22 years ago today (25th July), Air France flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic aeroplane, crashed in Gonesse, a suburb of Paris. The iconic aeroplane went down in flames almost immediately after take-off, killing all 109 people on board and 4 others on the ground. It was the first fatal crash of a Concorde in 24 years of regular passenger service. The event is believed to have hastened the end of all Concorde operations in 2003.
Flight 4590 was a charter flight from Paris to New York City. The aircraft was an Air France Concorde, registration number F-BTSC. Most of the passengers were German tourists on their way to board a Caribbean-bound cruise ship in New York City. At approximately 4:43 PM the plane began its take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport. However, as it accelerated down the runway, ground observers noticed a fire on the left side, under the wing. The aircraft veered left on the runway, and, at about the time it left the ground, one of the two left-side engines failed. The pilot was unable to climb higher than about 200 feet (60 metres), and, about 90 seconds after the commencement of takeoff, the other left-side engine failed. At this point the aircraft dropped from the sky and crashed into a small hotel and restaurant in suburban Gonesse. All on board—100 passengers and 9 crew members—died. In addition, 4 people on the ground perished, and 6 others suffered injuries.
Air France grounded its remaining Concordes immediately; British Airways, the only other operator of the aircraft, followed suit in August. Both airlines resumed service in November 2001, but less than two years after that, all Concorde service ceased permanently.
Here at Valkyrie, we remember the horrific incident, the 113 people who perished as a result of the crash and the sad end of such an Icon aircraft.