BEA - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile - Zone Sud - Bâtiment 153 - 200, rue de Paris - Aéroport du Bourget - 93352 Le Bourget Cedex - FRANCE - Téléphone 33 1 49 92 72 00 - Télécopie 33 1 49 92 72 03BEA - Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile - Zone Sud - Bâtiment 153 - 200, rue de Paris - Aéroport du Bourget - 93352 Le Bourget Cedex - FRANCE - Téléphone 33 1 49 92 72 00 - Télécopie 33 1 49 92 72 03

 

Press release, 16 January 2002
Issue of the final report into the Concorde accident on 25 July 2000

The technical investigation into the accident that occurred on 25 July 2000 to the Concorde registered F-BTSC has come to an end and the BEA is publishing its final report.

This report is available in French and in English translation on the BEA website.

Summary of the facts:

During takeoff from runway 26 right at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, shortly before rotation, the front right tyre of the aircraft ran over a strip of metal, which had fallen from another aircraft, and was damaged. Debris was thrown against the wing structure leading to a rupture of tank 5. A major fire, fuelled by the leak, broke out almost immediately under the left wing. Problems appeared shortly afterwards on engine 2 (i.e. inner left engine) and for a brief period on engine 1 (outer left engine), because of hot gas ingestion due to fire or debris. The crew took off, then shut down engine 2, still operating at near idle power, after an engine fire alarm. They noticed that the landing gear would not retract. The aircraft flew for around a minute at a speed of 200 kt and at a radio altitude of 200 feet, but was unable to gain height or speed. After new ingestions of debris or hot gases, engine 1 lost thrust definitively, the aircraft’s angle of attack and bank increased sharply. The thrust on engines 3 and 4 fell suddenly. The aircraft crashed onto a hotel.

After the accident, the certificates of airworthiness for Concorde were suspended. On the basis of elements identified along the investigation, the airworthiness authorities defined a number of measures to be taken before returning the aircraft to service. Commercial flights resumed on 7 November 2001.

The final report:

It repeats and completes the facts already presented in the preliminary report published on 30 August 2000, the first interim report published on 15 December 2000 and the second interim report published on 23 July 2001.

More especially, the works and tests that were carried out permitted to bring more information concerning the process of fuel tank 5 rupture, the probable causes of the ignition of the kerosene leak and the trajectory of the aircraft.

Some procedures from Concorde Flight Manual and Air France Operation Manual, dealing  with the operation of the aircraft fire or severe engine damage procedure) and allowing to analyse the crew actions, were also included in this document.

The report also presents a detailed analysis of the circumstances and causes of the accident, the conclusions and the recommendations of the BEA after an eighteen-month-long investigation.

After its works, the BEA has determined that the accident was due to:

  • High-speed passage of a tyre over a part lost by an aircraft that had taken off five minutes earlier and the destruction of the tyre.
  • The ripping out of a large piece of tank in a complex process of transmission of the energy produced by the impact of a piece of tyre at another point on the tank, this transmission associating deformation of the tank skin and the movement of the fuel, with perhaps the contributory effect of other more minor shocks and /or a hydrodynamic pressure surge.
  • Ignition of the leaking fuel by an electric arc in the landing gear bay or through contact with the hot parts of the engine with forward propagation of the flame causing a very large fire under the aircraft’s wing and severe loss of thrust on engine 2 then engine 1.

Moreover, the impossibility to retract the landing gear had probably contributed to the attachment and stabilization of the flame all along the flight.

The investigation also demonstrated that the performances of the aircraft before it ran over the metallic strip were quite normal, that the absence of a spacer, forgotten during a check, did not contribute to the accident, that an aborted takeoff would have led to a high speed runway excursion, leading the landing gear to collapse and the aircraft to blaze up. It appeared also that, even without any engine malfunction, the significant damage caused by the fire to the aircraft’s structure would have led rapidly to the loss of the aircraft.

Recommendations:

The report includes 4 recommendations specific to the Concorde and 9 recommendations with a wider scope, in order to enhance aviation safety.

retour

 

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