Concorde Court Case Begins a Decade After Crash
February 4, 2010 — It was nearly 10 years ago, on July 25, 2000, that the supersonic Concorde suffered the only crash during its time in service (1969-2003). The tragic crash killed 113 people after a fire in the wing during takeoff from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport, doomed the plane and minutes later it plummeted into a hotel, killing all 109 people on board and four more on the ground.
Just this week a trial began in Paris charging Continental Airlines and two of its former employees with involuntary manslaughter. The post-crash investigation determined that a piece of titanium dropped off a Continental DC-10, which took off two aircraft ahead of the fateful Air France Concorde, piercing one of Concorde’s tires and sending pieces of rubber flying. One of the rubber pieces was said to have penetrated the airplane’s full fuel tank and caused the fiery explosion. Even though the Concorde fleet returned to service the following year, the crash foretold the beginning of the end for the world’s only SST, which was retired from service in 2003.
The date of the crash happened to be opening day of AirVenture 2000, and a Concorde SST was a scheduled main highlight of the convention that year but its appearance was canceled. Last summer EAA AirVenture helped celebrate Concorde’s 50th anniversary with several programs and presentations by members of the flight crew and others connected with the aircraft. Click below for exclusive EAA Radio coverage.