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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 6th Jul 2006, 09:56
  #2361 (permalink)  
John Purdey
Posts: n/a

Brian Dixon. I thought the question deserved a straight answer, but........

Tandem Rotor. In my case, you are right. Almost all fixed wing, nearly all at VLL, quite a lot in FJs. You are probably correct in implying that such a background inclines one towards caution, especially and particularly when operating anywhere near high ground and treacherous weather (Scotland, Norway, Italy etc). The important difference being of course that a Helo crew could slow down or even stop when faced with doubtful circumstances.

d246. It is difficult to disagree with you!!! JP
Old 6th Jul 2006, 12:09
  #2362 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Bedfordshire
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Walter K
after effectively discarding the SuperTANS at the critical time, they made a small (corrective?) steer to the right
I have to disagree with your statement. Nobody knows what control inputs were made as there was no ADR. Several hypotheses (and that is all they are) have suggested ways in which the change of course to the right might have occurred despite the crew's intention to turn to the left.
They flew into a lump of granite, end of story.
I don't believe that any of us would have pursued this case if that was all that had happened. It is the finding of Gross Negligence that we all find so offensive and which we are pursuing, with a view to having it quashed, as suggested by the HoL Select Committee.
meadowbank is offline  
Old 6th Jul 2006, 21:14
  #2363 (permalink)  
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Your all getting deeper and deeper into trivia and esoterics. They flew into a rock at high speed in fog, a wonderful example of gross negligence. End of story.
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Old 6th Jul 2006, 22:11
  #2364 (permalink)  
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A quick search shows that we appear to have picked up a troll who seems to have a gripe about a lot of pilots and an omniscient insight into the cause of a lot of (if not all) accidents.
An Teallach is offline  
Old 7th Jul 2006, 10:14
  #2365 (permalink)  
Just a numbered other
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I would not have flown within miles of those sinister hills in those conditions
I am more than happy to support my colleague Tandemrotor:
I hope those with military rotary experience, who contribute to this thread, even the very few who do not agree with my well known position on the issue as a whole, can agree with what I have just written
Support helicopters are flown like this day in day out. That's how they get the job done.

That is why their pilots' actions cannot be fairly judged by those who are used to flying low level with the safety blanket of the abort to MSA.

d246 How about YOU get a life and consder your posts before showing us your ignorance.
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Old 7th Jul 2006, 11:18
  #2366 (permalink)  
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d246.........please try and be a little more sensitive with your posting. How would you like to read your last post if you were a family member of one of the lost souls from that fateful day.
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Old 7th Jul 2006, 11:58
  #2367 (permalink)  
John Purdey
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Arkroyal. Of course Helo crews work wonders in very marginal operational conditions, and i would be the last to decry their superb efforts. But there was absolutely no operational urgency behind this particular flight. It was a routine transit, and the crew had no need to take any of the risks that folk like you routinely do in your helos. Agree? Regards. JP
Old 7th Jul 2006, 17:05
  #2368 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: liverpool uk
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Hi Brian.

I have had a reply from my MP Jane Kennedy today. She enclosed a copy of a letter from Adam Ingram, stating, what I suspect is the stock MoD reply to questions on the subject. I will write to her thanking her for her letter and " respectfully" suggest that she speaks to Lord Martin O'Neil on the matter.

I live in hope as always.

Kind regards and keep on going.

Air pig.
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Old 7th Jul 2006, 18:11
  #2369 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Well Kennyr, if I was one of the pax relatives I would be pretty hacked of with this continual searching for excuses for a couple of grossly incompetent pilots. I don't care what the HOL or the local Sheriff think. those of us who have been there know there are no excuses.
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Old 7th Jul 2006, 18:31
  #2370 (permalink)  
A really irritating PPRuNer
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Hi Air Pig,
many thanks for the update.

I think it is a good idea to ask if she would make contact with Lord O'Neill. He could give her the other side of the debate's position.

Thanks, as always, for your support.

