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Chris Yates
Safety expert from Jane's
 real 28k

Peter Duffy
Former Concorde pilot from Vancouver, Canada
 real 28k

Kirsty Herne
"I've had one flight on Concorde and it was incredible"
 real 28k

Billy Ford
"I was on a Concorde flight when the tyres blew"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Concorde tragedy: do you feel safe in the skies?

For a quarter of a century, Concorde enjoyed a reputation as the ultimate in airborne chic and had an almost unblemished safety record. But now that reputation has been lost and public confidence in air travel has been shaken.

The skies are becoming increasingly congested, with the number of flights around the world set to double in the next decade.

With increasing competition for cheaper flights among airlines and greater stress on air traffic control systems, are we right to be worried about air safety in general?

Are many of the planes flying today too old? Do you worry every time you step onto a plane or do you still consider air travel to be one of the safest forms of transport? What do you think about the way the media has covered this latest tragic crash?

Click on the link below to watch and listen to Talking Point On Air

Your comments since the programme:

I think planes are safe. However, I am unsure of whether this will be the case in the future. The world's population will increase and the number of flights will also increase. Perhaps an area of more concern should be the fact that air is re-circulated on most flights.
Richard Price, UK


These recent troubles will not put me off my flying career and ambition to fly Concorde.

Dan, UK
If I had the money I would fly in Concorde tomorrow morning. My life ambition is to become a pilot with BA and to fly Concorde. Think of all the flying I would have to do in 737's to begin with. How many times have they crashed over the past 30 years? These recent troubles will not put me off my flying career and ambition to fly Concorde.
Dan, UK

I have heard that tyre changes policy in Britain is that after a specific number of take off's and landings, these tyres MUST be replaced. However, Air France requirements are that the tyres must simply be checked after they are a certain age. Interestingly, almost all of the previously reported 'burst tyre' incidents were Air France Concorde's. Michael London, UK

Flying is NOT safer than driving, this 'flying is the safest mode of transport' is a classic example of how to lie with statistics. Personally I favour my chances of surviving a 60 mph car crash a tad more than a 300 mph plane crash
Ernest, Ireland


If God had meant us to fly, he would have given us wings...

Vicky, UK
A large proportion of aircraft in the air are ancient. The smallest thing going wrong can invoke a catastrophe and if something goes wrong at 35,000 feet, it's not as if you can pull over to the side of the road and wait for the breakdown services! I have to fly due to work, let's look for some ground-based alternatives! If God had meant us to fly, he would have given us wings¿
Vicky, UK

As an amateur pilot and commercial passenger I feel quite safe. What scares me is British roads. I am not however in favour of privatising Air Traffic Control. Look at the mess that is Railtrack.
Richard Bagnall, Cambridge UK

I'm an Engineer, I have at one time worked on Concorde. My initial thoughts on BA's decision not to ground their Concorde's was one of complete agreement. The preliminary press reports seemed to indicate that the accident investigators had a good idea of probable cause thus enabling BA to make that decision. As events have unfolded BA's decision becomes less and less tenable.
Leslie, London


Perhaps if the airlines made a little less profit they'd have a better image

Willy Davidson, UK
Gavin from France made a very good point. When in economy (i.e. sardine) class passengers are squashed in so tight movement of any description is practically impossible it's hardly surprising when crashes result in high fatalities. Perhaps if the airlines made a little less profit (they could even increase prices slightly to cover the two or three rows of seats removed) they'd have a better image and people would have a sporting chance of getting out of anything less than an inferno.
Willy Davidson, UK

Statistically if you board a jet aircraft every day it will take 28,000 years before you will be involved in a crash. However is still doesn't stop most people's apprehension when travelling by air. I think the tons of fuel, thousands of wires and millions of components that form an aircraft is one of the main reasons for concern. It still seems to me a miracle how these aircraft get off the ground.
Gary Culpan, Manchester, UK

It is natural for the media to flock around whenever there is an air crash (or a rail crash) because such things are so rare. The massive attention generated compared to a road crash, which happens all the time, is a compliment to the safety record of these modes of transport.
Mike, UK

Get a grip people! Cars crash, people die of cancer, earthquakes demolish cities and occasionally an aircraft will fall from the sky. It's not a perfect world and people are far from faultless. It's terrible what has happened and my heart goes out to those involved. But bad things happen in life - in the man made world and in nature - so let the experts solve the problems and stop stirring up a storm for those who need some peace at the moment.
Craig, London


Some of the modern jet technology is based upon 60 year old technology and since then not many safety improvements have been made apart from silly life jackets and rafts.

James Terran, Bristol, UK
I really feared flying as it was and Concorde's crash has just added to it. I have read that some of the modern jet technology is based upon 60 year old technology and since then not many safety improvements have been made apart from silly life jackets and rafts. More improvements should be made to the design of aircraft to make them sustain crashes better and more checks should be done on the aircraft's before taking off. At present the safety aspects of flying are thrown out of the window for production costs.
James Terran, Bristol, UK

I have been fortunate enough to have flown Concorde and have always loved the aircraft. However, given the reports over the weekend of what the investigators believe happened, with debris from a burst tyre puncturing the fuel lines and igniting the fuel, surely the whole fleet should be pulled immediately? Allied with the news of what happened in Washington in 1979, it seems to me that it's a miracle that there has not been a catastrophe before now. Will it take another one before action is taken?
Colin Dunn, London, UK

The accident in France was a tragedy. However, what made it so "newsworthy" is simply the fact that Concorde has such a good record. It's still the most beautiful aeroplane ever built and my dream is to be able to fly on it one day.
Melody Forrest, England


I can't change things I don't know about so why worry - enjoy the in-flight movie!

