View Full Version : Munich Air Disaster - 1958

Tartan Giant
20th Oct 2004, 12:46

It is such a pity rotten politics buried the truth - as is the case today with this rotten government.

'They' displace islanders from Diego Garcia and lie about the reason, only to be found out via the High Court, yet Blair rushes to the Queen and slides in an Order in Council.

Now we have another load of toads that hid the truth about the Munich Air crash of 1958, so that German political feelings would be spared!

I hope those creeps in government hang their head in shame.


Diego Garcia

[url]http://www.unpo.org/news_detail.php?arg=02&par=953 (http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/story.jsp?story=573907[/URL)
To make matters worse the UK Government has lately found it necessary to pass a further legislation on the 10th June 2004 to interdict us a new access to the Chagos despite the 3rd November High Court ruling. This time they went by an Order in Council, thereby bypassing even the UK Parliament for that purpose.

Munich crash pilot was denied justice to spare German feelings
By Cahal Milmo
20 October 2004

Civil servants scuppered attempts to hold a fresh inquiry into the 1958 Munich air disaster despite agreeing it would clear the pilot blamed for the crash that killed eight members of the Manchester United team.

Documents at the National Archives in Kew, west London, show they believed co-pilot Captain James Thain was correct in claiming that slush on the runway, rather than his negligence in failing to check the wings of the BEA Ambassador for ice, was the main cause of the tragedy.

But an attempt by supporters of the pilot, including his union, to clear his name in 1967 with a British investigation into new evidence failed after officials, including the ambassador to Bonn, warned that such a move would cause a damaging diplomatic row with Germany. Board of Trade papers show that Harold Wilson, then prime minister, believed Captain Thain was likely to be innocent. A memo shows Mr Wilson said the pilot "has been unjustly treated since that day".

The aircraft was carrying the Busby Babes, named after their manager Sir Matt Busby, back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade. They had been widely expected to conquer all in European and domestic competition that year.

The initial German investigation decided frozen snow on the propeller and wings was the "decisive cause". The flight, G-ALZU, had landed at Riem for a two-hour refuelling on a bitterly cold February night. The aircraft made two attempts to take off and both pilots noticed pressure in the engines had exceeded safety limits. On the third attempt, the plane drastically slowed on the final third of the runway. Captain Gordon Rayment, was heard to say, "We won't make it", then they ploughed through the perimeter fence and collided with a house, bursting into flames.

The disaster claimed 23 lives, including Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor, among several England players tipped for World Cup success that year.

The German investigation heaped opprobrium on Captain Thain and claimed he had not inspected the wings for ice. A British investigation in 1960 decided he "ought to have checked the wings for ice but did not". Later, tests by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in Hampshire found that the cause of the crash was nearly an inch of slush on the final third of the runway which caused G-ALZU to slow from a take-off speed to 117 knots to a fatal 105 knots.

20th Oct 2004, 13:08
I distinctly recall reading an 'eyewitness' account from United 'keeper Harry? Gregg, (who occupied an aft window seat on the accident flight) that he watched snow blowing backward off the wings in the propwash. It was recounted in a book by the title "There's only one United". As to the degree of snow?? who knows, but "any snow is no go". Shame to be dragging this up after all these years though, best in this case I feel to let be.


Tartan Giant
20th Oct 2004, 13:20
Dan Air 1-11,

Whilst it is best to leave some things alone, when a newspaper uncovers vital evidence that could have cleared Capt Thain's name far, far quicker than the long drawn out process that eventualy did, then I believe the Press did the right thing.

It sends a message to those in politics, don't suppress the truth under any circumstances. Mr BLIAR does not see it that way, Iraq spells it out via WMD and his 45 minutes crap.


PS: Pse read your PM's

surely not
20th Oct 2004, 14:38
How on earth do you get a pop at Blair onto this thread!!!!
Conservative Govt in 1958 I think (not that I remember!)

Different attitudes of that period of time are bound to surface so many years later.

Tartan Giant
20th Oct 2004, 15:51
Surely Not
How on earth do you get a pop at Blair onto this thread!!!!

I will take a pop at BLIAR at any appropriate opportunity.

The link is LABOUR cover-ups.

Board of Trade papers show that Harold Wilson, then prime minister, believed Captain Thain was likely to be innocent. A memo shows Mr Wilson said the pilot "has been unjustly treated since that day".

The guy in the raincoat (HW) was LABOUR and now we have the 2004 version - a stranger to the truth to boot!

Different attitudes over any period of time we can cope with - liars, I suggest, we can't.


20th Oct 2004, 16:04
Note the dates here, the disaster was in 1958, I remember Duncan Edward's death some weeks later, when there was indeed a Conservative goverment.

The inquiry was 1967, when the prime minister was Harold Wilson in his first term under Labour.

21st Oct 2004, 07:50
I seem to remember the German Inquiry refused to take evidence from three controllers (off duty I think) who watched the takeoffs, slush and all.

Mind you what would they know about aviation, better the evidence from an expert behind his mahogany desk!!!???

Will try and find the book and quote versa and chapter!

21st Oct 2004, 18:47
Not with standing the German report I was of the understanding that Captain Thain's accident was the start of 'recognizing'SLUSH', as the drag factor it is,by Performance certification authorities .......:ok:

Tartan Giant
21st Oct 2004, 22:16

I was of the understanding that Captain Thain's accident was the start of 'recognizing'SLUSH', as the drag factor it is,by Performance certification authorities

You are not wrong! Spot on.
In 1961 the FAA and NASA started looking at the problem and used a Convair 880 at Atlantic City, but the crushed ice they laid down was not giving them useable data - the aircraft more or less bulldozed through the crushed ice; and the ice obviously did not have the SG of slush, so things were left in limbo and nothing concrete came to operators for years.

In Nov 1963 Dan Air Services Ltd were asked to participate in "slush tests" at the RAE Bedford.
It was Captain Arthur Larkman and crew who carried out the tests, using an Ambassador (G-ALZN).
They had to eventualy use water on the runway, as the crushed ice and ambient temperatures did not produce slush!
Getting the SG near to slush proved too elusive, so good old plain water was used, and a correction made to the data obtained.
Special water troughs were made for each MLG and NLG along a length of the runway, and the crew aimed their machine through this man-made 'slush barrier' whilst the cameras rolled and the measurements were taken.

Tests were finalised in early December and with Dan Air's unique contribution and the "boffins" working on the figures, it soon became known there was now definitive information for all aircraft operating from slush covered/contaminated runways.

Nine times the square root of Pee and all that for starters !!!



ou Trek dronkie
22nd Oct 2004, 18:40

Yes, it was Harry Gregg. He was #1 keeper at the time.

Oldebloke and Tartan Giant

Yes, indeed it was this nasty crash which produced the slush (snow ? I forget) guidelines. So sad, isn't it, that people must die so we can learn what not to do.

Thain made repeated attempts to take off, without the benefit of this knowledge which everyone has now.

I have a book on the crash somewhere in which the author goes all out to clear Thain of any blame. Doubtful perhaps.

The outstanding feature of the book to my mind, was the incompetence of the German investigations, with their determination to cover up. Woodpecker is also spot on.

Mind you, it is hardly unusual for a national authority to try and cover up wrongdoing which leads to a crash. SOP I would have thought in many countries.

Of course, it was a long time ago, but that was when Man U was a team REALLY worth supporting. Nowadays I support Newcastle and anyone playing Man U.