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 7th Jul 2006, 23:31
  #2371 (permalink)  
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"there was absolutely no operational urgency behind this particular flight. It was a routine transit, and the crew had no need to take any of the risks that folk like you routinely do in your helos"

How sure are you of this?

d246 could you please think long and hard about your next post

all spelling mistakes are "df" alcohol induced
Always_broken_in_wilts is offline  
Old 8th Jul 2006, 01:54
  #2372 (permalink)  
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If you refer to Boeings report (something like “Analysis of Available Data” by Mr Mitchel as I recall without looking it up), this turn was deduced from the last turning rate as recorded in the SuperTANS (again, as I recall off the top of my head) which was consistent with hand calculations and I would suggest that a demanded steer at that time seems far more probable than anything else suggested.
Reasonable assumption of the conditions ahead and the track taken give a simple picture of their heading to a particular point. As it has rightly been pointed out, if the flight was a routine ferry flight, pressing on closer than waypoint change (look on a chart just how close in waypoint A was) was unnecessary – perhaps some questions should be asked as to whether there was any possible extra task put on that crew – not speculation, but pointedly ask.
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 8th Jul 2006, 09:19
  #2373 (permalink)  
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Repeating Ourselves

I have watched with some dismay some of the recent posts on this forum, led by the Air Marshals’ chief apologist, degenerate into circular arguments about the cause of the accident and even totally unsubstantiated comments on the (in)competence of the pilots from people claiming to have “been there” but without any “facts” to show on what they base this assertion.

Whilst we all have opinions, and I have argued mine, under my own name, in several places in this forum there are only two facts that we know are true – the aircraft crashed and NOBODY knows why. Thus this forum, and the work of the Mull of Kintyre Group is not about finding the cause of the accident it is about removing the criminal slur of manslaughter against the pilots’ names – nothing more – nothing less. To do this, unlike the BoI with its starting presumption of “pilot error” we are obviously looking at all the issues surrounding the airworthiness (in its widest sense) of both the Chinook Mk2 fleet generally, and ZD 576 in particular, and we are finding plenty of evidence totally ignored by both the BoI and the Reviewing Officers.

You may or may not agree with the findings of the FAI and the House of Lords Select Committee, but the fact is that they remain the two most thorough investigations of this accident – certainly in my view significantly more thorough than the BoI, and they do not support the Reviewing Officers findings – indeed those who have read the HoL report, which I suggest some of the wilder contributors to this site may not have done, will see that a very distinguished committee found that the Air Marshals were turning hypotheses into facts – great for a good read like “The Da Vinci Code”, but not the basis for a criminal verdict of manslaughter, with no defence or appeal, against two pilots whose competence has never been in doubt. Have a look also at the “join” in the BoI and Stn Cdr’s comments where the first findings were rejected from above and ask yourself if this is the way the RAF should be dispensing justice in a criminal case!

However, you can put aside all of this previous work if you wish and just look at what was happening within the RAF senior management chain. As most contributors will know, in February 1995, just before making his judgement on ZD 576 the Senior Reviewing Officer circulated a hard line Directive stating how he wished flight safety to be “played” in his command – nothing wrong with this you might say and I would agree with you. However, if you wish to play the hard rules you should follow them yourself. So, for example one paragraph of this memo said:

“It follows that I wish to put this policy into practical effect by ensuring that formal disciplinary action is taken whenever, following Board of Inquiry or Unit Inquiry investigations, clear evidence emerges of unmitigated indiscipline or negligence.”

I wrote to ACM Wratten to say “given that the BoI could not find such clear evidence and neither have any of the independent inquiries since then found such evidence what additional “evidence” as opposed to personal opinions did you and AVM Day have on which to base your verdict? On what basis did you decide that this “evidence” passed the “no doubt whatsoever requirements of AP 3207”? This is particularly relevant given that your BoI review includes the statement: “Without the irrefutable evidence which is provided by an ADR and a CVR there is inevitably a degree of speculation as to the precise detail of the sequence of events in the minutes and seconds immediately prior to impact.” How does this statement meet the requirements of either AP 3207 or your own Directive?”

Another paragraph of the Directive stated:

“This will of course in no way undermine the certainty for those affected of a fair and unbiased hearing with all the safeguards entailed in the legal process.”

