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The BBC's John Andrew
"The supersonic airliner taxied round the airport at no more than 30 miles an hour"
 real 56k

The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"The hope is, next Monday, it will go supersonic"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
BA tests Concorde at Heathrow
BA Concorde
Concorde has been undergoing a 17m safety overhaul
British Airways has carried out ground tests of Concorde at Heathrow Airport, paving the way for a test flight.

Engineers tested brakes, tyres and new fuel tank linings which have been fitted to prevent a repeat of last year's crash in France.

A test flight from Heathrow to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is now expected to take place within the next week.

All Concordes are currently grounded after the Air France tragedy near Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, which killed 109 passengers and crew, as well as four people on the ground.

Circuit

The trial involved an aircraft being towed from BA's maintenance base onto the airport.

There, the engines were started and the aircraft made a full circuit of Heathrow at speeds of up to 30 mph.

At the controls was Concorde chief pilot Captain Mike Bannister. He was accompanied by flight crew and engineering staff.

Among the things tested were steering, braking and navigational computers.

The plane involved - alpha foxtrot - is the first of BA's seven Concorde's to be fitted with Kevlar fuel tank liners.

Safety overhaul

The liner is made of a rubber compound successfully used in military helicopters and Formula One cars - and new, tougher tyres.

A burst tyre caused last year's crash, flinging debris at a fuel tank and starting a catastrophic fire.

The result of any test flight will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority and its French equivalent, with the aim of winning back certificates of air-worthiness suspended in the wake of the Paris crash.

BA hopes to resume Concorde's passenger service in September.

The fleet has been undergoing a 17m safety overhaul since last the crash.

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See also:

13 May 01 | Europe
Relatives accept Concorde cash
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