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Friday, 24 August, 2001, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Air France Concorde goes supersonic
Concorde
Plane is set to be cleared to resume commercial flights
An Air France Concorde completed a successful test flight on Friday, days before the aircraft was expected to be cleared to resume commercial operations.

Air France said the aircraft, grounded since a fatal crash in July 2000, flew for two and a half hours out over the Atlantic before returning to Paris.

The plane flew at supersonic speed for only a few minutes as its seven-person crew carried out tests and simulated an engine failure.

Air France said another test flight was planned in the next few days to carry out an emergency descent and land using three instead of four engines.

Plane by plane

An Air France Concorde
Planes have been modified since the crash
Aviation experts said the flights were necessary for each aircraft to receive an airworthiness certificate.

These are expected to be issued shortly on a plane-by-plane basis, as changes are carried out by the aircraft's manufacturer, Airbus.

Since last year's crash, when 113 people lost their lives, Air France and British Airways have made various modifications to prevent a similar accident recurring.

Fuel tanks

The plane's fuel tanks have been reinforced and its tyres made puncture-resistant.

Accident investigators believe a piece of metal on a runway ripped one of the stricken jet's tyres, propelling rubber into a fuel tank.

Before the accident, Air France operated five Concordes while BA flew seven.


Return to the skies?

The investigation

The crash

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See also:

25 Jul 01 | Europe
Relatives remember Concorde crash
23 Jul 01 | UK
Autumn return for Concorde
13 May 01 | Europe
Relatives accept Concorde cash
23 Jul 01 | Talking Point
Can Concorde regain its status?
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