I asked ACM Wratten “how was this “requirement” met in the period when the Reviewing Officers were making their decision? Where were the safeguards? What was the legal process? We [the Mull of Kintyre Group] do not believe that any of this occurred, but we will be happy to be corrected. Certainly whatever this process was has not stood up to the independent reviews that have since taken place of it. It would be interesting to know what advice you may have sought regarding the meaning of "Gross Negligence", but given that Air Force Law has to "mirror" the laws of England and Wales it is worth looking at what would happen in a civilian court. Gross negligence is a concept from criminal law. It is also used by various disciplinary tribunals. "Manslaughter by gross negligence" is a recognised offence. Where such a charge is brought the prosecution first has to prove negligence (ie that there was a duty of care between the defendant and the deceased and that it was breached) and secondly that the defendant's conduct was "so grossly negligent or reckless so as be properly branded criminal" (R v Devine [1999]). In each case this is a question for the jury on which they bring their common sense to bear. There is no general definition of what is and what is not capable of constituting gross negligence used in such cases. It will not escape your attention that in this case there was no defence and no jury (except yourself and AVM Day), albeit it could be argued that all of the independent inquiries since then could be seen as representing a jury, and they have shown clearly that they would not have found "Gross Negligence".”

Needless to say I neither received a reply nor was my offer to meet for a discussion taken up, and I see this as further evidence that the last thing MOD wants is to open the door for a debate on the justice of this perverse verdict – perhaps because of what else may emerge when the lid comes off Pandora’s Box. If you want to see just how perverse this verdict is have a look at the same Reviewing Officers’ comments on the Glen Ogle Tornado crash of September 1994 made within two weeks of finding the Chinook pilots “guilty” of manslaughter.

Thus I suggest to you, as I did to ACM Wratten, that the intransigence shown by MOD has done far more to raise questions of honour and integrity, and even links to conspiracy theories, than anything that those seeking to correct the injustice could ever do.

John Blakeley is offline  
Old 8th Jul 2006, 11:15
  #2374 (permalink)  
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Well d246, if I was one of the crews relatives I would be pretty hacked of with this continual searching for excuses to shaft a couple of first class blokes and pilots. It works both ways and your attitude is pretty poor, you should remember that both pax AND crew were good people, with families.
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Old 8th Jul 2006, 13:43
  #2375 (permalink)  
vincit veritas
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Thank you, Sir, for bringing this forum back into sharp focus.
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Old 8th Jul 2006, 14:59
  #2376 (permalink)  
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Well said John B. Your letter to AVM Wratten, from which you quote, also makes some excellent points. May I suggest that you send him another copy with a polite covering letter explaining that you are doing this because you have not received a reply to the original copy, which may have gone astray in the post? If you still don't get a reply, perhaps a new copy, sent every couple of weeks, will eventually persuade him that a reply is necessary.

I, for one, would be happy to send a letter or two of my own if you could PM me his address.
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Old 8th Jul 2006, 18:02
  #2377 (permalink)  
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Meadowbank PM

Have tried to e-mail you a response - its more complicated than the straight reply you might wish - but ran into the character limit on PPRuNe. Will try again tomorrow when I have more time or you can PM me a private e-mail address without the problem - it will be kept confidential!

Last edited by John Blakeley; 8th Jul 2006 at 18:03. Reason: Spelling!
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Old 9th Jul 2006, 12:07
  #2378 (permalink)  
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John Blakely,

Re your Post #2387.

Quote "Have a look at the "join" in the BOI Stn Cdrs comments where the first findings were rejected from above and ask yourself if this is the way the RAF should be dispensing justice in a criminal case."

As you will be aware there were in fact 5 "Reviewing Officers" in this case. The first of whom ,OC RAF Aldergrove, confined himself to commenting on aspects which related to his Station.

OC RAF Odiham concluded his comments by stating that the Captain of the aircraft had a "Duty of Care" to the Passengers and that he reluctantly concluded that the Captain had failed in that "Duty". That is your definition of "Gross Negligence" which was the finding of the AOC and CinC.

The AOC concluded that the Co-Pilot, as the incoming Detatchment Commander, had a duty to persuade the Captain of the Aircraft from following the course of action which resulted in the crash. There was another crew available who were rested and fed and had no "Crew Duty" limitations which could affect their decision making. He therfore concluded that the Co-Pilot was also guilty of negligence.

Uniquely in my experience the BOI was then "Staffed" at MOD level and reviewed by CAS before publication. No change was made to the findings. Therefore the findings were essentially the same at every level from Stn Cdr to CAS and not confined to a cabal of AOC and C in C.

