The Real Reason for the Crash of Air France Flight 4590

concorde-crash flight 4590

Concorde pilot John Hutchinson presents clear evidence that the French authorities, who conducted the crash investigation, covered up the true cause and tried to blame Continental airways engineers and design weaknesses in Concorde.

Air France Flight 4590 was an international charter flight, from Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris to John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, flown by an Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde. On 25 July 2000 at 15:43 UTC, the aircraft serving the flight (registration F-BTSC) crashed on take off.

Chain of Events

F-BTSC was in maintenance prior to this flight. The left main landing gear was disassembled to correct a problem. When reassembled, a wheel spacer was not reinstalled and was found still sitting on a shelf after the crash. The aircraft had done four flights with this defect prior to the crash so it wasn’t the prime cause.

The cause of the crash was pilot error.

The Captain overrode procedure and ordered the tanks to be filled to the brim instead of the normal 80%. He ordered more fuel than was required to be put in the aft tanks used for taxiing. He allowed 19 bags, that had not been weighed, to be loaded in the aft hold. All this made the aircraft over weight and the center of gravity out of limits.

Presumably due to the weight and balance being out of limits he requested to use the runway extension, even though it was officially closed because it was being re-surfaced. He also elected to take off with an 8 kt tail wind.

On take off the aircraft struck the ledge as it left the overrun and came on the to the runway. The effect was not unlike driving your car over a square curb at a 90 degree angle. This caused the wheels of the left main gear to turn 90 degrees to the left as they had no spacer to constrain them. The tires overheated and burst starting the fire.

The malfunctioning gear and burst tire forced the aircraft to slew to the left. It was then that it struck a runway light. Debris from the light struck the underside of the left wing. This caused a shockwave in the fuel of the over-filled tank. Fuel spewed from the bottom of the wing which was set on fire by the tire fire.

Investigation photo showing where aircraft departed the runway at taxiway S3.

At this point the aircraft was past V1 speed of 180kts and the Captain was committed to the takeoff. As the aircraft climbed off the runway, the Left Engine Fire Light came on. The co-pilot incorrectly shut down the engine. The fire light was false because the fire was overheating the engine. Although the engine was overheating, it was still performing at 100%. The correct procedure for an overheat would be to continue operation until the aircraft safely airborne and then shut down the engine.

Air-France-4590-Runway-Events

Once airborne, with the center of gravity shifted further aft by the escaping fuel, lack of full engine power and being overweight, the aircraft stalled and crashed..

113 people were killed in the crash.
100 passengers
9 crew
4 people on the ground.

Co-pilot: “Le Bourget, Le Bourget.”
Pilot: “Too late (unclear).”
Control tower: “Fire service leader, correction, the Concorde is returning to runway zero nine in the opposite direction.”
Pilot: “No time, no (unclear).”
Co-pilot: “Negative, we’re trying Le Bourget” (four switching sounds).
Co-pilot: “No (unclear).”
Control tower: “De Gaulle tower from fire service leader, can you give me the situation of the Concorde?”
Cockpit Area Microphone (CAM): (Sound of effort)
End of recording

B-36 Drops Nuke on Albuquerque

B-36 Peacekeeper

May 22, 1957- A B-36 aircraft (52-2816) of the 334th Bombardment Squadron, 95th Bombardment Wing, was transporting a Mark 17 ten-megaton hydrogen bomb from Biggs AFB, Texas to Kirkland AFB, New Mexico. As the aircraft was on approach to Kirkland and over Albuquerque, New Mexico, the thermonuclear device, weighing 42,000 pounds, dropped from the bomber just 4 miles south of Albuquerque.

Mark 17
Mark 17 Hydrogen bomb.

Accounts of what caused the incident vary, but one version suggests that a crewmember in the bomb bay was jolted by sudden turbulence. He grabbed hold of the manual bomb release lever to steady himself, causing the weapon to crash through the closed bomb bay doors and plummet to earth.

Richard ″Dick″ Meyer, 62, a retired lieutenant colonel, told the El Paso (Texas) Times that a crewman between the wings and the tail of the aircraft saw what had happened.

″Simultaneously, he called, ‘Bombs away,’ and the plane lurched upward about 1,000 feet when it lost so much weight at once,″ Meyer said.

″And someone yelled, ‘Oh, SHIT.’ It might have been me,″ Meyer said.

The weapon plummeted 1700 feet to earth and exploded. The physics package which made the bomb nuclear was not installed for obvious safety reasons. However, the conventional explosives used to support the detonation of the package did explode. A crater 25 feet in diameter was formed and a cow was killed. Radioactive material remaining in the weapon showered down for a mile around the explosion. The Air Force reimbursed the farmer for his cow and the city of Albuquerque for the land and roads destroyed when the Air Force removed the contaminated soil.

The B-36