Last summer, when Air France Flight 4590--Concorde service from Paris to New York--fell to earth, killing 113 people, shock waves reverberated throughout both Britain and France, as well as across the Atlantic. The first crash of the supersonic transport (SST), a symbol of Anglo-French technological achievement, was comparable in its effect to the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in the U.S.
Ever since, the airframe builders--BAE Systems and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)--and the airline operators--British Airways and Air France--have been working feverishly to get the Concorde back into the air. This continuing effort involves retrofitting the SST with new safety systems designed to prevent a repeat disaster. During takeoff, the ill-fated airliner ran over a stray metal strip that had fallen off an earlier DC-10 flight, according to accident investigators. The strip cut into a tire on the plane's main landing gear, throwing debris up against the underside of the Concorde's delta wing, right at a fuel tank.
This article was originally published with the title Concorde's Comeback.