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Crash of the Concorde is the 1st episode of Seconds from Disaster. It answers the reason why the first supersonic airplane crashed into a hotel.
As a Concorde supersonic jet operating as Air France Flight 4590 takes off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport, it catches fire and crashes into a hotel in Gonesse killing all 109 people onboard and 4 in the hotel.
The official investigation was conducted by France's accident investigation bureau, the BEA, and it was published on 14 December 2004. Only 1 video was found of the flight.
The investigators concluded that:
- The aircraft was overloaded by about a ton above the maximum safe take off weight.
- After reaching take-off speed, the tire of the number 2 wheel was cut by a metal strip lying on the runway, which came from the thrust reverser cowl door of the number 3 engine of a Continental Airlines DC-10 that had taken off from the runway several minutes before. This strip was installed in violation of the manufacturer's rules.
- The aircraft was airworthy and the crew were qualified. The landing gear that later failed to retract had not shown serious problems in the past. Despite the crew being trained and certified, no plan existed for the simultaneous failure of two engines on the runway, as it was considered highly unlikely.
- Aborting the take-off would have led to a high-speed runway excursion and collapse of the landing gear, which also would have caused the aircraft to crash.
- While two of the engines had problems and one of them was able to be shut down, the damage to the plane's structure was so severe that the crash would have been inevitable, even with the engines operating normally.