U.S. Jet Linked To Concorde Crash

The Black Eyed Peas perform at the London leg of the Live Earth concert marathon on July 7, 2007.
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New tests bolster the theory that a piece of metal believed to have sparked last year's Concorde crash came from a Continental Airlines jet, investigators said in a report released Monday.

Tests have "established a close relation between the metallic strip and the joint area on the cowl on engine 3 of the Continental Airlines DC-10," said a statement released by France's Bureau of Accident Investigation.

The report said the piece missing from this cowl — which covers part of the engine — had been changed twice, on June 11 and July 19, 2000. The Concorde crashed on July 25.

In a previous report last December, authorities said they were "quasi-certain" that the metallic piece came from a Continental jet that had taken off from the same runway as the doomed Concorde.

The Concorde, the world's only supersonic commercial aircraft, was grounded after a crash near Paris that killed 113 people. Some speculated that the needle-nosed jetliner was gone for good.

But it appears that the sleek luxury jet will rebound from the Air France crash. British Airways and Air France, the only two airlines that fly Concordes, have made modifications to their fleets and are conducting test flights.

The British carrier says it hopes to resume flying its Concordes commercially by late summer. Air France has suggested that it hopes to resume service by autumn. Each airline would initially fly one daily roundtrip to Kennedy, with British Airways eventually adding a second.

The report released Monday also said that the investigation also showed weaknesses in the aircraft's structural resistance to flames and that there was a "a rapid degradation ... of the alloy used for the majority of the aircraft's structure."

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