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Author Topic: Concorde crash French court blames...  (Read 1882 times)

roycv

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Concorde crash French court blames...
« on: December 08, 2010, 02:42:53 pm »

Hi all, I see that just recently a French court has blamed Continental Airlines for the crash, in as much that the piece of metal left on the runway from one of their aircraft caused the tyre to puncture.

This is very much at variance with several documentaries I have seen analyzing the accident.  One said that from the evidence of Fireman near the middle of the airfield the aircraft was off the runway before it reached the bit of metal.

As I understand it a part of the left under carriage was left off (a spacer found in the maintenance hangar afterwards) after some routine servicing that caused the left wheel to 'wobble'.  This was several flights before the accident.

It should be noted that the French were having a diplomatic spat with the USA and many flights were almost empty with USA travelers boycotting the French airline.

The first part of the runway was in a bad state and this was hurriedly improved straight after the accident.

The pilot was expecting to taxi for a long time, as the airport was busy, and loaded an extra ton of fuel.  This fuel went into the wings where I believe the fuel is used first, I understand that he did not need it all.

There were a considerable number of bags of luggage (29?)  loaded after the weight calculations had been done.  This was after the aircraft had moved from the normal embarcation point.
There may have been a balance problem?

The aircraft was heavily loaded started to veer to the left on take off (left wheel wobble) and several sources say that the port wheels were off the runway before getting to the piece of metal on the airstrip.  Black skid marks show the path of the aircraft.

 Punctured tyres came from going over and breaking the lights at the side of the runway and then on to the grass and so the pilot was forced to take off.

The puncture(s) threw up parts of the tyre that hit the underside of the wing fuel tank.  This tank was full (the extra fuel) and there was not the usual air gap that could absorb a shock wave.  Consequently a shock wave traveled through the fuel and was reflected back and then holed the fuel tank from the inside, so that there was a hole with the jagged parts facing outwards, this fuel went into the jet stream and caught fire.

Pretty well all of the above was verified when we had a club evening and the guest speaker was a well known Concorde pilot.

He spent a considerable time talking about the crash and non of the above which I had seen beforehand on TV was contradicted.

A little reported part of the accident is that the French President was parked  in a 747 waiting for the Concorde to go past on take off and the now on fire Concorde missed the aircraft by about 20 feet.  A few seconds either way could have destroyed another aircraft with their President on board!

Some one on board the 747 was quick to see what was happening and took photographs of the fiery Concorde just missing them.  These pictures have been published, Concorde is just in the air,traveling from right to left so was veering towards the parked 747.

I wonder what the evidence was in the French court?

As you may be aware all Air France employees were forbidden to talk about the incident and the spokesman was hard to pin down in interview.  If Concorde had hit the 747 with fatal consequences I think 5this would have finished the Airline.

The truth is in there somewhere!
It is still a very tragic accident with many innocent lives lost.

Regards to all, Roy
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Bryan Young

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 02:54:07 pm »

Nicely put. Plenty there to ponder. Thank you. BY.
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Notes from a simple seaman

polaris

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 03:11:49 pm »


Dear Roy,

Certain factors are indeed very pertinent to this event.

The blame game is very easy to play, and same might be very convenient to some. However, they are not to those who died and their Families... and it is they who are far more important in all else in this matter.

All I can and will say is that the proof of liability is extant. The cause is more difficult to prove, but all is dependent on how much smoke is blown over the matter... and, of which, there is a great deal of the latter.

May I sum up by saying, that, Concord was - and is still - a great aircraft, one indeed, that remains in mahy areas advanced even now. A friend was a mfg. hydraulics engineer on her/the planes and flew on numerous test flights, and, whilst there might have been 'tweaks' required along the way, there was nothing that should have prevented these planes from flying... apart from.............

Maybe the French should have paid better attention to their airports (one did actually fall down), maybe Air Port Mgt. should have been better (we all know it could be), maybe better attention could/should have been paid to runway Maint.. 

