The working group of French and British experts formed after last years Paris crash to help get Concorde back into the air have been monitoring tests on the Concorde supersonic airliner and have said results are positive but it is too early to say when it can go back into service.
"The group considers that work is progressing satisfactorily although it is slightly behind the original schedule," the experts said after a one of the regular meetings held recently in Paris to discuss the findings of crash investigations carried out so far.
The group said tests on a new tyre designed by French tyre-maker Michelin were positive but that more work was needed on the plane's fuel tanks, which have been modified.
The flight and ground tests on a British Airways Concorde equipped with a flexible internal fuel tank liner made of `Kevlar, intended to limit the possible fuel leakages, had still still not carried out, whereas they were envisaged to start last March. The installation of this internal coating proved more complex than though at the beginning. " The modification of the tanks is almost carried out ", the group have stated and that " tests will be able to take place in the weeks to come ".
The working group must still check the fire hazard likely to occur in the event of residual leaks coming from a tank equipped with the flexible liners. " the manufacturers committed themselves making the main efforts to finish the tests and to promptly provide their analyses to the authorities ", specifies the DGAC.
On the other hand, the tests on the new Michelin tires are almost completed and the " results are very positive ", according to the official statement. The day before the group meeting, Michelin had officially presented its new product. Baptized NZG for " Near Zero Growth ", and has been retained by one of the manufacturers of Concorde, European group, EADS.
Representatives from Air France and British Airways, the only two airlines that operated Concordes, said work should progress quickly but insisted security would take priority over an early relaunch of the aircraft. "The companies are ready to modify their planes and to resume training their personnel as soon as possible," the group said. The group is made up of transport and civil aviation officials from France and Britain. Their next meeting is due to be held on July 23.
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