Daily Archives: July 25, 2021

25 July 2000

“Air France Flight 4590 taking off with fire trailing from its engine, Paris, July 25, 2000.” (Toshihiko Sato/AP Images)

25 July 2000: On Tuesday afternoon at 14:42 UTC (16:42 local time), Air France Flight 4590, an Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde, F-BTSC, began its takeoff from Paris Charles de Gaulle on a chartered flight to New York City. The airliner had a flight crew of three and cabin crew of six. There were 100 passengers on board.

During takeoff from runway 26 right at Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport, shortly before rotation, the front right tyre of the left landing gear was damaged and pieces of the tyre were thrown against the aircraft structure. A major fire broke out under the left wing. Problems appeared shortly afterwards on engine N° 2 and for a brief period on engine N° 1. The aircraft was neither able to climb nor accelerate. The crew found that the landing gear would not retract. The aircraft maintained a speed of 200 kt and a radio altitude of 200 feet for about one minute. Engine n° 1 then stopped. The aircraft crashed onto a hotel at La Patte d¹Oie in Gonesse.

—English translation, Summary, Preliminary Accident Report, Bureau Enquêtes-Accidents

The final report stated:

3.2 Probable Causes

The accident was due to the following causes:

High-speed passage of a tyre over a part lost by an aircraft that had taken off five
minutes earlier and the destruction of the tyre.

The ripping out of a large piece of tank in a complex process of transmission of the
energy produced by the impact of a piece of tyre at another point on the tank, this
transmission associating deformation of the tank skin and the movement of the
fuel, with perhaps the contributory effect of other more minor shocks and /or a
hydrodynamic pressure surge.

Ignition of the leaking fuel by an electric arc in the landing gear bay or through
contact with the hot parts of the engine with forward propagation of the flame
causing a very large fire under the aircraft’s wing and severe loss of thrust on
engine 2 then engine 1.

In addition, the impossibility of retracting the landing gear probably contributed to the
retention and stabilisation of the flame throughout the flight.

Accident on 25 July 2000 at La Patte d’Oie in Gonesse (95) to the Concorde Registered F-BTSC operated by Air France, Bureau Enquêtes-Accidents, Report Translation f-sc000725a, at Page 176

Metal strip (BEA)

All 109 persons aboard the airliner and another 4 person on the ground were killed. 1 person was injured.

Accident investigators concluded that the Concorde had run over a metal strip on the runway which had fallen off of a Continental Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10, N13067, which had taken off from that runway a few minutes previously. The strip damaged the Concorde’s tire and caused it to fail.

Because the Concorde was vulnerable to a catastrophic accident resulting from such a minor issue as a failed tire, the fleet’s airworthiness certifications were suspended.

Air France Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde F-BTSC. (Michael Gilliand/Wikipedia)

F-BTSC had first flown 31 January 1975. At the time of the accident, it had flown 11,989 hours and 4873 cycles.

The production Concorde 100 was 202 feet, 4 inches (61.67 meters) long with a wingspan of 83 feet, 10 inches (25.55 meters) and overall height, and overall height of 40 feet, 0 inches. (12.19 meters). The series had an empty weight of 173,500 pounds (78,698 kilograms), MTOW 408,000 pounds (185,066 kilograms). F-BTSC was the heaviest airplane in the Concorde fleet, with a basic weight of 81,560 kilograms (179,809 pounds). Its takeoff weight on 25 July was 186,251 kilograms (410,613 pounds).

The Concorde was powered by four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk.610 engines. The Mk. 610 is a two-spool, axial-flow turbojet with afterburner. The compressor section as 14 stages (7 low- and 7 high-pressure stages). Two-stage turbine has 1 high- and 1 low-pressure stage. The engine has a maximum continuous power rating of 28,800 pounds of thrust (128.11 kilonewtons). It is rated at 37,080 pounds (164.94 kilonewtons) for takeoff (5 minute limit). During takeoff, the afterburners produce approximately 20% of the total thrust. The Olympus 593 Mk.613 is 1.212 meters (3.976378 feet) in diameter, 4.039 meters (13.251312 feet)long, and weighs 3,175 kilograms (7,000 pounds).

Production Concordes were certified for a maximum operating cruise speed of Mach 2.04, and a maximum operating altitude of 60,000 feet (18.288 meters). The maximum range 3,900 was nautical miles (4,488 statute miles/7,223 kilometers).

© 2020, Bryan R. Swopes

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25 July 1984

Svetlana Evgenievna Savitskaya, Hero of the Soviet Union

25 July 1984: Cosmonaut Svetlana Evgenievna Savitskaya, on her second mission to the Salyut 7 space station, became the first woman to perform a space walk, when she spent 3 hours, 35 minutes outside the space station.

