Safety concern of Concordes, reflection on Air France Flight F-BTSC

France, “Hard Landings Podcast,” Hard Landings Podcast, Feb. 25, 2020. (accessed Mar. 15, 2023).


During takeoff from runway 26 right at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport, shortly before
rotation, the front right tyre (tyre No 2) of the left landing gear 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 and for a brief period on engine 1. The aircraft took off. The crew shut down
engine 2, then only operating at near idle power, following 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.
Engine 1 then lost thrust, 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.


On Tuesday 25 July 2000 at around 14 h 50 UTC, the BEA was informed of the accident
to a Concorde in the commune of Gonesse (95) after takeoff from Paris Charles de
Gaulle. In accordance with the law of 29 March 1999 relating to technical investigation of
accidents and incidents in civil aviation, a technical investigation was launched. A
Principal Investigator was nominated as Investigator-in-Charge.

Root cause investigation

The day after the accident, the Investigator-in-Charge established seven working group
to find and collate the information necessary for the investigation. The groups worked in
the following specific areas:
• site and wreckage
• aircraft, systems and engines
• preparation and conduct of the flight, personnel information
• flight recorders
• aircraft performance
• witness testimony
• examination of previous events

France, “Hard Landings Podcast,” Hard Landings Podcast, Feb. 25, 2020. (accessed Mar. 15, 2023).

Investigation findings

On 16 August, on the basis of the findings of the investigation, the BEA and its British
counterpart the AAIB issued an initial safety recommendation.
A preliminary report was published on 31 August 2000

After the publication of the preliminary report, the investigation continued as before in
close association with foreign air accident investigation organizations and the companies
involved and in coordination with those responsible for the judicial investigation.
Four working groups replaced those in the initial organisation:
• wreckage,
• conduct of flight and aircraft performance,
• previous events, certification and regulations,
• technical research.
Work on the wreckage continued, in particular on the left side (dry bay, wing, landing gear
well), where the wreckage collected was examined and repositioned somewhat tardily
due, amongst other things, to the presence of asbestos.
French and American investigators were able to inspect the aircraft which had lost the
metallic strip which has caused the cut in the Concorde tyre. They held a working meeting
with the representatives of Continental Airlines at the headquarters of the NTSB in

Aftermath and findings

Examination of the engines, the Flight Engineer’s instrument panel, tyre debris, parts of
tank No 5 and the landing gear took place within the context of the judicial inquiry and
were subject to the constraints of that procedure. The BEA was a participant at these

Various debris and marks were found on the runway after the accident .
They are identified in the following by the grid number of the concrete slab where they
were found, the distances being measured in relation to the eastern end of the tarmac part
of the runway (see § 1.10). Thus, for example, an element identified at Slab 180 level was
found 1,950 m from the point of origin (600 m + 180 x 7.5 m). Debris was also found under
the aircraft’s flight path.

As can be seen the tire was the main was cut by a metal strip (a wear strip) lying on the runway, which had fallen from the thrust reverser cowl door of the number 3 engine of a Continental Airlines DC-10 that had taken off from the same runway five minutes previously. This wear strip had been replaced at Tel Aviv, Israel, during a C check on 11 June 2000. The strip installed in Houston had been neither manufactured nor installed in accordance with the procedures as defined by the manufacturer.


[1]M. De, “at La Patte d’Oie in Gonesse (95) to the Concorde registered F-BTSC operated by Air France R E P O R T t r a n s l a t i o n f-sc000725a,” Accident on, vol. 25, 2000, Available:

[2] France, “Hard Landings Podcast,” Hard Landings Podcast, Feb. 25, 2020. (accessed Mar. 15, 2023).