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Burst tyre behind Concorde crash-report

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Burst tyre behind Concorde crash-report

Old 17th Jan 2002, 17:39
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For those who haven't yet got to page 182 of the 12Mb download, the AAIB comments make interesting reading. Doesn't sound like cricket to me:

F-BTSC - 25 july 2000 - 182 -

The UK Accredited Representative has made the following comments on the investigation
conducted by the Bureau Enquêtes Accidents. The section “AAIB Participation in the
Investigation” reflects the concerns with the manner in which the French judicial
authorities affected the technical investigation. In other areas, whilst the UK Accredited
Representative and his Advisors agree with the evidence presented in the BEA report, the
comments represent differences in the weighting of the conclusions.

AAIB Participation in the Investigation

Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (The Chicago Convention) sets
out inter alia the ‘International Standards and Recommended Practices’ for the conduct of
an aircraft accident investigation. The European Council Directive 94 / 56 / EC, which
came into force on 21 November 1994, established the fundamental principles governing
the investigation of civil aviation accidents and incidents within the European Union
States. This Directive embodied the provisions of Annex 13 into European legislation.

The United Kingdom, as the joint State of Design and Manufacture of the Concorde
aircraft, had rights of participation in the investigation as laid down in Annex 13 to the
Chicago Convention and EU Directive 94 / 56 / EC. The United Kingdom appointed an
Accredited Representative and Advisors from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch
(AAIB) to participate in the investigation conducted by the Bureau Enquêtes Accidents
(BEA) under the provisions of the ‘Convention’ and the ‘Directive’. The UK Accredited
Representative also appointed Technical Advisors representing the organisations with
design responsibility for airframe, engines and equipment and who were thus the best
qualified individuals to assist in the investigation. Co-operation between the BEA and the
AAIB enabled the AAIB to make an effective contribution to the investigation.

The French judicial authorities conducted a separate inquiry into the accident in parallel
with the BEA investigation. The manner in which the judicial investigation was conducted
presented major impediments to the AAIB’s participation in the technical investigation.
The difficulties encountered are listed below.

The French judicial authorities did not allow the AAIB Investigators to examine all
items of the wreckage (Annex 13 Chapter 5. 25b) or to participate in component
examinations (Annex 13, Chapter 5. 25g). For example, the judicial authorities:

a. Did not allow the AAIB investigators to examine the strip of metal
which burst the tyre, except very briefly.
b. Did not allow the AAIB investigators to examine that part of the tank
5 lower skin which was found on the runway, except very briefly.
c. Did not allow the AAIB investigators to participate in the
examination of most of the flight deck controls and instruments.
d. Did not allow the AAIB investigators to be systematically involved in
the examination of evidence.

The French judicial authorities did not allow the AAIB Investigators full access to
all relevant evidence as soon as possible. (Annex 13 Chapter 5. 25d). For
example, the judicial authorities:

a. Severely restricted access of Investigators to the crash site.
b. Withheld photographic evidence of the runway surface for 6 weeks.
This evidence later proved valuable in understanding the events on
the runway.
c. Significantly hindered the prompt examination of evidence. This
introduced significant delays to necessary safety actions.

The French judicial authorities specifically prohibited Advisors to the UK
Accredited Representative from participating in the examination of major
components for which the United Kingdom had primary airworthiness
responsibility. (Annex 13 Chapter 5. 25). For example,

a. The judicial authorities prohibited examination by the AAIB Advisors
of the engine bays and wing equipment bays (wing dry bays).
b. The judicial authorities prohibited examination by the AAIB Advisors
of the landing gear selector mechanism.
c. AAIB Investigators and their Advisors were offered access to a
limited number of examinations on the condition that they signed a
commitment to the judicial investigation. This confidentiality
agreement placed unacceptable restrictions on the use of the
subsequent evidence and was therefore not signed.

These obstructions to United Kingdom participation were in contravention with the State of
Occurrence’s obligations under the Chicago Convention (Annex 13). It is also in
contravention of the European Council Directive 94 / 56 / EC which states “investigators
should be able to complete their tasks unhindered”. Furthermore, the restrictions and
procedural delays imposed by the judicial authorities subverted the Directive requirement
that “air safety requires investigations to be carried out in the shortest possible time”.
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 18:21
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Re: The information in the above post

>For those who haven't yet got to page 182 of the 12Mb download, the AAIB comments make interesting reading. Doesn't sound like cricket to me:<

Both the AAIB and the BEA investigators were thwarted by the French Judicial authorities, the difference being that the BEA had to adapt to the interference in order to perform their function, while as stated above, the AAIB refused to work outside ICAO annex 13 rules. Incidently both countries were signatories accepting these rules, however that doesn't mean that an individual countries judicial authority can't overrule them when they see fit. That's kind of the way with CVR disclosures as well.

