Concorde engines had 55 'risk points'

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The Independent Online

A study of Concorde's engines carried out before last month's fatal crash found 55 "significant risks".

A study of Concorde's engines carried out before last month's fatal crash found 55 "significant risks".

New Scientist magazine said yesterday it had seen details of the study, which showed that some of the risks could lead to "catastrophic problems" including uncontrolled fire and multiple engine failure.

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

It was carried out in conjunction with Rolls-Royce, which made the engines, and BMT Reliability Consultants of Fareham, Hampshire.

An investigation is now underway into why the Air France Concorde crashed into a hotel two minutes after taking off from Paris on 25 July killing all 109 crew and passengers and four people on the ground.

Investigators believe the aeroplane may have hit a piece of debris on the runway, or that a tyre exploded and debris from that was sucked into the engine, piercing fuel tanks and causing the fire.

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 identified 152 separate risks, 55 of which were considered significant, though precise details of the risks are not known.

The consequences of any potential failing were divided into five classes - ranging from "trivial" to "catastrophic."

Catastrophic consequences included uncontrolled fire and multiple engine failure.

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

She said: "The significant risks related to the risk that without adequate maintenance a particular part could fail. 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."

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