BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 21:45 GMT 22:45 UK
Concorde tests found 'engine risks'
Concorde BBC
Air France Concordes are still grounded
A study of Concorde's engines carried out before last month's fatal crash in France found 55 "significant risks", according to New Scientist magazine.

The Civil Aviation Authority did not find any need to demand action

British Airways
The risk analysis of the supersonic jet's Olympus 593 engines was commissioned by British Airways two years ago.

New Scientist says BA commissioned the risk analysis because it wanted to keep the 30-year-old plane flying until 2012.

BA has played down the results of the tests, saying its Concorde fleet had been undergoing a programme of "entirely routine" checks and regular improvements.

152 potential risks

An inquiry is currently under way to establish why an Air France Concorde crashed two minutes after taking off from Paris on 25 July, killing all 109 crew and passengers, and four people on the ground.

Concorde debris AP
Investigators are still probing the cause of the crash
New Scientist reports that the BA study looked at the potential risks of all components of the engines and examined previous failings to calculate the odds of each event happening again.

Experts are said to have identified 152 separate risks, 55 of which were considered significant. No details are known about the exact problems.

The implications of potential failings were divided into five categories - ranging from "trivial" to "catastrophic". Catastrophic consequences included multiple engine failure and uncontrolled fire.

'A one in a billion chance'

A spokeswoman for BA said the risk analysis study was one routinely carried out on all aircraft as well as Concorde.

She said: "New Scientist are referring to a continuous improvement programme carried out on all our aircraft, designed to recognise the best and the future technological advances.

"The Civil Aviation Authority looked at the programme and the findings and did not find any need to demand action to improve the safety of the aircraft."

The use of the word risk in engineering meant there was "a one in a billion chance of that component failing", she added.

Concorde is one of the most rigorously tested aircraft in the history of aviation. Until last month's crash it had an unblemished safety record.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

03 Aug 00 | Europe
Concorde flight ban remains
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories