Today is the tenth anniversary of the crash of Air France Flight 4590 just after take-off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport. The Concorde jet’s tire was ruptured by a small piece of titanium (Anna’s favorite metal) left on the runway after the previous plane took off. A chunk of the Concorde’s tire hit the wing, which led to a rupture in a fuel tank. The leaking fuel was ignited by electrical wiring. An article in the U.K.’s Guardian points to additional factors, such as weight, maintenance, and proximity to another aircraft carrying France’s president. One-hundred nine souls on board and five people on the ground perished on July 25, 2000.
In the wake of the accident, the supersonic jet was grounded. Almost a year later, flights were resumed, but the Concorde was retired on November 26, 2003, ending supersonic passenger service worldwide. In 1982, the price of a round-trip ticket was $3900, and by 2000, the price had more than doubled. United States astronauts outnumber Concorde pilots. It was a rare instance, this aircraft.
We’ll have more on the Concorde in future posts.