Colonel Savitskaya was the second woman to fly in space, following Cosmonaut Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova. Svetlana Evgenievna’s first space flight was also to Salyut 7, in 1982. She was assigned as commander of an all-woman crew to the station, but that flight was cancelled. She has spent 19 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes in space.

Svetlana Evgenievna Savitskaya was born 8 August 1948 in Moscow, Russia. She is the daughter of Air Marshal Yevgeny Yakovlevich Savitsky, twice a Hero of the Soviet Union, and Lidia Pavlovna.

17896 27.10.1967 Студентка Московского авиационного института Светлана Савицкая на занятиях. В. Шандрин/РИА Новости (Student of the Moscow Aviation Institute Svetlana Savitskaya in the classroom. 1967 Photo: RIA Novosti / V. Shandrin)

Colonel Savitskaya is a retired flight engineer and test pilot. Like her father, she was twice awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. She was also awarded the Order of Lenin twice, the Order of the Badge of Honor, and the Order for Services to the Fatherland.

Svetlana Evgenievna was a member of the Soviet Union’s national aerobatic team. In 1970, she won the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Aerobatic Championship, held at RAF Hullvington, Wiltshire, England, while flying a Yakovlev Yak-18.

Savitskaya in 1971

In 1971, she graduated from the Central Flight Technical School of the USSR, and from the Ministry of Aviation Industry test pilot school, in 1976. She served as a flight instructor until 1978 when she was assigned as a test pilot at the Yakovlev Design Bureau. She set 18 FAI world records in airplanes and another 4 in free-fall parachuting from high altitude. (Two records, set with a Yakovlev Yak-40 in April 1981, remain current.)

In 1980, Svetlana Evgenievna was assigned to cosmonaut training.

Cosmonaut free-fall training, 1980.

She earned her doctorate in technical sciences in 1986. Married to a pilot, Victor Khatovsky, with a son, Konstantine. She retired in 1993 with the rank of major. (Presently she holds the rank of colonel.)

Academician Savitskaya is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. She is Honorary President of the Federation of Aviation Sports of Russia.

Svetlana Evgenievna currently serves in the parliamentary assembly of the Union of Russia and Belarus. She holds the position of Deputy Chairman of the committee for security, defense and law enforcement.

Soviet Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, the first woman to walk in space during the Soyuz T-12 space mission to the Salyut 7 space station in August 1984, photographed by Cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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25 July 1915

Captain Lanoe George Hawker, V.C., D.S.O., Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps (Imperial War Museum Catalog number Q 61077
Captain Lanoe George Hawker, D.S.O., Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps (Imperial War Museum Catalog number Q 61077)

25 July 1915: Near Passchendaele, Belgium, Captain Lanoe George Hawker, DSO, No. 6 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, was flying a single-engine Bristol Scout C, which he had had his mechanic equip with a single Lewis machine gun, fixed and firing 45° to the left to avoid the propeller arc.

Captain Hawker saw three enemy aircraft and attacked, shooting down all three. For this action, Captain Hawker was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was the third pilot, and the first ace, to receive Britain’s highest award for gallantry in combat.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 20.14.17War Office, 24th August 1915.

     His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officer and man, in recognition of their most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in the field:—

Captain Lanoe George Hawker, D.S.O., Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps.

     For most conspicuoius bravery and very great ability on 25th July, 1915.

     When flying alone he attacked three German aeroplanes in succession. The first managed to eventually escape, the second was driven to the ground damaged, and the third, which he attacked at a height of about 10,000 feet, was driven to the earth in our lines, the pilot and observer being killed.

     The personal bravery shown by this Officer was of the very highest order, as the enemy’s aircraft were armed with machine guns, and all carried a passenger as well as the pilot.

The London Gazette, Number 29273, 24 August 1915, at Page 8395, Column 1.

Hawker was credited with destroying 7 enemy aircraft in combat. His luck came to an end, however, on 23 November 1916, when he encountered Leutnant Manfred Albrecht Freiher von Richthofen of Jagdstaffel 2 near Begaume, France, while flying an Airco DH.2.

A lengthy battle ensued with neither fighter ace gaining advantage. Richthofen, “The Red  Baron,” fired over 900 rounds during the fight. Running low on fuel, Hawker tried to break off and head for friendly lines. Almost there, he was struck in the head by a single machine gun bullet from Richthofen’s Albatros D.II. Major Hawker was killed and his airplane spun to the ground. He was the eleventh of Baron Richthofen’s eighty aerial victories.

The Baron took one of Hawker’s machine guns as a trophy.

