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Concorde flight tests safety changes

作者:容让镭    发布时间:2019-03-06 01:07:00    

By Will Knight A Concorde passenger jet has taken its first supersonic flight since an Air France aircraft crashed in July 2000, killing 113 people. The test will allow Concorde’s other operator, British Airways, to evaluate new safety modifications. The flight took off from London’s Heathrow airport at 1420 local time. The aircraft began on a normal route towards New York but returned to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, touching down at 1800. Air France conducted a subsonic flight test in January, but on Tuesday the aircraft reached a top speed of 1350 mph – almost twice the speed of sound. The crash in Paris is believed to have been caused by debris on the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport, which burst a tyre during take off and led to chunks of rubber rupturing a fuel tank. Leaking fuel then caused a fire, which resulted in the catastrophic crash. British Airways plans to re-launch Concorde later this year but the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and French aviation authorities will have to certify that Concorde is safe to fly. A CAA spokesman says that this maiden flight will be watched closely. “We have to be absolutely sure that Concorde is safe for public transportation,” he told New Scientist. The new Concorde has numerous safety modifications, in particular to the fuel tanks. These are now protected by a system designed to plug any rupture with Kevlar armour. The plane’s electrical system has new flexible steel tubing that should prevent any damage to the undercarriage causing sparks that could ignite a fire. The plane also features tyres built by Michelin from a new material designed not to throw off debris when punctured. The analysis of the test flight will focus on primarily on the fuel tank modifications. This is because as well as feeding the engines, Concorde’s fuel is used to cool the plane’s surface temperature. Engineers want to make sure that the changes to the tanks do not affect this. They also want to make sure that the amount of fuel that reaches the engine is not restricted. All the modifications have been tested on the ground. A spokesman for British Airways said that Tuesday’s flight was to watch for any changes to Concorde’s normal flying. If the changes are shown to have no ill effects,

 

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