Anthony, Auckland, NZ
I'm actually flying out for Europe on Thursday afternoon! Am I afraid? Not at all. I highly doubt that the journey will be anything other than LONG - but if the worst happens, it happens and there's nothing much I can do about it. Equally, I could be killed in a car accident driving to the Airport or run over on a European road. I can't change things I don't know about so why worry - enjoy the in-flight movie!
Anthony, Auckland, NZ

Want a safer aviation industry? Stop asking the travel agents to book you on the cheapest fares no matter which airline.
Kris Schoen, Denver, USA

More pilots get killed driving to and from the airport then they do in planes. Flying is still the safest mode of transport available and in this world we have to take a risk crossing the street - it is silly to say that flying is dangerous.
William Edwards, Worcester, UK

Would someone feel safer staying locked in the hotel room. I think not. This was a perfect example of how irrelevant are all the precautions sometimes. Only statistics can have any meaningful answers.
Voitek Pendrak, Montreal, Canada


If after one crash we had stopped using the 747's where would we be now?

Yucel, UK
I still regard Concorde the safest means of transport around, to suddenly suggest that they are not is silly. If after one crash we had stopped using the 747's where would we be now? Air travel is fast and affordable and yes accidents do happen. Concorde does not deserve any tainting of it's glory or prestige just because other nations have not beat it yet!! I certainly will continue to travel by air!
Yucel, UK

The recent Concorde tragedy has obviously and sadly cost a lot of lives. However, do take a look at how many people get killed on today's roads in the UK? Bearing this in mind, I would still feel much safer flying on Concorde than driving on that death-trap of the M25.
James Mitchell, London, UK

Sometimes the media have tendency to exaggerate a bit on stories in order to have some hallow and empty debate. Air travel is safe, accidents do happen, but I can slip in my bathtub and die. So there is no point in having this debate.
Vasco Napoleão, Lisbon, Portugal

I have only one thing to say: Do we all avoid and ground 737's when one crashes? No.
James, Preston, UK


People still after 31 years of flight stare at these planes so why stop that?

Emma Daulton, England
Concorde is a magnificent achievement, not just in the aviation industry but the world. Many, many planes have had fatal accidents and yet millions fly on them everyday. What is the problem, this plane has many more wonderful years of flying yet and shouldn't be laid to rest ever! People still after 31 years of flight stare at these planes so why stop that?
Emma Daulton, England

I was involved myself a number of years ago in a less spectacular plane crash. The only problem I have today is the lack of space inside planes - and I fly about once every two weeks for business reasons. It seems that they are trying to squeeze more and more people into these planes to make as much money as possible. The idea that they are now going to build planes for over 600 passengers proves that profit has taken precedence over comfort. I would gladly pay more money to fly if it meant I had more space on board and better safety. If Concorde was such a great plane, why don't they make them anymore?
Gavin, France


I think we should either rely on the experts whose job it is to look after the planes, trains or vehicles which are used in public transportation.

CR Payne
Some points: 1. It is human nature to speculate on the crash. One has to admit that there is an element of voyeurism among the media and the public. The evidence for this was to be seen in the news media and by the fact that crowds rushed to Gonesse to view the 'spectacle'. I remember that spectators hindered the rescue services here in Holland when the El Al 747 demolished the blocks of flats.
2. Why should we continue to speculate about the life or safety of the aircraft? I think we should either rely on the experts whose job it is to look after the planes, trains or vehicles which are used in public transportation.
The media are not doing any good by the morbid speculation
CR Payne

Much of the discussion about the Concorde has been about the technology. This is a good time, however, to look at other aspects of its operation. In commercial and environmental terms the Concorde is a failure. Subsidies have been provided by national governments in order to allow wealthy individuals to travel faster. Its continuation in service is done due to misplaced national pride. Now is the time to reconsider use of these planes.
Wade Greene


I think that the aviation community has to stop glorifying the Concorde and move on

Iyaz Rahiman, Toronto, Canada
I think that the aviation community has to stop glorifying the Concorde and move on. It surely was an inspirational aircraft 10-20 years ago but now we must look towards the future and plan for a successor to the Concorde. Britain has had a great aviation history with the Comet, Trident, VC-10 and Concorde. Let's keep pushing further.
Iyaz Rahiman, Toronto, Canada

It is all well to speculate on the possible causes of this tragic accident, but I think we should wait for the comprehensive investigation through the forthcoming inquiries. Jumping to conclusions can only cloud the real reasons behind the crash.
Yota Yoshimitsu


Give me a little risk and all the joy of soaring like a bird at twice the speed of sound rather than confining myself to my own little world in case I cut my finger

Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK
Regardless of the fact that flying is the safest form of transport, and Concorde is the widely talked of as one of the safest passenger airlines. Give me a little risk and all the joy of soaring like a bird at twice the speed of sound rather than confining myself to my own little world in case I cut my finger.
Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK

Surely if the reverse thrusters on the Concorde were not operating properly, this would cause a higher than normal landing speed which would impact tyre life. Were you aware of a Qantas BAE 146 flight that was aborted at Canberra Airport today due to engine fire?
Peter May, Perth, Australia

Why are there no statistics available about the amount of daily casualties happening in car accidents on the streets world-wide, in Europe, the US, in Asia etc. The number would probably be outrageously high. Hasn't the media so far approached this Concorde accident in a very populist way, instead of sticking to the facts ?
Jutta, Germany

Over the last northern winter, I flew from Melbourne (Australia) to Rome with QANTAS. Early that year, a QANTAS 747 came off the runway in Bankok and there were a few other small issues reported locally. I still feel confident that air travel, especially with QANTAS, is safe. The burst bubble is a good way to describe the QANTAS problems. The airline had an enviable safety record and what must be stressed is that despite the spate of incidents over the last 18 months it is still one of the safest airlines.
Mick Morrongiello


Each time I step into an aircraft, I do think if I will ever reach my destination

Paul S Gill, Singapore
Each time I step into an aircraft, I do think if I will ever reach my destination, or will the aircraft develop some trouble up at 35,000 feet and that will be the end of me. Having said that, however, I am certain that with advancing technology in aircraft design, manufacturing and operation, travel by aeroplane is getting safer. I will also, at this point, say that unfortunately, the airline industry seems to learn some more "new" lessons only after some accident, and after some tragic loss of life. I would urge airline manufacturers and operators to anticipate problems sooner rather than later, and think more of passenger safety instead of profitability.
Paul S Gill, Singapore

