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Air France Flight 4590

Air France Flight 4590 on fire, prior to crash

Air France Flight 4590 was a Concorde flight from Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, France to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, New York.

On 25 July 2000 the flight crashed in Gonesse, France shortly after takeoff, killing all on board and four on the ground.

Concorde was the fastest airliner in the world, and was considered to be the safest, as measured by passenger-deaths per passenger-mile, until 25 July 2000.

The investigation into the crash determined that a strip of titanium metal that fell onto the runway from an earlier Continental Airlines DC-10 flight punctured one of F-BTSC's tyres in the latter stages of takeoff. Chunks of shredded tyre penetrated the skin of the aircraft's wing, rupturing a loaded fuel tank. Power was lost on engine number two, and for a brief period, engine number one. A tremendous fire rapidly ensued. The aircraft was unable to climb or accelerate, and it maintained a speed of 200kt and an altitude of 200 feet. The aircraft stalled after engine number 1 lost power again. The crew was unable to control the aircraft, which crashed into a hotel just miles from the airport. The crash killed all 9 crew and 100 passengers and 4 people on the ground.

A few days after the crash, all Concordes were grounded, pending an investigation into the cause of the crash and possible remedies. (Air France F-BVFC was allowed to return home, empty but for a skeleton crew.)

The crash would force modifications to be made to the aircraft, but just before services resumed, the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks took place, resulting in a marked drop off in custom and leading to the end of Concorde flights.