Rather than a "Rush to Judgement" the process took so long that Publication was further delayed to avoid coinciding with the anniversary of the Crash.
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Old 9th Jul 2006, 21:35
  #2379 (permalink)  
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Where to Begin


I disagree with so much in your last post that it is difficult to know where to begin! So a few thoughts, not necessarily in any order of priority:

That there was a duty of care failure seems to be beyond doubt, but where this occurred is subject to significant doubt – you obviously like the hypotheses turned into facts approach of the Senior Reviewing Officers – who you now say numbered three and not two.

The join in the both the BoI and Stn Cdr Odiham’s comments is very obvious and shows a clearly imposed change of direction. I know this can happen very easily – it did to a BoI where I was the junior member on a Buccaneer crash – we started again with all new people except for myself when the AOC did not like the first verdict! What is clear, unless you accept hypotheses as facts, is that there has to be doubt – read the first four paragraphs of the Stn Cdr’s comments to see his doubts – read the Senior Reviewing Officers own doubts – doubts ignored when it came to the verdict. If there is doubt then the three Senior Reviewing Officers would appear to have joined together to deliberately ignore the “rules” in AP3207. It was at this level and not the BoI or the Stn Cdrs that the Gross Negligence decision was made – a decision that to this day leaves two pilots’ families with a criminal slur against their sons/husbands/fathers names. If you are happy that justice can be dispensed in this way with no defence and no appeal then there is little that I can say here to change your mind. However, given that this verdict could not happen today and the findings of the FAI and HoL amongst others, are against MOD I can only assume that they (whoever they are in Main Building) are content to apply the same ethical standards to this case as they do to families appealing against shell shocked victims of WW1 being found guilty of cowardice and shot as deserters!

The fact that (by direction?) the Stn Cdr Odiham reluctantly accepts that the pilots failed to exercise their duty of care may, if it were to be true (but we will never know) be negligence, but it is not automatically gross negligence. Read my post on how a gross negligence verdict may be arrived at and the criminal implications of manslaughter, and tell me how this equates to three senior RAF officers in the command chain coming to a verdict with no defence of the accused and no appeal. Read the excellent Juridical Review Part 6 of 2001 for a totally independent view of the shortcomings of RAF justice in this case.

You have been very selective in your response – what is your view on the conclusions that the two reviewing officers (I assume without CAS this time, but you may know differently) came to on the Glen Ogle accident. Here, thanks to a fully functioning ADR and CVR the BoI could show conclusively that the actions of the pilot (for whatever reason) led to the loss of the aircraft and the death of his navigator – what price the duty of care here. One of the reviewing officers actually commented “Regardless of the circumstances of this particular accident, I agree that [the pilot] should be absolved from blame.” A fairly inconsistent approach to the dispensing of justice when compared to the Chinook I suggest.

Why have you, by implication at least, introduced the red herring of crew duty time – this was not a factor in the accident as you well know.

Why were the obvious airworthiness issues of the Chinook fleet, and ZD 576, and the flight safety critical defects being suffered at the time virtually ignored by the BoI and totally ignored by the senior reviewing officers – where was the full examination of the evidence that was available by the review procedure – I have never seen such a biased outcome as this – I believe its called situating the appreciation! Add to this Boscombe’s concerns, which contrary to MOD statements later were not just with their own trials but also with the defects being experienced on the in-service fleet, with the latter being the stated reason for trials stopping, and you have to wonder why none of this was drawn to the BoI’s attention or commented on by the Review process,

Yes I was aware of the limitations of the Stn Cdr Aldergrove’s comments. He is the only one to comment on the illegal maintenance practices of the detachment wrt ZD 576, but then he accepts them with no idea of their potential implications.

You are correct that the verdict did not change in the Review Process (but it was different to the BoI itself) and that is because the three senior reviewing officers agreed the verdict between them with the two in the procedural chain actually brining it in. Neither Stn Cdr mentions Gross Negligence. I cannot say more for the moment, but the Mull Group has absolute proof of this, and as you were clearly in the thick of things at the time (IFS?) you will probably know to which very senior level correspondence I am referring!

As I recall the AOC’s comments were dated Apr 95 well before the anniversary of the crash – are you saying that the BoI was then delayed beyond June 1995?

I could go on, but I do not believe you will be convinced – as a simple engineer though I am amazed at how many pilots seem to be content that criminal (in) justice could be dispensed in this manner.

John Blakeley is offline  
Old 9th Jul 2006, 22:31
  #2380 (permalink)  
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John Blakeley

Thank you for your impeccable contributions to this case. Very many people are deeply grateful.

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