While Air-travel still remains the safest means of transportation, some things done at Paris this last week leave a lot of questions begging for answers. The fact that the engineers were still fiddling around with the craft a few minutes before the ill-fated flight shows laxity of sorts. The pilot had to put his foot down to have something changed. This is frightening and reminds me of seeing maintenance crew fiddle-faddle with a plane in full view of the would-be passengers. One would want to believe that these are domain of third world, but in Paris?
Pastor Bryan Mombasa, Kenya

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Your comments during the programme:


Apart from the design and airworthiness of aircraft, it seems that we should also be paying attention to the modernisation of control tower

Mohansingh, India
As air accidents happen most frequently during take-off and landing, air traffic control systems play a crucial role in air safety. The British seem to be struggling with installing a modern, computerised air traffic control system by moving from their old West Drayton system, despite the fact that they are serving a very busy Heathrow airport. There are airports in other parts of the world who have only antiquated systems though air travel through the areas covered by them has increased considerably in recent years. Apart from the design and airworthiness of aircraft, it seems that we should also be paying attention to the modernisation of control towers.
Mohansingh, India

Much of the discussion about the Concorde has been about the technology. This is a good time, however, to look at other aspects of its operation. In commercial and environmental terms the Concorde is a failure. Subsidies have been provided by national governments in order to allow wealthy individuals to travel faster. Its continuation in service is done due to misplaced national pride. Now is the time to reconsider use of these planes.
Wade Green


Why do aircraft mishaps always make it to the headlines, while other tragedies don't?

Fred, Bombay
I fail to understand why so much of a brou-haha is made whenever an air accident happens. So many people are dying daily in our planet each day - from train or road accidents, even illness, poverty and starvation. Or do we care only for rich people? Why do aircraft mishaps always make it to the headlines, while other tragedies don't?
Fred, Bombay

I am involved in the airline industry and have been for the past 40 years. I was absolutely amazed by the coverage given to the Concorde (incident) by Sky News. This aircraft has an exemplary record over the past 25 odd years and it seemed to me Sky News obviously had nothing better to do than follow British Airways Concorde's to see what might happen to them!
Michael C. Levy, Israel

Boeing introduced the 747 in 1969. The average age of a 747-100 fleet is over 25 years old. If the 747 crashed for the first time today, people would suggest taking it out of service. As it has crashed many times, causing huge loss of life, we now happily fly knowing that it may crash again...
Michael, London, UK

I still think that Concorde is one of the greatest engineering feats of the century, and as such should be preserved, regardless of it's future status as a passenger plane. I for one would be quite happy to fly on Concorde (if I could afford it).
John Read, Canada

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Your comments before we went ON AIR:


European designed aircraft tend to give more authority to the flight computers than to the pilots themselves

Kevin Johnson, NY, USA
While many seem to be focusing on Concorde's age, I would tend to look at the philosophy that went in to her design. As all US trained pilots are aware, European designed aircraft tend to give more authority to the flight computers than to the pilots themselves. On all Airbus aircraft for instance, the computers have complete control of the aircraft even during a high level emergency. They will accept pilot intervention but can override this intervention as well. US made aircraft tend to put that control in the pilots hands using the computers as a supplement to the pilots decisions. The pilot ALWAYS has the final say on US designed aircraft where the computers have the final say on European designed aircraft.
Kevin Johnson, NY, USA

It's like the Hindenburg - where there was apparently a serious design-flaw. Are they going to deeply redesign/modify a 30 year-old plane that financially just breaks even? Probably not. So it will remain a risky business at take-off forever.
John van Daalst, Netherlands

In spite of the lost of more then 100 people, I think that it is to premature to say EXIT FOR CONCORDE. How many accidents can we count throughout the year as we talk about Boeing and other type of aircraft's? Let us not forget that the Concorde crashed last Tuesday was 20 years old (people keep on emphasising the year in with the first Concorde first took off). Nowadays at least 60% of the aircraft's are around 20 years of age. So what is the problem?
Cor de Graag, Netherlands

This aircraft has ancient piston fuel pumps - it is far too old a design to cope properly with modern safety expectations. The environmental damage it exerts is also outrageous - it is both technologically and environmentally in the last century
Tom Nicholini, UK

The crash is a tragedy that will have a great impact on Britain especially, but France has a space programme, but without Concorde Britain has nothing.
Paul Noblet, UK


Safe or unsafe? Dinosaur or showcase of Anglo-French engineering excellence?

Nic Lyons, UK
Safe or unsafe? Dinosaur or showcase of Anglo-French engineering excellence? Whatever the merits of Concorde it seems that a very definite problem has been identified with the aircraft - regardless of whether or not it was the cause of this crash - and that is the possibility of the fuel/hydraulic systems being damaged by debris from a damaged wheel. Surely the safety of Concorde could be improved greatly by modification of the undercarriage - maybe with some kind of advanced run-flat tyre or shield to prevent un-contained release of shrapnel into the wing. Surely that is not a huge engineering project?
Nic Lyons, UK

This media frenzy and mindless speculation is most irksome. Listen to the proper experts rather than make unfounded assumptions. I would fly in Concorde tomorrow (either BA or Air France).
James Campbell, UK

I note the comment made by Geoff of Australia: "You don't see any Military Aircraft still flying of that age". Sorry, but you are quite wrong. The military airforces around the world, including the UK, invariably include old designs. Even the ageless BAe Hawk, still one of the best trainer/fighters in the world today, is getting old. Note, also, the Jaguar. What we mustn't forget is the cost of development and production of aircraft. Because of this massive cost, aeroplanes are not sent to the scrap yard as quickly as cars. Also, relatively little corrosion of airframes occurs as they are not made of ferrous materials, resulting in their life span being greatly increased with respect to cars. Therefore, they are upgraded, rather than replaced. Concorde really isn't old, at least not in "aeroplane years".
Paul Tyce, England