And so it goes on! The responsibility is there for all to see?

Regards, Bernard
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roycv

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 05:20:52 pm »

Hi Polaris, I do appreciate your words and nothing will bring these people back to their families.  I very much agree with your feelings about blame.  My thoughts have always been to ascertain the facts and prevent a similar happening.  I spent my career in maintenance, mainly computers, then managing a group of engineers.

When I was in the RAF (just 4 years) and used to work on maintenance (Air Radar) it was very much brought home to us that safety was a prime issue, e.g. you must always have the same number of tools at the end of maintenance as you start with and any lost item, a screw for instance should be noted and looked for.

The pilots would occasionally turn a plane upside down to see what fell on them but nothing ever came back to me!

Most serious problems tend to have 2 or 3 small things coming together, as I think my original post suggests.  But here I suspect there are more issues.
Virgin was refused access to the design authority documentation (kept by the French) for the Concorde and then it was offered at an enormous price which was not economical.  They would need this documentation to look after the aircraft.
Also the French aircraft were not economically run,and, I don't think they had been modified, post accident, to the extent that the B.A. ones had, and so Concorde would not be missed by the French accountants.  I suspect also they did not want to be upstaged by another airline showing them how to run them at a profit.

One interesting thing that came out after they had been in use for some time was that the expected airframe life had been  under estimated.  There had been allowances made for the aluminium to deteriorate but the way the aircraft was operated meant that there was heating of the skin due to friction at high speed and when internal wing sections were deliberately exposed the internal surfaces were as new, with none of the usual oxidation having taken place, any condensation was boiled away.  So their life was always going to be much longer than forecast. 

However the avionics were getting dated, the same problem was with the NASA space shuttle.  30 years is a long time in electronics! Updating the avionics was just not economical.

Our Concorde pilot asked us how we thought the fares were arrived at? Bearing in mind that hardly anyone who traveled on scheduled flights payed for their own fare, it was very much corporate travel!

It seems that that occasionally a satisfaction survey was passed around and travelers asked to guess what the fare might be! (Remember this was for scheduled flights).

Yes really!

The operator had a look at the results to see what they could get away with and Hey Presto!  You have next season's fares.

I have to say that my favourite TV is Air crash investigation.  I have even read about aircraft crashes while flying, it is still safer than crossing the road!

regards Roy
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polaris

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 06:19:31 pm »


Dear Roy,

Your reply being so succinct, I cannot say anything further.

I can only state, that my friend - as an engineer - was in absolute love with the plane, knew it was perfect, and that if anything went wrong with it it could only and simply be maintenance. The plane was so highly engineered, that only fault in maint. or opers. would cause anything to go wrong. As with all things, all things have a life, but OUR Concords deserved better than what happened - just because others couldn't look after theirs.

As to fares. Well this is probably a factor. Wonder who is know getting the business... The Americans were extremely jealous as we all know... they did not have the technology to achieve Concord! - and made it very difficult indeed for her to land in the US.

Regards, Bernard
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roycv

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 02:19:18 pm »

Hi Bernard, yes I am certain that the Americans were jealous, I think they either bought or leased a Russian Concordski for research.
It took the Russians years before they would admit that they had access to all of the plans for the aircraft.  And then they got it wrong as the leading edge of the wings was not sharp enough and led to difficulties in control so they had to fit the canard wings near the cockpit.

As it happens a cousin of mine was involved in the electrical design of Concorde and through one of those odd things that happens he and some colleagues bought out part of the company from the manufacturers and he ended up as the guy who signed them out from production as ready to fly.

regards Roy

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polaris

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 05:53:45 pm »


Dear Roy,

If I remember this correctly, my friend worked for Dowty, but I can't remember which Plant he worked from - think it was Lancaster way - will be having the annual pre Christmas telelcon shortly so will ask. Bill went up in the plane a few times pre commissioning to monitor hydraulic 'things' - again, I will ask him what things as I can't remember what he told me. He was very proud to have worked on Concord, and was proud of the plane (as all I am sure who worked on her were - and we the Public of course). There was a lot of National pride in that plane. Interesting your cousin was involved with the planes electrical design... bet there were a good few miles of very complex wiring to contend with! Perish the thought, bad enough working out where bit's of loom go on a Land Rover let alone Concord!!!

