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Guest Adrian Wainer

France charges 5 with manslaughter for Concorde crash

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Typical... Not one mention or accountability of the Airport authorities who have ultimate responsiblity for the safety of runways, taxiways and parking areas. Of course not... To do so would remove any opportunity to stick it to a U.S. carrier - Continental. I don't blame them for being outraged.

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This is all kinda of scary......what if I put a screw in wrong on a PC i fix then 2 years later someone buys this used pc and ships it to his cousin in Yugoslavia who then gets shocked when plugging it in.....I get convicted in Yugoslavia .... so they come to the USA and drag me out of my house....All to scary.....

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I don't see any political bias entering into their actions. They had a go at aerospatiale (the manufacturer) as well and also the Aviation Authority.Whilst airport authorities may be responsible for the saftey of runways I don't see it that this extends to the inpection/sweeping of runways prior to every departure/landing.If the debris on the runway was off a Continental aircraft and it was this debris that started the chain of events that lead to the crash then surely Continental must carry liability.If a truck loses its load on the highway and a following car crashes into the deposited load then who is to blame? To me it's that simple.Roger

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RodgerI agree with you on that go after the "entity" (continental) not Joe Dirt the overworked under paid mechanic.:)

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>> I don't see any political bias entering into their actions.The problem is not the political bias - the problem is "criminalization" in France of many aircraft accidents. No one in the world does it. This is some sort of specialty of French legal system. There were many editorials on this subject for example in AW&ST. The A320's famous crash at Strasbourg has been litigated for over 15 years and some criminal sentences were issued also none were warranted. This is nuts. The French legal system is not set up for the modern world. Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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>Rodger>>>I agree with you on that go after the "entity" (continental)>not Joe Dirt the overworked under paid mechanic.>>>:)>While I agree I wouldn't go after the individual mechanic, I don't have a problem with them going after the person or persons that have suggested, ordered and approved the installation of a non standard item to an aircraft, especially in a location (Like the exterior) that could compromise safety, just to keep the bird flying. We're hearing things everyday it seems like how the airlines are not properly inspecting aircraft, or cutting corners on maintenance to keep up with their schedules. Sooner or later these things will comeback to bite them in the rearend! That day it was Continentals turn. If it was a standard industry approved repair and it still happened, then I would say they have no case. If it was though a make shift non standard repair, as suggested, then the people who suggested, ordered it and approved it must be held accountable.

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The world, at least in western Europe is changing and oddly enough French law may be lewading that change. There is increasing pressure for action to be taken after serious fatal accidents. In the UK, rail companies have been fined upto

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The facts are that it isn't only Continental staff who are being prosecuted."The two Continental employees, both U.S. citizens, are John Taylor, a mechanic who allegedly fitted the non-standard strip, and the airline's chief of maintenance Stanley FordFormer Concorde officials Henri Perrier, 79, and Jacques Herubel, 73, are accused of knowing about problems with the jets and failing to detect and fix them.Claude Frantzen, 71, director of technical services at the civil aviation authority DGAC from 1970 to 1994, was also ordered to stand trial."Do you expect the runways, taxiways and parking areas to be inspected after every aircraft has used them?

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"Do you expect the runways, taxiways and parking areas to be inspected after every aircraft has used them?"Of course not. I threw that in there to point out the fact that the French legal system is selective and not inclusive. If there were equal distribution of blame in this, then the airport itself must be held liable too. My personal opinion is that the airport cannot be held liable for not observing a small metal object on the runway prior to releasing an aircraft to takeoff. However, if the French legal system were fair, that airport authority would also be included in the legal action. They are not; that is selective to me.

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The French are prosecuting employees of the airline, of the manufacturer of Concorde, and of the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) which is part of the Ministry of Transport. That's not being selective to me. Also, having ruled out inspections after every aircraft, what actions do you suggest the airport should have taken to detect a small object on the runway? Do you have any evidence that the airport would be held liable in any other country - say the USA?

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Did you really read my post? Did you read the ages of those that are being prosecuted, and when they retired, including those of the aviation authority? Go back and re-read my post that you are reacting to.

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I can see Tom's point, but at the same time I don't see this as a manifestation of any anti-US sub-text inherent in the French legal system.I just hope this episode doesn't escalate into another "Freedom Fries" campaign... I'm still reeling from the embarrassment over that one, and I'm not even an American.Cheers,Bryan

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To me, the ONLY one who should be on trial here is the maker of the Concord. According to the article, they knew about the weakness and of the potential threat to the tanks being damaged by objects, and they did NOTHING about it. Don

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,4052354-105091,00.htmlThe Concord had a known major defect, plane and simple. If they're going to go after Continental like this, they may as well go after the mothers of the mechanic who worked on the plane and of the pilots that flew the plane for having birthed those people. That would be the logical end to the French logic.

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I did read your post and was aware of the ages of the others involved but I don't see the relevance. The negligent acts of which they are accused occured before they retired. Are you saying that retirement should absolve them from any responsibility for their acts?The airline employees are accused of fitting a non-standard part, presumably in defiance of company procedures. It is alleged that the part fell of and was responsible for the deaths of 113 people. Why should they not face charges which the court will decide are proven or not?