Overlooked amid the toll of life lost and the crash of a safe aeroplane is the fact that a "true" hero has emerged from the ashes. If I knew that I had a pilot such as the one who lost his life, I would fly any aeroplane with that pilot. A skilful pilot can make all the difference between life and death. This poor man had no chance to use his skills when it was the plane that let him down. Thank God he was able to miss heavy populated areas. The French people should hold their heads high for the effort the pilot made to keep from hitting a large area of the town's population.
Vickie Reeves, Indianapolis, IN


The destiny of Concorde lies in the hands of the media

Joe Adhemar, London, UK
The destiny of Concorde lies in the hands of the media - we can either accept that Concorde no longer has an unblemished safety record OR we can tarnish it's image so severely with all this posturing so that it may never again be considered the flagship of BA + Air France that the rest of the world has so long, been envious of.
Joe Adhemar, London, UK

Having grown up with Concorde, watching her maiden flight and living near to the airfield which she flew from on her test flights, I have developed an admiration and appreciation that Concorde is and was an aircraft ahead of her time. I am still unshaken in my belief that Concorde is the safest and most beautiful aircraft in the world today. Whilst I have every sympathy for the victims of this disaster it will not deter me from flying on her should I ever be given the opportunity.
Pat Parkinson, Cheadle U.K.

An Air France Concorde visited Sydney in about 1989-90. I was lucky enough to be allowed on the tarmac , and was able to admire it from underneath. I couldn't help notice the condition of the tyres....3 tyres were down to the canvas on the main landing gear. My thoughts at the time were that I was glad I wasn't going anywhere in that plane.
Geoff, Melbourne, Australia

Many people here are comparing the relative safety of flying to the danger of driving a car. There is however an important difference. When driving a car you are in charge. Reasonably you can expect that if you drive with the utmost care and attention, you can avoid almost any accident situation. Motorcycle courses for example, teach excellent "awareness" techniques purely for survival reasons. When in an aircraft we place our complete trust in the pilots, engineers, and all the other people involved in aircraft safety. We are out of control; there is nothing we can do to make our flight safer. As a regular traveller on Concorde and lots of other aircraft, I will continue to travel by air because I have to for my work, and I do so with full awareness that there is a certain risk, albeit small. I suspect most other business travellers feel the same.
R. Oliver (Mr), Grasse, France


Who would claim that cars designed thirty years ago are as safe as what is made nowadays?

Gordon Lewis, Coventry, UK
People claim that Concorde is a "new" plane in terms of how much it is used, this may be true but you don't see car companies making cars with a thirty year old design do you? Who would claim that cars designed thirty years ago are as safe as what is made nowadays? It is only after tragic accidents like this one that we start to learn about the facts of this aeroplane and previous concerns that have been raised about it's age and design.
Gordon Lewis, Coventry, UK

It stands to reason sitting on top of hundreds of gallons of fuel and rotating parts, that one day a part will fly off through the seating area or possibly through the engine and blow the whole thing sky high. I wouldn't fly Concorde if you paid me. There is a lot in the saying "If god had wanted us to fly he would have gave us wings!"
Keith Jones, London

Surely everyone remembers the tragedies of Lockerbie, Kegworth et al? Why don't we take these accidents for what they are - a sign that human flight is against the will of God.
Jim Smith, Derby, UK


Perhaps if Concorde was less excessively powered, it may have survived a consequently lesser explosion

Brendan, England
Everyone is saying that the Concorde specifically is safe because "it's got a huge excess in capacity and power on the engines" (John Hutchinson, ex-Concorde pilot, quoted on this site). Has it occurred to anyone that a huge over-capacity in power could be exactly the reason for such a catastrophic outcome? Perhaps if Concorde was less excessively powered (i.e. over and above what is necessary for supersonic flight), it may have survived a consequently lesser explosion.
Brendan, England

You don't see any Military Aircraft still flying of that age. Although I generally have great faith in Airlines, models of aircraft, and the necessary maintenance staff; the fact is that aeroplanes get old. Do you still see the U.S. Air Force flying Phantoms (to use an aircraft of comparable age)? I think not.
Geoff, Australia


Would I feel safe flying Concorde? I'd rather swim the Atlantic...

David Gosnell, Milton Keynes, UK
"An almost unblemished safety record"? In terms of absolute numbers, yes. In terms of incidents per distance travelled, hardly - and this week's accident is sounding chillingly familiar: In a serious incident in 1979 (over twenty years ago) an exploding tyre ruptured fuel tanks, engines, hydraulic lines, electrical cables and the wing itself on a Concorde taking off from Washington. This was but one of four similar incidents described as "potentially catastrophic" involving Concorde in America from 1979 to 1981. Preliminary findings from this week's Paris crash are suggesting a similar course of events was likely to have been the cause; if this proves to be the case, then in twenty years we have learned precious little indeed and the safety procedures introduced as a result have proven tragically ineffectual. Would I feel safe flying Concorde? I'd rather swim the Atlantic...
David Gosnell, Milton Keynes, UK

According to a statistics, travelling by air is the safest means of transport. The number of accidents is the lowest. However, we have to admit that once an accident happens, the number of casualties is high.
Miyoko Kanako Kazuyo, Nagoya, Japan

Although a number of air crashes occur from time to time, we think the risk is not that high, compared with car crashes because in aeroplane accidents, many people can be killed in the blink of an eye while the total number of those who are killed by car accidents in a year is much higher.
Seiji and Makiko, Japan

Air travel is now so extremely dangerous that I predict people will completely stop travelling by aircraft in about 10 years time.
Johno, UK

All this speculation as to what happened is just that - speculation. Let's wait until the results of the investigation are known before we make any long-term decisions. Meanwhile, I commend BA for resuming their Concorde service again, after making the necessary checks. It was an unfortunate, tragic accident on Tuesday. We cannot let this one incident bring to a halt every other aircraft in Europe!
Linda, UK


