The Concorde was a feat of aeronautical engineering and aviation luxury; for nearly three decades, it flew passengers across the Atlantic in just three hours, travelling twice the speed of sound. However, on July 25th 2000, Air France Flight 4590 crashed shortly after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, killing all 109 people on board as well as four people in a nearby hotel. The accident raised many questions: What went wrong? What design and operational oversights led to the disaster?
In the aftermath of this tragedy, experts began to investigate the cause of the crash. It was determined that a piece of titanium which had fallen off another aircraft during take-off had pierced one of the Concorde’s tyres. This puncture caused fuel to leak from the wing fuel tanks, which then ignited due to exposed electrical wiring. The subsequent fire drastically reduced thrust and lift on one wing, making it impossible for pilots to control and leading to a crash into nearby Hôtelissimo Les Relais Bleus Hotel.
The crash sparked public outrage and prompted extensive reforms regarding aircraft design and maintenance protocols. As an example of how far airline safety has come since that fateful day in 2000, no commercial jetliner has been involved in an accident resulting in passenger fatalities since then.
This dramatic event is explored further in “Supersonic Disaster: The Story Behind Air France Flight 4590,” an expertly crafted documentary by National Geographic that uses archival footage and interviews with survivors to provide a comprehensive overview of this pivotal