In my opinion, I feel that a thorough investigation has been significantly lessened towards meeting the objective of furthering accident prevention, when a jusdicial authority takes precdence in finding blame rather than causal factors.

The good that came out of this investigation was the willingness of the DGAC/CAA to take airworthiness action prior to the issuance of the faulted report. I can only hope that Continental will prevail in its protestations and any court actions.
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 20:08
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Angry

The concorde crash was as crash:
-) of a French built plane
-) flown by French pilots for a French airline
-) in France

The UK felt they were also involved because they helped built the concorde, but the French made it clear right from the first day that any British inspectors would be allowed on a courtesy basis only and that their eventual findings would not constitute part of the official report without their agreement.

If an American Airlines Boeing 757 would crash in Miami, I don't suppose the British would want to co-write the official report, would they?

The final conclusion of the BEA report is cristal clear and 100% correct to me:
the doomed Air France Concorde was operated and flown according to normal day to day SOP's as common to Air France's SST fleet.
The principal reason leading to the dramatic events in CDG was the presence of debris on the rake-off rwy, which was traced back as uncertified parts belonging to a Continental Airlines DC-10 taking of only shortly before the Concorde.

All the rest is pure speculation and do not belong in an aviation accident report.
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 21:29
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tolipanebas

Your posts are as intolerable as your facts are totally incorrect.

The British didn't 'help build' Concorde it was a JOINT venture between a French and a British firm. No, I am sure the British AAIB would not want to be intimately involved if an American carrier had an accident in an American aeroplane but as the British were very much involved in the design, development, certification and operation of this joint project (Concorde) then I would say that it was technically valuable and morally essential that the AAIB played an active part.

No doubt had this tragedy occurred with a BA aircraft the BEA would have been invited to participate in a British investigation. However they would not have suffered obstruction from the British judiciary. We may not be perfect but we do have a sense of fair play and admit publicly to our failings, often to readily.

Yes the trigger for this accident was a piece of debris. But what is clear, but far from freely acknowledged by those tasked to do so, is that significant other factors were also present that made the situation catastophic.

You clearly have a closed mind and I am afraid your postings add little to constructive debate.
In fact your bigoted opinions serve only to make me angry and I will not be responding further to your questionable postings.

[ 17 January 2002: Message edited by: M.Mouse ]</p>
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 21:43
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Angry

Well since when are people that stick to the facts considered narrowminded?
Do you really have to believe in weird conspiracy theories, whitewash operations and cover up stories to be labelled openminded?

Let's face it:

if the Continental Airlines debris would not have been on that rwy, there wouldn't have been a Concorde crash eighter, no matter how many contributing factors (tailwind, overweight, CG at the edge, ...) you consider.

However, if you take away all your contributing facts (by using a perfect plane with a perfect crew in ideal situations) but leave the piece of metal on the tarmac, can you guarantee me the rupture of a tyre would not have lead to an accident as it did now?
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 22:32
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Tolipanebas, earlier in thisthread you said "a tailwind departure: Did you really think that as a pilot you are in a position to request for a more favourable rwy on mega-airports like CDG or LHR??"...........um yes you are.

If you are unable to take-off from the in-use runway due to a tail-wind, you request a take-off from a runway from which performance is calculated to be acceptable........it may result in a delay (25 minutes recently at a busy international airport)!

Are you a professional pilot or a journalist?
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 23:17
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Angry

I fly for AirLIb and I can assure you,
at CDG you are NOT allowed to use the RWYs of your choice!

If they have a westerly configuration like on the day of the accident (most common configuration BTW), then there is just no way you can ask for an eastbound departure; all you can do is make a request to change the overall rwy configuration, but unless a sufficient number of requests have been received, no configuration change will be done and all you can do is to eighter take-off from the unfavourable rwy after all or wait till sufficient requests have been made and the request are honoured by changing rwys.