Of course it's still safe, I would jump at the chance of flying on it

Tessa Burnett, London, UK
Of course it's still safe, I would jump at the chance of flying on it. If only I could afford to! I have always stopped what I am doing to admire it when it passes over my house every day, and still do, but now with a little sadness for the people that lost their lives.
Tracy, London, England

I can't help but feel that the fact that the pilot was not happy with the state of the aircraft before take off has a lot to do with the crash. Were the ground staff, who had to be persuaded by the pilot to take action, being arrogant? Did they feel that the pilot was making unnecessary demands? Did they have the same attitude as the owners of the Titanic who believed it was unsinkable?
Tessa Burnett, London, UK

Part of the reason air crashes get so much coverage is because they are so rare. In just one fortnight, the British roads alone will take a similar number of lives as were lost in Gonesse, but road deaths are so common they are not newsworthy. If I could afford to fly Concorde, I'd be on it tomorrow.
Chris Veness, UK

Just because Concorde has crashed does not mean that it is not safe and I believe that the aircraft is as safe now as it was the day it entered service. The crash has reminded us of the aircraft's age but it remains that with regular maintenance the aircraft will fly for 10 years or more.
Simon Davies, London, England

How safe do you feel on the ground? Planes are statistically safer than driving.
Mac Wizard, Amsterdam

Its always been a dream of mine to fly to New York by Concorde, and it still is even after Tuesdays terrible crash. I still believe that flying is the safest way to travel. The saddest thing about this is that when a plan does crash it kills everyone on board, and some on land. That's why there is so much media attention to this. If you worked out how many people where in a car crash and hurt in one year (all over the world), and work out how many planes crashed and people died, you will notice that flying is safer. Despite what has happened, and I do feel sorry for all those who are suffering, please keep the Concorde.
Claire, Reading


I have flown on a BA Concorde and would have no hesitation in flying again

Clive Brett, Bristol, UK
I have flown on a BA Concorde and would have no hesitation in flying again today if the opportunity arose. Like many other contributors I share the view that one accident should not tarnish the reputation of a fine aircraft nor should it cause them to be grounded. The track record of many other (still flying) commercial aircraft is far worse.
Clive Brett, Bristol, UK

I have to say I am deeply worried every time I step on to an aircraft operated by the 'value' airlines that have emerged in recent years. Only two years ago, my confidence in flying was shaken dramatically by a near disaster when flying in a thirty year old BAC 111 aircraft which landed awkwardly in a cross wind in Ireland. I complained to the CAA at the time, who were dismissive and, I thought, insensitive to the very real concerns I had about the safety of the airline, which subsequently went bust. My queries to the airline regarding the age of the aircraft in question were simply ignored. In my view, the design life of an aircraft should be respected and, when reached, aircraft should simply be brought out of service. Otherwise, we are staring catastrophe in the face, ignoring it in the interests of commerce.
Fergal Quinn, London, UK

Firstly, this is a horrific & terrifying tragedy and my heart goes out to the families of all those who died. I don't feel Concorde or indeed any aircraft should get a bad reputation as a result of an accident, especially until the full cause is known. I have absolutely no apprehension when stepping aboard an aeroplane, after all, an aeroplane is a machine operated by a highly trained crew in a strictly regulated industry, as opposed to the risks taken by us all, everyday, when we step into our cars, go onto main roads where we are surrounded by many other potentially lethal machines, operated by people with the minimum of training , skills or regulation. Flying continues to be the safest form of transport, when accidents do very occasionally happen, we all get to hear about them due to the large numbers of people involved. I for one would have no problem flying on Concorde, or any other airliner, today, tomorrow or in 10 years from now.
Dale Courtney, Bournemouth, UK


My initial reaction to this disaster after recovering from the shock was to wonder when the plane was serviced last

Hugh McKinney, East Sussex
Many accidents in the past few years appear to have happened shortly after the planes were serviced. My initial reaction to this disaster after recovering from the shock was to wonder when the plane was serviced last. It appears that it was 4 days before the flight and that last minute repairs were made.

Two suggestions:
1) A far higher system of quality control for routine services.
2) Video cameras overlooking runways to enable the Tower to visually check planes before take-off.
Hugh McKinney, East Sussex

I have flown with several pilots who have captained Concorde and I have known engineers who work on the aircraft as well. I have always found them to be of a professional manner and sometimes very pedantic in their checks. I have always held pilots in general to a very high regard as to the pressures they have to succumb to with flying. Don't start feeling negative about Concorde or flying in general. They are always flown and worked upon by some of the world's most highly skilled professionals. Thank you.
Damian McDowell, Dunedin, New Zealand

It's understandable for people to feel nervous about flying when there has been such an appalling tragedy as the recent Concorde crash. But such a disaster, horrible though it is, does not mean that a particular model of plane is unsafe. Bear in mind that planes are run by various airlines out of different airports each employing its own maintenance crews. We may now be justified in feeling nervous about Concorde ground crews at de Gaulle, but not about ANY Concorde flight. I believe this is what led to the grounding of the DC10 - a single, terrible incident resulting from poor maintenance, which tarnished the reputation of that particular model across the board.
Simon Feegrade, London, England

So many airports have launch flight paths over densely populated areas. Why not install runway cameras that feed to cockpit monitors thus allowing flight crews to observe problems like engine fires prior to reaching V1.
Abby, UK

I don't fly Concorde for the simple reason it's so expensive. However, if I win the lottery I would love to fly on it, even if only once. I would feel as safe as it is possible to feel while strapped into a metal tube containing several thousand gallons of explosive fuel.
John K, UK


The infrastructure that is now in place is woefully inadequate for the high volumes of people flying today

Jeff, USA
Flying, once the exclusive preserve of the rich, has now become very commonplace, particularly in the United States. The number of people flying today is double what it was only ten years ago. The infrastructure that is now in place is woefully inadequate for the high volumes of people flying today. Airlines provide poor service because they are overcrowded and know that they can make money off the fact that many of their customers have no other way of getting to their destination. To combat congestion in the skies (winglock), the US should build a high-speed rail system to compete with the roads and airlines. Europe, Britain and Japan are way ahead in the area of rail travel.
Jeff, USA