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>I did read your post and was aware of the ages of the others>involved but I don't see the relevance. The negligent acts of>which they are accused occured before they retired. Are you>saying that retirement should absolve them from any>responsibility for their acts?It is up to the FAA or Continental to charge them if they violated some US laws. It is simple as that. Their only offense would be fitting the wrong part and not causing the crash of Concorde. Any other airliner would go over this part and would not cause any crash only Concorde was abnormally sensitive to pieces of its own rubber/tires. Such very dangerous tire blow-ups occurred before with Concorde and nobody bothered to fix the problem. Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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>>I did read your post and was aware of the ages of the>others>>involved but I don't see the relevance. The negligent acts>of>>which they are accused occured before they retired. Are you>>saying that retirement should absolve them from any>>responsibility for their acts?>>It is up to the FAA or Continental to charge them if they>violated some US laws. It is simple as that. Their only>offense would be fitting the wrong part and not causing the>crash of Concorde. Any other airliner would go over this part>and would not cause any crash only Concorde was abnormally>sensitive to pieces of its own rubber/tires. Such very>dangerous tire blow-ups occurred before with Concorde and>nobody bothered to fix the problem. >>Michael J.>http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpgWrong, they were in France when this happened, therefore they have jurisdiction, and as such it doesn't matter if they broke a US law or not, it matters whether they broke a French law. Same as if you were in a foreign country on vacation and you broke one of their laws. Had the peice not fall off the tire wouldn't have blown, and therefore is the event that begun the chain reaction leading to the crash, which makes them liable if negligence was involved. making a non industry standard repair, indicates there may have been.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of blame culture !!!Im sure most of us have had to "endure a saftey inductuction" of some sort where we are told the obvious and then have to sign to say we understand 'said obvious'.It was a terrible loss the day Concorde crashed and nobody, i think would deny that, but to try to blame 'Joe' mechanic is strecthing a point .If we want to go backwards to appoint blame then STAND up Wright bros,we got some questions for you!!If there is one thing I,ve learn't over the years then hindsight is 20/20 vision.I just find it hard to believe that anyone could forsee and ignore all the tragic events that led to that terrible day .Just my thoughtsMark

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Speaking as a Licensed Aircraft maintenance engineer this thread is one of the most interesting I've seen. For once we are not talking about someone with four bars on his shoulder being responsible for an accident. Whenever I signed and put my licence number as a certification then I was assumimg total responsibility for the adherence to the requirements of the aviation authority. (they are the entity who issue the licence) If a non standard part or part with unknown history is fitted then the certifying engineer takes full responsibility!!! You can't pass the buck and say my boss told me to fit it. That is a total abrogation of responsibility. Every licensed engineer knows or should know that.I'm not "au fait" with the details of this case but the CERTIFYING mechanic is the legally responsible person. If the mechanic who actually fitted the part is unlicensed then he carries no responsibility. The mechanic who certifies the fitting of the part is legally responsible. I'm not sure that I agree about poor underpaid engineers. I'm now retired but I made a comfortable living in my time as a LAME with QANTAS and as an expatriate with SIA.Currently a LAME with QANTAS would be earning apprx. $100,000 to $120,000 per year depending on licences and shift allowances. They are paid good money and for good reason -it's a very responsible job. All the above said, so far in Australia - to the best of my knowledge, no LAME has ever faced manslaughter charges (dispite being legally open to such a possibility ). There's really not much point - other than vindictive retribution. But in this case it is the French state that is intent on making individuals face manslaughter charges.Roger

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Well said! While I think a charge of manslaughter is a bit over the top, as there was obviously no criminal intent, I think a charge of culpable negligence would have been more appropriate, if they are charged at all. As I said, I would as you said only target the person or persons who approved and certified the repair. If that person was the mechanic that installed the piece then so be it. It will be interesting to see if the US agrees to extradite them to France to stand trial.

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>It will be interesting to see if the US agrees to extradite>them to France to stand trial. No US won't extradite them. Extradition works only when both countries involve recognize the action of the subject as a crime. The US doesn't recognize this as a crime, doesn't see the mechanics guilty of "criminal negligence". If they show up in French court it will be by their own choice.Some people here seem unable to grasp difference between criminal and civil proceedings. Aviation accidents are routinely handled by civil courts, very, very few accident end up going through criminal channels. Very rarely negligence is raised to "criminal" level. Some believe that the more people die, the more fiery crash the more negligence there is but unfortunately things don't work this way in aircraft accidents.Michael J.http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/9320/apollo17vf7.jpg

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The deaths occured in France so the French have jurisdiction. The US recently charged and convicted two UK bankers for fraud in relation to the Enron collapse. Their actual faudulent activities occured entirely in the UK but the actual fraud occured in the US. This shows that if wrongful activity occurs in one country but the effects occur in another country, then both can have jurisdiction. In the case of the bankers, the UK declined to charge them because all the facts and evidence were in the US.

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