As you can see from the weather at CDG that afternoon, chances were very high that no other plane would have requested an eastbound departure, which in effect would have ment the Concorde flight could have waited indefinitely! Remember the westbound departures are the preferred configuration in CDG as the city of Paris is to the west of the airport and they prefer high flying departing traffic rather then low flying landing traffic over their heads. Besides, a rwy change at CDG normally has consequences for Orly as well...

In short: you eighter go with the tailwind, or you don't go at all! So much as to a free choice of rwy which you are officially intitled to.
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Old 17th Jan 2002, 23:24
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In that case it's quite simple - if you cannot depart and conform with performance regulations then you either a) defuel and carry out a tech stop for fuel enroute or b) do not take off!
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 02:53
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What is this cr@p about "you take what you're given?" To knowingly take off in conditions that do not meet the performance requirements in the given conditions is pretty stupid. Although, maybe in France it's o.k. I have never heard of any airport here (Aust.) refusing a request for runway change based on the captains requirements performance wise. Of course, we're not as busy as CDG and places like that, but I find it pretty hard to imagine that there are no alternatives to accepting what is not suitable. You are after all the "Captain". I'm not suggesting the weight/tailwind problem caused/didn't cause a problem, but as pointed out earlier, it obviously wouldn't help. Anyhow, to say that the piece of metal is the "only" real contributing factor is garbage. Sure, if it wasn't there the plane would not have struck it. If the Captain had requested an appropriate runway for the conditions the plane probably wouldn't have struck it. Kinda like "If my auntie had b@lls, she'd be my uncle" All the factors have a place, and where possible, all must be considered and acted upon.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 04:28
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Gentlemen.

Please let's not start slagging each other off on the grounds of nationality or our opinions. We are supposed to be professionals.

Now. Why have the BEA glossed over the fact that the aircraft rotated far to early (and slowly) probably because the wheel spacer was misssing and it was consequently about to depart from the paved surface.

Possibly as a result of this it was never able to reach V2 and was on a hiding to nothing.

It is possible that if it had been able to climb, it might have made Le Bourget. The burning fuel may not have disrupted the airframe sufficiently to cause a catastrophic failure as the fire was external.

The metal from the Continental thrust reverser may have caused the tyre to burst, but it is a little unfair to blame it for the accident.

It seems to me that as usual there was a chain of events leading up to this accident and the removal of any one of them would have averted it.

Ironic to consider that if they had used the other runway, they would have been airborne well before the wear strip from the thrust reverser was encountered.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 13:09
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These words are cut and pasted from the official French BEA transcript from the CVR and so I might make the rash assumption that they are therefore beyond question. I have left the French original intact so that I cannot be accused of xenophobic interpretation.

14 h 13 min 13 s, OMN “alors jauge total carburant moi j'ai quatre-vingt-seize quatre avec quatre-vingt-seize trois pour quatre-vingt-quinze à bord”.

Engineer – Total fuel I have 96.4 with 96.3 for 95 on board

14 h 14 min 04 s, OPL "ZFWZFCG", OMN “alors j'ai quatre-vingt-onze neuf et cinquante-deux deux".

Pilot – ZFW and ZF CofG Engineer – I have 91.9 and 52.2 (%)

14 h 22 min 22 s, Commandant de bord "bon on va faire cent quatre-vingt-cinq cent c'est à dire qu'on va être aux limites …structurales", ….

Captain – We’re going to do 185,500 that’s to the structural limit

14 h 39 min 04 s, Commandant de bord "alors c'est un décollage à la masse maxi décollage ……

Captain – OK that’s a take-off at maximum take-off weight

14 h 40 min 19 s, Commandant de bord "on a consommé combien ?”, OMN "là on a huit cents kilos".

Captain – How much have we used? Engineer – you had 800kg

14 h 42 min 31 s, Commandant de bord "top".

Captain – Go

Add the Zero Fuel Weight given to the Ramp Fuel and you get 96.4 + 91.9 to get 188.3 tonnes

2’12” before take-off the Captain asks how much fuel they’ve used and is told 800kgs, that means the weight that they were working on was 187.5 tonnes

They knew they were overweight even for a still wind take-off (185075 struct.) and they were significantly overweight for a tail wind take-off.

If you are outside the limits for a safe departure you do not go – period. Do we say ‘Oh, but this is CDG they’ll never let us use 08L’ – not if you’re flying with me you don’t.