Since Concorde is having some problems with aging aircraft, why not let the Americans and Russians get back to work on the TUPOLEV TU-144? With NASA working on a prototype aircraft, it should be a lot safer and possibly have a faster cruising speed (approx 1,500mph).
Steve Kraeemr, Andover, NJ, USA

Flying is really a thing you cannot control. When you're in the air you feel that your fate is in God's hands. Of course, it is determined by our actions. Greater safety standards at airports around the world is imperative to ensure such occurrences don't happen. Maintenance staff should be monitored for signs of fatigue etc.
Mike, Zagreb, Croatia

We have travelled three time around the world and many times across the Australian continent and have never felt at risk. I remember seeing a Vulcan crash at Syerston Notts in around 1958 but it has never make me feel uncomfortable. One point - we always travel on a major airline and have now landed and/or taken off from 23 airports. It's much safer than driving on the roads around here.
Tony Lacy, Adelaide Australia

I would have no hesitation, apart from the financial cost, of flying on Concorde. I remember seeing it fly during its trials over the Downs in the late sixties, when I was on a visit home. A similar situation existed during 1960, when my husband and I flew out to Australia on the Comet. (One of the Comets had just crashed near Hong Kong when part of a wing fell off and I think that metal fatigue was the eventual conclusion). I watched the wing, that was visible to me, all the way out, but it did not stop me then and I would worry too much now. Now that I am in my fifties, I am philosophical enough to accept that whatever precautions one takes, sometimes events just line up to cause an accident and disaster. There are no guarantees in life, just live each moment.
Pat van der Veer, Halifax, Nova Scotia


We received a message from the captain stating that the landing gear had failed to retract

Andrew Hulbert, UK
Whilst waiting to take off at Amsterdam Airport on a 747-400 bound for Sydney, Australia. The flight had been delayed for 2 Hours to allow us to get onboard, because of an earlier flight into Holland from Bristol had been delayed because of Bad weather.
Moments after take off we all felt large amounts of turbulence as the plane attempted to gain altitude. Shortly after we received a message from the captain stating that the landing gear had failed to retract, a piece of the pneumatic arm which pulled the landing up had broken away during take-off. We had to fly to the north see at no more 3,000ft and dump all but a small amount of fuel in order to land again. Once landed in tool a further hour to repair. The point is why didn't they check this before take-off?
Andrew Hulbert, Bath, UK

Firstly, this is a horrific & terrifying tragedy and my heart goes out to the families of all those who died. I don't feel Concorde or indeed any aircraft should get a bad reputation as a result of an accident, especially until the full cause is known. I have absolutely no apprehension when stepping aboard an aeroplane, after all, an aeroplane is a machine operated by a highly trained crew in a strictly regulated industry, as opposed to the risks taken by us all, everyday, when we step into our cars, go onto main roads where we are surrounded by many other potentially lethal machines, operated by people with the minimum of training , skills or regulation. Flying continues to be the safest form of transport, when accidents do very occasionally happen, we all get to hear about them due to the large numbers of people involved. I for one would have no problem flying on Concorde, or any other airliner, today, tomorrow or in 10 years from now.
Dale Courtney, Bournemouth, UK

Many accidents in the past few years appear to have happened shortly after the planes were serviced. My initial reaction to this disaster after recovering from the shock was to wonder when the plane was serviced last. It appears that it was 4 days before the flight and that last minute repairs were made.

Two suggestions:
1) A far higher system of quality control for routine services.
2) Video cameras overlooking runways to enable the Tower to visually check planes before take-off.
Hugh McKinney, East Sussex


Everybody on the platforms stood in silence watching it fly over our heads

Dan Sloane, UK
It was very eerie at Reading railway station at 19:25 last night. Usually at this time, several Great Western 125's are entering or leaving the station, announcements are being made and a BA Concorde is flying over - it's a very noisy place.
Last night, as if as a sign of respect, there were no trains and no announcements. Just the incredible noise of Concorde flying west over the station: everybody on the platforms stood in silence watching it fly over our heads.
Once it vanished into a cloud, and the engine noise died away, life carried on and two trains arrived.
It was one of those situations that stick in your mind.
Dan Sloane, UK

It is a tragic accident and my sympathies go to the passengers and crew of that flight. As an aeronautical engineer by qualification I feel I can say that Concorde has many more years flying and is still a flagship for both Air France and British Airways. I would be happy to fly on it as I would any aircraft. This discussion is pointless and serves nothing but a posting board for the Flying phobics of this world. Vive La Concorde!
Chris, UK

The Concorde accident has a number of parallels with the Korean Jumbo crash at Gatwick at Christmas in so far as an engine was suspected of being on fire before take off. Wouldn't it aid investigation as to possible cause (bird ingestion etc) if all take-offs and landings were routinely recorded?
Clive Barber, England

It would be so hasty to stop Concorde flights after the tragedy in Paris. Russia so easily lost her TU-144 (civil supersonic aircraft) about 30 years ago and where are the new models?
Alexander I. Kozlov, Moscow, Russia

If the future of Concorde and its successors are doubt... Why have Nasa been conducting SST\SCT test trials in Russia using the re-engined TU144LL (Russian copy of Concorde)?
Andrew Cleator, Douglas, Isle of Man


Concorde is a relic from an ancient regime when pollution wasn't a problem at all and when fuel was made for heavy consumption

Petri, Finland
Concorde is a relic from an ancient regime when pollution wasn't problem at all and when fuel was made for heavy consumption. There are 13 such planes in the world. I think they should rest in pieces.
Petri, Finland

The question of Concorde's future viability will probably not be a technologically-driven decision - it will be driven by the market forces instead. After all, what's point in having an aircraft with 'proven' safety if passengers are not willing to fly on it due to the perceived risk. This is especially true of such an expensive plane to fly, which in itself will become increasingly difficult to justify.
Mike Small, UK