Regards, Bernard
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Umi_Ryuzuki

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 07:34:21 pm »

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chingdevil

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 08:44:25 pm »

I used to work on the hydraulic ground test equipment for Concorde and quite a few military ones as well, the company I worked for built the units and we used to have them back for servicing and calibration. They were very complicated three trailers, oil, hoses and pumps there was just a wall of gauges and electronic read outs on the pump trailers. If I remember the oil back in the 70's was about 320 a gallon from Mobil.

She used to fly over where I worked everyday on take off from Heathrow, we heard her and used to go out and look. It was a sad day when she crashed, such a tragic loss of life. Pointing the finger of blame now by the French courts will not bring those people back.
All the information I have read on the crash seems to imply if the wheels had not wobbled and brought the plane over to the left, she would not have hit the peiece of metal which burst her tyres.

Brian
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roycv

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2010, 09:57:50 am »

Hi Polaris you have a PM.
Roy
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polaris

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 12:41:23 pm »


Dear Roy, Thanks, Have replied. B.

Dear Brian, Your field being in hydraulics you might just have come across Bill at some stage - I know he also worked on miltary aircraft hydraulics. I am 99.9% sure he was with Dowty, and will get the definite Plant location etc. in a week or so when I speak to him, and IM you.

Regards, Bernard
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derekwarner

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2010, 01:38:04 pm »

chingdevil .......... 'If I remember the oil back in the 70's was about 320 a gallon from Mobil' ...was this Skyroll fluid?........Derek
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Derek Warner

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chingdevil

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 01:51:23 pm »

I worked for a company in Iselworth Middlesex as a test engineer, we built mainly military ground equipment both mobile and hanger test benches.

Brian
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chingdevil

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 01:53:35 pm »

It was not Skyroll that was in US military equipment, which we worked on not very nice stuff. Our military used a BP oil, the number escapes me.

Brian
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derekwarner

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Re: Concorde crash French court blames...
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 09:00:52 pm »

opps....TYPO....sorry........Derek

Skydrol is an advanced fire resistant aviation hydraulic fluid[1] manufactured by Solutia Inc. There are various lines of Skydrol including Skydrol 500B-4, Skydrol LD-4, and Skydrol 5.

Skydrol is made up of a group of chemical additives dissolved into a fire-resistant phosphate ester base stock which inhibits corrosion and prevents erosion damage to servo valves and includes a purple or green dye to ease identification. It has been approved by most airframe manufacturers including Airbus, Boeing and British Aerospace and has been used in their products for over 40 years.

Solutia Inc. built a new facility to produce Skydrol and SkyKleen aviation cleaning solutions in Anniston, Alabama in 2005.

Acid and contamination must be monitored while using Skydrol, and generally hydraulic systems should be sampled every C check.[2] Skydrol has a 10 year shelf life from the date of manufacture.

Skydrol fluids are irritating to human tissue. Gloves and goggles are recommended safety equipment when servicing Skydrol systems. If the fluid gets on the skin it creates an itchy, red rash with a burning sensation which feels similar to a sunburn. The effects subside within a few hours, and studies indicate that Skydrol causes no permanent damage to human tissue. Castor oil can be applied to the affected area to neutralize the burning.

Skydrol fluids are incompatible with many plastics and paints, which can be softened and eventually destroyed by exposure to Skydrol. Some materials (for example, rayon acetate) and rubber-soled shoes may also be damaged by Skydrol
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Derek Warner

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