you?
I'm fond of Harry Potter, but not so fond of magic regarding aviation safety.
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Old 16th Dec 2012, 20:26
  #220 (permalink)  
 
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If the Titanium had slashed and punctured cross tread, it is quite possible it stayed with the carcass for a time. Evidence of the transverse slash is shown in the runway photo I reference from Heritage Concorde. If that is the case, that the black deposit is from the cut, then we know that piece of tyre was retained at least up to that point. I think the fuel stain is prior to the loss of directional control to left. Thus suggesting the tyre rupture was not initially responsible for the off runway excursion, imho.

Once the two "flaps" of tread parted, the Titanium obviously was released.

Why would a tyre rupture cause such extreme yaw? I do not think that it did.
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