You are paid to observe all the limits all the time. As you line up you must ask yourself, ‘Is this the right runway? Are my assumptions still correct? Is the runway clear? What am I going to do in the failure case? What’s the situation for a reject?’

If your not asking yourself these things then you do not belong on the flightdeck. This Captain did not, folk hero or no. This accident report does not highlight the opportunities for prevention that were ignored.

BEA - ‘consacré à la prévention des accidents d'aéronautique civile’ – Really?

[ 18 January 2002: Message edited by: Capt H Peacock ]</p>
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 13:39
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Capt peackok

Your rightousness so early in the morning is utterly refreshing. Not on my watch.......etc, stop watching too much TV.
Anyway, I grant you there have been some flaws in the way this flight was conducted.
Excuse a sec, but to our Down Under friends, Melbourne is not CDG and no, you do not get the runway you want just because you're Concorde. That it may have been more suitable to wait ? Maybe or surely or whatever. Would it have made a difference ?
The point is that this accident should have occured in 1976 in Washington and that it didn't because God turned out to be french that day. The circumstances were almost exactly the same regardless of the SOP's.
Had captain Marty waited at the treshold to have the right weight and everything, he still would have had a tyre bust hitting that piece of falling apart Continental DC10, it would still have burnt in the same way and 1 ton less or not, it would have been lost due to the uncoverable damages to the aircraft. That's an undisputable fact.
That some of you want to get rid of their frustration trashing Capt Marty's crew and the country, airline and culture they belong to, will, I hope, make you feel a lot better about yourself but will not alter the facts I just mentioned.

Peackock, if you think this aircraft would have made it the way it was burning, remind me to stay home on your next shift.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 14:00
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Sorry Wallabie, maybe you misinterpreted my post. I did not suggest that "Because you are Concorde" you should get whatever you want. My statement is applicable to any aircraft and any captain. You do not accept a clearance, TOW, loading C of G or any other thing that may put you at greater risk than necessary. I also stated that the loading/performance discrepancies may not have caused the accident themselves. I don't think they "caused" the accident. But there is no doubt that all contributing factors however small must be taken into account. As stated earlier, interesting to ponder what an 8 knot headwind instead of tailwind may have produced. Just because an aircraft, (any aircraft) has "managed" to make it before in similar conditions does not mean it's a good idea to repeat the excercise does it?
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 14:06
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Thumbs up

Cewl, loads of people blaming eachother again for being bad pilots and all sorts. Maybe I'll join in <img src="cool.gif" border="0">

Anyway, on the overweight, outside performance envelope T/O. I'd have to stay on the ground too! And if you seriously consider doing your take off performance calculation and then going anyway because otherwise it might be inconvenient then why do the math at all? Just go the end of the runway, wich ever one someone feels like, give it full whack on all four and start pulling when it might be somewhere close to Vr. Sorry, that does not sound like a good plan to me!
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 14:41
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wallabie

With respect I think you are missing the point. What alarms many of us is that the investigation appears to be paying little other than lip service to some very serious questions.

I am sure no pilot reading this forum is intending to besmirch the names of the late crew but it is incumbent upon any investigation to examine all the facts. I wish I could say I feel the facts had all been properly aired.

Capt. Peacock quotes some facts that are known but appear to have been given little consideration when most right thinking pilots are alarmed at what seems to have been some quite extraordinary decision making (except to tolipanebas who feels it is OK to ignore SOPs and limitations).

Despite the questionable findings of the report raises let's hope that some very fundamental lessons have been learned.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 14:58
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Wallabie, encore une fois

I, like all others, feel deeply for the loss of the individuals concerned in this tragedy, but as pilots we are required to look at cold, hard facts and deal with them dispassionately. We have to ask awkward, searching questions of all those involved in any incident. That is how we will avoid such accidents in the future, and how we as professional aviators will learn and improve our skills.

The mechanism of breach of the fuel tank was hydrolastic shock caused by the fact that the aircraft had been over-fuelled. This resulted in the wings being inflated and so compromising their structural integrity. The capacity of the aircraft in question is stated in the BEA report as 94470kg. The engineer read out the fuel on board as 96400kg which is 1930kg more than the certificated maximum fuel load and 2437 litres of extra volume to fit inside the wings.

