16 July 2002

Engine trouble forces Concorde to turn back over the Atlantic

By Paul Peachey

The pilot of a British Airways Concorde shut down one of its engines and returned to Britain yesterday after a mechanical problem while flying at 1,300mph over the Atlantic.

The Concorde, carrying 59 passengers and crew, had a surge of power through one of its four engines at 58,000ft half-way through the three-and-a-half hour journey to New York's JFK Airport. Flight 001 landed safely at Heathrow after flying in at subsonic speed on three
engines. BA said the problem was unrelated to the problems that led to the Air France Concorde disaster in Paris two years ago in which more than 100 passengers and crew were killed.

A spokesman for BA said the captain followed standard procedure by shutting the engine off and turning the aeroplane round to return to Britain.

Passengers would have felt a jolt as the problem developed. "The problem engine surged, there was too much power going through that engine, number three engine, so you don't fly in a straight line," he said. "The aeroplane did not veer off course, but the captain felt the surge in power and decided to shut it down and turn around."

BA has seven Concordes but only four are currently in service. One is being modified, one is due to be modified and another is out of service. The modifications are being made to the planes' fuel lines and tanks following recommendations after the Paris crash. Concorde
returned to service in November after being grounded for investigations following the crash.

Chris Yates, Aviation Editor for Jane's Defence, said: "Engine failure is fairly uncommon. It does happen several times a year across the civil aviation fleet."