 Captain Hawker's Bristol Scout C, No. 1611, in which he destroyed three enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 25 July 1915. In this photograph, the angled placement of Hawker's Lewis machine gun is visible.
Captain Hawker’s Bristol Scout C, No. 1611, in which he destroyed three enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 25 July 1915. In this photograph, the angled placement of Hawker’s Lewis machine gun is visible. (Wikipedia)

The Bristol Scout C was a single-place, single-engine tractor-type biplane reconnaissance aircraft. It was manufactured by the British and Colonial Aeroplane Co., Ltd., at Brislington, south east of Bristol, England. The Scout C was 20 feet, 8 inches (6.299 meters) long with a wingspan of 24 feet, 7 inches (7.493 meters) and height of 8 feet, 6 inches (2.591 meters). The wings had a chord of 4 feet, 6 inches (1.372 meters) and vertical separation of 4 feet, 3 inches (1.295 meters). They were staggered 1 foot, 4½ inches (0.419 meters). The Scout C had an empty weight of 757 pounds (343 kilograms) and maximum gross weight of 1,195 pounds (542 kilograms).

The Scout C was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated, 10.91 liter (665.79 cubic inch) Société des Moteurs Le Rhône 9C nine-cylinder rotary engine which produced 83 horsepower at 1,285 r.p.m. The engine turned a two-bladed, fixed-pitch wooden propeller through direct drive.

The Scout C had a maximum speed of 92.7 miles per hour (149.2 kilometers per hour) at ground level, and 86.5 miles per hour (139.2 kilometers per hour) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). It could climb to 10,000 feet in 21 minutes, 20 seconds. Its service ceiling was 15,500 feet (4,724 meters). It carried sufficient fuel to remain airborne for 2½ hours.

A total of 374 Bristol Scouts were built. 211 of these were of the Scout C variant.

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

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25 July 1909

Starting the Anzani engine of Louis Blériot’s Type XI monoplane, 25 July 1909. (Library of Congress)

25 July 1909: At 4:41 a.m., Louis Charles Joseph Blériot took of from the hamlet of les Baraques,¹ near Sangatte, Pas-de-Calais, France, in his own Type XI single-engine monoplane, and flew across the English Channel (la Manche) to Dover. He landed at Northfall Meadow, near Dover Castle, Kent, England.

Feet wet: Blériot crossing the shoreline, outbound, on the morning of 25 July 1909. (Flight)

The airplane did not have a compass, so for a visual reference. Blériot used a 26-knot Pertuisane-class torpedo boat destroyer, Escopette, which was sailing toward Dover.  After passing the ship, visibility deteriorated and he was only able to see the water below him.

A Marine Nationale Pertuisane-class torpedo boat destroyer (contre-torpilleur). This is the same class as Escopette. (Marius Bar)

Blériot flew on and after about ten minutes was able to see the coastline ahead. He realized that the wind had blown him to the east of his intended course, so he flew along the shoreline until he recognized a signal marking the landing point. The wind was gusty near the cliffs and he landed harder than intended, slightly damaging his airplane.

A contemporary aviation news publication reported:

. . . Accounts differ as to the exact moment of departure and descent, and as a matter of fact it is doubtful if any reliable timing was made since M. Bleriot started without a watch as well as without a compass. The distance of the flight was about 31 miles, and hence the speed was in the region of 45 miles an hour. During the crossing he flew at an altitude of 150 ft. to 300 ft., and thus kept much nearer the water than Mr. Latham did on his attempt.

Flight: First Aero Weekly in the World. Vol. I, No. 31, 31July 1909, at Page 458, Column 2.

Louis Blériot with his Type XI monoplane at mid-Channel, 25 July 1909. (Library of Congress)

This was the first time an airplane had been flown across the English Channel, and brought Blériot international acclaim. He was appointed Chevalier de la légion d’honneur, by France. A London newspaper, the Daily Mail, awarded him a £1,000 prize.

Very quickly, orders for his Type XI were coming in. Between 1909 and 1914, approximately 900 were sold.

Louis Bleriot’s Channel-crossing Type XI monoplane was donated to the Musée des arts et métiers in Paris by the newspaper Le Matin, in October 1909. It remains in the museum’s permanent collection.

Louis Charles Joseph Blériot and his Type XI airplane at Northfall Meadow, Dover, shortly after arriving from France at 0517 a.m, 25 July 1909. (Library of Congress)
Louis Charles Joseph Blériot, Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. (Library of Congress)

Louis Charles Joseph Blériot was born 1 July 1872 at Cambrai, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, France. He was the son of Louis Charles Pierre Alexander Blériot and Clémence Marie Eugenie Candeliez Blériot. In 1882 Blériot was sent to l’Institution Notre-Dame de Grâce, a boarding school in Cambrai, and then, to a high school in northern France. He next studied at the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris. After a year there, he transferred to the École Centrale Paris, at Châtenay-Malabry, in southwest Paris.