I don't think we can begin to consider whether Concorde is 'safe' or not until the results of the crash investigation are known. For example, if the crash was found to be due to an engineer's spanner being left in an engine housing, leading to engine failure, would this mean the aircraft is unsafe?
James Bywater, London, UK


Air travel does come with risks as does everything else in life but I'd rather risk my life flying on Concorde rather than a small light aircraft

Sarah Bibby, UK
Concorde is one of the most beautiful pieces of engineering and I've dreamt of flying it (as passenger/pilot) since I was a little girl. If someone offered me a ticket or if I could afford it then I would gladly fly. Air travel does come with risks as does everything else in life but I'd rather risk my life flying on Concorde rather than a small light aircraft whose poor recent safety record seems to have been forgotten.
May Concorde fly the skies forever and may we be treated to Concorde offspring in the future.
Sarah Bibby, UK

Has anyone ever given a thought to the age of these planes? They are over 26 years old. Even some of the third world countries do not fly planes which are over 20 years old. The fault is not only that of the plane, the trend shows that recently there were small problems and a big one was waiting to happen.
The answer now is to scrap the whole fleet and produce a new one. I for one would not travel in the old ones. They have served us well and now it is time for them to retire gracefully.
Rahul Dhir, Glasgow, UK

My heart goes out to all those who suffered a loss as a result of this dreadful crash. However, we should retain a sense of perspective regarding this matter, this aircraft is vastly over engineered and is more closely monitored than any other now in service. Concorde does not appear old when compared against the fleets of the European national carriers, many of whom are flying planes which have clocked up tens of times more flights and flying hours than any Concorde.
Jason Atkin, Oulu, Finland

Aeroplane parts are very expensive and some company's use "fake" parts for the repairs. I'm not saying that Air France has done so, but that it is more likely to have been a maintenance error than a design error. Concorde has been flying over thirty years and not one has crashed until now. I think that pretty much shows the aircraft's quality.
Patrick Geerlings, Kerkrade, The Netherlands


It's a museum piece from a rather 'irresponsible' part of the last century

Dave Green, UK
Concorde, beautiful though it is to watch, is a tired icon of an age where countries competed against each other for domination regardless of efficient use of resources or the environment. The plane is inefficient and the noise pollution it generates is considerably annoying for those like myself who live anywhere near its flightpath.
It's continued use helps perpetuate the belief among the rich that they are above being responsible for the environment, and it really is all a bit tastelessly seventies. The crash is just a chance incident that shouldn't be a factor in the decision to retire Concorde. The fact that it's a museum piece from a rather 'irresponsible' part of the last century should be.
Dave Green, UK

Not wishing to prejudge the outcome of the current inquiry, it is nevertheless true that most aircraft accidents are caused by human error in one form or another. Age, whether of aircraft or other machines, is not an issue provided they are maintained well. After all, the Tiger Moth is still flying and who wouldn't give their right arm to drive an old steam train?
Paul R, UK

I cannot believe that the media are making such a meal of this terrible event. The fact remains that in 30 years one has been lost; I dread to think how many 747's or 737's have been lost in that time, yet they are still 'commercially viable' and continue to be the mainstay of many airlines.
Steve Davies, England

After the Concorde crash, the first thing I could think of, besides from the shock of sudden human lost, was how hurt French pride must be. Somehow, I knew how the media would react to the accident yet I feel this has taken a sick dimension, with France mourning the death of a "plane's safety record", forgetting that over 100 people died together with their national pride
Mariano Samtos, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I work for a company that manufactured parts for Concorde's engines, and these are routinely returned to us for overhaul and re-certification. I can honestly say that it is one of the products we have the least problems with, and despite being 20 to 25 years old they continue to meet all specifications. If they didn't, they wouldn't be put back into service. All aircraft components are checked rigorously after a set number of cycles for faults and if any are found, then the component is not used. No-one called for all Boeing 747's to be grounded when the Korean Airlines cargo convert crashed with what was reported to be a similar problem outside Stanstead less than 12 months ago. Concorde is a high profile aircraft and that is now a millstone around its neck.
Chris P, Walsall, UK


There is no such thing as absolute safety

Brian Pull, Swanley, England
Every accident is a tragedy and whilst we feel sincere empathy for those who lost friends and family in the Concorde crash, a touch of perspective also needs to be retained. We live in an imperfect world where, given time, any and every eventuality will sooner or later happen. There is no such thing as absolute safety whether in terms of flying (the safest form of long distance travel) or anything else. Driving is clearly one of the most dangerous forms of travel, yet we all undertake it without a second thought. With respect to the cause of the crash there is nothing to do but wait for the professionals (rather than the uninformed meanderings of armchair or media "experts") to complete their investigations.
Brian Pull, Swanley, England

How refreshing to see a discussion almost completely devoid of any knee jerk reaction. Flying's safe, Concorde's safe, of course we can't let the guard down and things like this show just how close to the edge we are at times. All of our sympathy goes to the bereaved, but I for one would be very happy to take the next Air France Concorde out of Charles de Gaulle.
J.J. Jackson, London

With all the talk about Concorde being an outdated piece of equipment, most people seem to forget (or not realise) that the majority of aeroplanes flying these days are also in the region of 20 years old. Why should it be grounded purely as a knee-jerk reaction to this horrific crash? There is a future for Concorde - with all the technology available for detection and repair of aircraft, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't carry on flying. While the CAA is happy to grant Certificates of Airworthiness - why not?
Duncan, London

Concorde over flies my office everyday, and still people stop and watch this wondrous aircraft. She has more life left in her, and hopefully will continue to maintain her position as the last word in flying. My hope is that the media do not set up a campaign to end her days, without knowing the full facts, as they have so often done before. Let's wait and see what the investigations reveal, and then make informed judgements. Our sympathies to the families of those involved.
Dave, London, UK


