A French judge last week ordered Continental Airlines and five people–including aircraft designers, maintenance technicians and one civil aviation authority executive–to stand trial for manslaughter in the criminal investigation into the Concorde crash that killed 113 in July 2000 near Paris. The airline is being charged with negligence in DC-10 maintenance.
It is almost five years since the Concorde retired, but little has been achieved in terms of replacing the world’s most iconic commercial aircraft.
British Airways (BA) flew a modified Concorde to Shannon, Ireland, on August 7 before conducting refresher crew-training operations last month. As many as 35 takeoffs and landings were to be flown as the airline prepared for a possible resumption of scheduled services, perhaps before next month.
Economical, practical, environmentally friendly supersonic flight is the next big thing in commercial aviation. Or is it? From where aeronautical technology stands today, practical supersonic flight (and by “practical,” we do not mean the Anglo-French Concorde, which generates noise and atmospheric pollution levels that preclude all but the smallest volumes of operation) is far off.
The FAA has approved eight valve-regulated sealed lead acid batteries
under Technical Standard Order C173 for Concorde Battery.
The TSO-approved models are Concorde’s RG-121 Series and RG-122 Series, emergency batteries for lighting, standby, avionics, fadec and backup power. Parts conforming to TSO C173 are approved for design and production.
Concorde, the Anglo-French supersonic airliner that is the flagship of British Airways and Air France, could become a victim of the current economic downturn. Almost exactly 34 years after its first flight and less than 18 months since the aircraft returned to service after being grounded following the July 25, 2000 accident in Paris, British Airways confirmed that it is reviewing Concorde’s future.
A November airline takeoff incident in South Africa, reportedly involving foreign object damage (FOD), has attracted the attention of aviation safety officials worldwide and could be of concern to corporate operators of aircraft with powerful low-slung engines, such as the Boeing BBJ and 757/767 and the Airbus ACJ.
Aerion now has commitments covering at least 20 of its proposed supersonic business jet (SSBJ) since it started signing letters of intent with prospective customers in November. The letters of intent come from 20 different clients in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America; operators committing to the program most recently include Pakistan-based executive charter firm Princely Jets and an undisclosed customer from India.
The void in the aeronautical spectrum created by the retirement of the Anglo-French Concorde fleet in October last year stands to be filled by two supersonic business jet (SSBJ) programs that were unveiled at last month’s NBAA Convention.
British and French authorities were expected to issue ADs for the grounded Concorde supersonic jetliners on August 28, some 13 months after the July 25 fatal crash of one of the SSTs. Subject to final modification work being completed (see story on page 58), British Airways could resume Concorde commercial flights to New York later this month, with Air France expected to follow suit next month.