In 1895–1896, Blériot served as a sous-lieutenant assigned to the 24ᵉ régiment d’artillerie (24th Regiment of Artillery) at Tarbes in the Pyrenees mountains, which divide France from Spain.

Blériot next worked as an electrical engineer and in 1896, he invented acetylene headlamps for use on automobiles. Blériot gained an interest in aviation after attending l’Exposition de Paris 1900. The income from his lamp manufacturing allowed him to conduct serious aeronautical experiments.

In 1901, Blériot married Mlle. Jeanne Alicia Védere (the marriage banns were published 2 February 1901). They would have six children, born between 1902 and 1929.

Mme. Blériot (née Jeanne Alicia Vedére) and M. Louis Charles Joseph Blériot at the House of Commons, Westminster, United Kingdom, 15 September 1909. (National Portrait Gallery, London)

Over the next few years, worked with several other pioneers of aviation, including Ernest rchdeacon,  Léon Levavasseur, Gabriel Voison, Eventually, he started his own aeronautical research and aircraft manufacturing company, Recherches Aéronautique Louis Blériot. In 1913, he bought the aircraft manufacturing company that would become Société Pour L’Aviation et ses Dérivés, designers and builders of the legendary fighter of World War I, the SPAD S.XIII C.1. His businesses in France and England manufactured airplanes, automobiles and motorcycles.

In 1930, Blériot established the Blériot Trophy, to be awarded to an aviator who demonstrated flight at a speed of 2,000 kilometers per hour (1,242.742 miles per hour) for 30 minutes. 31 years later, 10 May 1961, the three-man crew of a Convair B-58A Hustler named The Firefly accomplished that feat.

Louis Charles Joseph Blériot died 2 August 1936, in Paris. He was buried at the Cimitière des Gonards, Versailles, Île-de France, France.

Louis Bleriot flew this airplane across the English Channel 25 July 1909. It was donated to the Musée des arts et métiers by the French newspaper, Le Matin, in October 1909. (Musée des arts et métiers)

The Blériot XI was a single-seat, single-engine monoplane. It was 26.24 feet (7.998 meters) long with a wingspan of 25.35 feet (7.727 meters) and height to the top of the cabane strut of 8.0 feet (2.438 meters). It had an empty weight of 507 pounds (229.9 kilograms). (Sources give conflicting specifications for the Blériot XI, probably because they were often changed in an effort to improve the airplane. The model flown across the English Channel was described by Flight as the Blériot Short-Span Monoplane. Dimensions given here are from the three-view drawings, below.)

In its original configuration, the Type XI was powered by an air-cooled, 3.774 liter (230.273 cubic inches) Robert Esnault-Pelterie (R.E.P.) two-row, seven-cylinder fan engine (or “semi-radial”), which produced 30 horsepower at 1,500 r.p.m.,  and drove a four-bladed paddle-type propeller. The R.E.P. engine weighed 54 kilograms (119 pounds). This engine was unreliable and was soon replaced by an Alessandro Anzani & Co. W-3.

The Anzani W-3 was an air-cooled, naturally-aspirated, 3.377 liter (206.078 cubic inch) 60° (some sources state 55°) three-cylinder “fan”-type radial engine (or W-3). It was a direct-drive, right-hand-tractor engine which produced 25 horsepower at 1,600 r.p.m. The W-3 was 0.300 meters (11.811 inches) long, 0.386 meters (15.197 inches) high, and 0.694 meters (2 feet, 3.323 inches) wide. The engine weighed 65 kilograms (143 pounds). The engine turned a highly-efficient Hélice Intégrale Chauvière two-bladed, fixed-pitch, propeller which had a diameter of 6 feet, 8 inches (2.032 meters). The Anzani W-3 cost 3,000 French francs in 1909.

The Blériot XI had a maximum speed of 47 miles per hour (76 kilometers per hour) and the service ceiling was approximately 1,000 meters (3,281 feet).

A description of the Blériot Type XI appeared in Vehicles of the Air, by Victor Loughead,² Second Edition, The Reilly and Britton Co., Chicago, 1910, Figure 197, between Pages 406 and 407:

Blériot Type XI, front view.

Blériot Type XI, side view.
Blériot Type XI, top view.

¹ The village was renamed Sangatte-Blériot-Plage in 1936.

² Victor Loughead was the older brother of Allan and Malcolm Loughead, founders of the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company of Santa Barbara, California, better known today as the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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