When a plane crashes in other parts of the world, they hardly get a top billing in the news reports

John D'Souza, LA, USA
This is just another plane crash. Yes, we are all saddened by the sudden loss of life, but the coverage on this has been over the top. So it was the Concorde, so what. When a plane crashes in other parts of the world, they hardly get a top billing in the news reports. This was different in that it was full of rich Germans/ Europeans going on an expensive holiday rather than poorer people from some Third World country. Let's try and get a proper perspective on this crash. Planes do crash. No form of transport is 100 per cent safe.
John D'Souza, LA, USA

Am I right in thinking the Russians had problems/ a crash with their "Concordski" many years ago?
Andrew Botsford, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

This Concorde crash is Europe's equivalent of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. It is a reminder of our mortality. But that should not stop us from striving to advance our technological limits.
Benjamin Barrier, Brussels, Belgium

Surely the tragedy at Charles De Gaulle airport yesterday highlights the extent to which airlines will continue to operate close to the operational limits of their fleet, and tend to present all accidents as not reflecting adversely on the condition of the aircraft. The decision to resume Concorde flights today when no cause has been established for the catastrophic failure of a very high power jet engine, of which only a handful are in service, is irresponsible in the extreme.
Martin Stephens, Warsaw Poland

A terrible tragedy for the passengers and relatives but a heaven-sent excuse to finally cease Concorde operations for good. Concorde has cost the French and British Governments many billions since its conception 40 years ago. As with previous gigantic failures, i.e. Scott of the Antarctic, Concorde will now be glorified into the mythology of British aviation. I expect BA shares to rise on the news, as resources wasted on Concorde are redeployed to help BA's ailing performance of late.
Peter Thompson, Cairns, Australia

This tragic crash may not result in Concorde being grounded due to airworthiness concerns but will it force Air France to discontinue its loss making Concorde service? If so, will it also force BA to withdraw Concorde from its fleet in order that it is not seen to be flying an "unsafe" aircraft and thus bringing an end to supersonic airline transport for the foreseeable future? Or will Richard Branson take the opportunity to buy the remainder of the Air France Concorde fleet?
John, UK


As one of the first 7 BA captains to fly Concorde in 1975, I am sure that I would have no fears about travelling on the aircraft again today

Peter Duffey, Canada
As one of the first 7 BA captains to fly Concorde in 1975, I am sure that I would have no fears about travelling on the aircraft again today. It is disturbing to see that comment appears to be politically inspired, depending on the country of origin. The real questions are why did the engine break-up, and why were the wheels still down after takeoff?
Peter Duffey, Canada

Concorde's days are certainly numbered, as are the days of supersonic passenger air travel. It was and is not commercially viable to spend billions on developing such an aircraft to only have a working fleet of a dozen or so planes. This is as true today as it was in the 1960s, when vast government support was ploughed into the programme. It is arguably the knowledge that there is to be no replacement that has kept Concorde alive for so long, too long in my opinion.
Dave, London, UK

It's time to retire this fleet and build a new fleet of Concordes. I'm more than certain BA and Air France can afford to contract Aerospatiale and British Aerospace to build some more, tickets costing upwards of $10,000 and all. They s should have known that flying above Mach 1 would cause some wear and tear over 25 years.
Michael Hamilton, Atlanta, USA

The folks that originally built the planes still have the plans etc. Why not build a couple of new ones. It would create a few jobs, and I'm sure that the Concordes have paid for themselves by now. The new materials would make the plane that much better, and there is still a market for supersonic passenger travel. It would seem to me that it was a maintenance problem and not a "decrepit old banger" succumbing to stress fatigue.
Steve Davies, Freeport, Bahamas (Brit)

Any accident has a lesson to be learned. The crash of the Concorde can provide insights to various problems that would not have come to light if everything had gone well. It will also lead to extra efforts in making the aeroplanes safer.
Ribu Jacob, India

Looking at the track record of Concorde, I must say that it has been rather impressive. While the crash has certainly been rather tragic, we should not allow this disaster to affect us. More importantly, we should get to the crux of the matter and determine the cause of the crash. Only then, can we prevent similar incidents from recurring in the future.
Sunny Chia Bart Por, Tampines, Singapore


The Concorde is a marvel of British aviation engineering, and should represent the next stage in the evolution of mass air travel.

Liam Coughlan, Armenia
The Concorde is a marvel of British aviation engineering, and should represent the next stage in the evolution of mass air travel. Its enviable safety record to date has been damaged, temporarily, until more is known. There has been many disasters involving the global fleet of Boeing, Airbus and McDonnell Douglas planes, and these have not diminished the public's appetite for flying.
Liam Coughlan, Yerevan, Armenia

Just before take-off they checked the aircraft. They where repairing one engine and then after take-off the plane crashes. If there was a problem with one off the four engines why didn't they cancelled the flight and make some repairs.
Kenny Vinckbooms, Brussels, Belgium

Everyone is saying one crash in 30 years is nothing. Apart from this seeming a little disrespectful to the 100+ passengers and crew that died, when you compare this to the relatively small number of flights Concorde makes the figures makes slightly uncomfortable reading. The DC10 with it's none too spectacular safety record has a "fatal incidents per million flights" rating of 1.97, the Boeing 747 rates as 1.55. As a result of this single incident the rating for Concorde is now 12.5, by far the worst rating of any plane rated! I think questions need to be answered before rushing them back into service.
Stuart Hadley, St Albans, UK


The Titanic was also a pioneering mode of transport in its day and people still talk today about its tragic end

Gianni Jarvis, Sweden
No, from a technical viewpoint Concorde isn't coming to the end of its life. After over 25 years of commercial operation without a major incident the odds point to a cause rooted in human error. However the question of whether this tragic accident has put a dent in the commercial image of this very special aeroplane is far harder to answer. The Titanic was also a pioneering mode of transport in its day and people still talk today about its tragic end! One hopes that at the very least this tragedy will serve to remind the airline industry never to relax its safety routines.
Gianni Jarvis, Sweden

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