Such procedures are not in use by other operators of Concorde, and therefore the incident at Washington is unlikely to have resulted in the same outcome. As it happens, as a result of that incident, modifications were undertaken to all Concordes on that operator’s fleet to prevent a reoccurrence. Evidently the Concorde at Gonesse did not have these modifications fitted. In the rare cases where extra fuel is needed, then other operators load special high specific gravity kerosene.

If I were a fellow countryman aviator of yours, I would be deeply offended by your assertion that any pilot would deliberately ignore the certificated maximum parameters of their aircraft. Je suspecte, Monsieur, que vous parlez de vous-même.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 16:13
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The high TOW may have caused the tires to burst but they have done so before several times on concorde and the fact that this didn't cause a fire before is amazing. This was an accident waiting to happen that was ignored.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 16:50
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Capt. PCock - I've tried to stay out of this debate because there really is nothing to be gained except hightened tensions by the to-ing and fro-ing on the performance issue. I entirely agree with you that no aircraft should be operated outside of limits and that is that - there can be no disagreement on that score. However, I do not believe that the outcome would have been any different in this accident.

What is important, though, is that you get your facts right. You state that [quote]..the aircraft had been over-fuelled. This resulted in the wings being inflated and so compromising their structural integrity.<hr></blockquote>Not so - the Concorde's fuel capacity is given as a function of the fuel's SG (from my manual - at .801 it is 95930kgs) and there is an extra load of up to 1200kgs which may be taken on top of that using a special, certified, procedure. BUT these figures are not limitations - they are capacities given as guidelines for planning - the actual limit is when the refuel valves trip off, there are no operational limitations here and talk of wings being "inflated" by "over-fuelling" is misleading.

The Washington incident is a red-herring because the puncture there was caused by a failing wheel-rim - a small metal fragment is very different to a comparatively huge piece of rubber. The leak from the small hole was bearable - a very different situation in cause and effect to Gonesse, and nothing whatsoever to do with fuelling procedures. A different sequence of events entirely - and as I understand it down to a faulty batch of wheel rims which was corrected. (interesting to note that to this day a Concorde fuel tank has never been punctured by tyre debris).

[quote]Such procedures are not in use by other operators of Concorde, and therefore the incident at Washington is unlikely to have resulted in the same outcome.<hr></blockquote>
There are no significant differences in refuelling procedures between operators, and the Washington incident was very different to the Gonesse accident for the reasons I outline.

[quote]As it happens, as a result of that incident, modifications were undertaken to all Concordes on that operator’s fleet to prevent a reoccurrence. Evidently the Concorde at Gonesse did not have these modifications fitted.<hr></blockquote>
The modification to the water-deflectors you allude to would have been irrelevant in Paris. They are designed to contain a failing water-deflector, and not all operators fitted them, it is thought now that the mod. itself is just as likely to cause damage as the deflectors (which are of light-weight composite contruction) and have been deleted.


[quote]In the rare cases where extra fuel is needed, then other operators load special high specific gravity kerosene.<hr></blockquote>
It is certainly not rare to need extra fuel - but believe me, we have no capability or availability to demand "special high SG kerosene" we are stuck with what the bowser guy tells us and fit in with that for capacity, CG and takeoff loading calculations. I could explain it all to you, but you would definately fall asleep (in case you haven't already if you've nmade to the end of this message!!!)........zzzzzz
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 16:54
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Harvy,

[quote]The high TOW may have caused the tires to burst<hr></blockquote>
No - it didn't. The metal fragment did.

[quote]but they have done so before several times on concorde and the fact that this didn't cause a fire before is amazing.<hr></blockquote>
No, it isn't. Damaged tyres have never punctured a Concorde wing in the history of the aircraft. Unlike some other types. The Gonesse accident was a combination of many incredibly improbable circumstances, and the chances of even that almost impossible chain of events recurring has been eliminated.
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Old 18th Jan 2002, 17:19
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Fine the TOW made little/no difference but this was a problem that has been around for ages and was not addressed before lives were lost. See the link below if you haven't already. Tires burst plenty cause more than enough damage to warrant concern.

<a href="http://aviation-safety.net/cgi-bin/dbsearch.cgi?concorde+search+retrieve+&&1-17&Event=burst%%%%dm=Line+cs=No+em=Yes+ob=Key+dfd=Yes" target="_blank">aviation-safety.net previous concorde incidents</a>

[ 18 January 2002: Message edited by: Harvy ]</p>
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