LONDON (July 20)—British Airways has tested its re-engineered Concorde supersonic transport successfully, proclaiming the new aramid fiber-elastomer-reinforced fuel tanks did not affect operating performance. British Airways hopes to be able to put its fleet of Concordes back in service later this year, pending approvals by the appropriate European government authorities. The Concorde—operated by BA and Air France—was grounded last year after an Air France Concorde crashed after fragments of a blown tire punctured a fuel tank and the aircraft caught fire. During the three hour, 40 minute flight, engineers checked that the liners—made of woven aramid fiber impregnated with Viton high temperature synthetic fluoroelastomer—did not stop the fuel from cooling Concorde's skin. The aircraft skin usually reaches temperature of up to 100°C due to friction at supersonic speeds. The fuel tank liners are made by French aerospace supplier AerAzur—a Groupe Zodiac company—are based on designs used in Formula 1 racing cars, and in some military aircraft. BA also outfitted the text Concorde with Group Michelin's "Near Zero Growth" radial tires.
Bristish Airways Concorde test successful; fleet expected to be airborne this year
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