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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 6th Mar 2009, 09:10
  #3981 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Chugalug2. You tell us: I do not say that this accident was directly caused by the compromised airworthiness of the aircraft, because I do not know. Can you say whether or not the Chinooks are now airworhy? If they are not, then why are they flying; if they are now airworthy, then what caused the change? Regards JP
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 09:14
  #3982 (permalink)  
 
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AC,

I have read your earlier posts, and there in lies the clue. That is why I acknowledged you have written more reasoned posts than others but questioned under which of your names/titles/handles etc you had written them?

Last edited by Seldomfitforpurpose; 6th Mar 2009 at 20:43.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 10:21
  #3983 (permalink)  
 
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John Purdey:
Can you say whether or not the Chinooks are now airworhy? If they are not, then why are they flying; if they are now airworthy, then what caused the change? Regards JP
You ask 3 questions;

1. The Secretary of State is ultimately responsible for airworthiness. I cannot speak directly for the Chinook fleet, but given Des Browne agreed the Nimrod fleet was not airworthy I am sure his successor, and all MoD aircraft and equipment IPTs, are aware the regulations and much equipment are common, so it is a reasonable assumption that the Nimrod conclusions also apply to other aircraft. This was reinforced by the Hercules verdict.

2. As revealed in a number of BoI reports and subsequent inquests, it is common practice for MoD to fly aircraft that are not airworthy and/or unfit for purpose. Again, the responsibility ultimately rests with SoS, who can better answer your question.

3. If previously unairworthy aircraft are now airworthy and fit for purpose, I imagine, but cannot say for certain, that the change was brought about by a series of very successful PPRuNe campaigns; including Nimrod, Hercules and Mull. What is certain is that until these campaigns revealed the scale of MoD's neglect, they were content to ignore their duty of care in this respect.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 11:21
  #3984 (permalink)  
 
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Let us go back to basics for a moment.

Has anyone ever asked the RN Officer who planned the sortie what the intended turning point was on the Mull?

Everybody seems to assume that it was the Lighthouse and that a misplotted map reference was inserted into the SuperTans - but a Naval helicopter Pilot would be acutely aware of the potential perils when coasting in on a strange shoreline; particularly so given the topography of the Mull. Moreover, the other Flight Deck member of his crew was a Navigator who would doubtless check the planned route.

It seems to me that it is at least possible that the planned turning point was the Helicopter Landing Site so that Lt K could familiarise himself with the layout so that he would not be going in "cold" if tasked into that site.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 15:00
  #3985 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Chugalug2. You have not answered my questions, and of course I do not complain about that, but someone out there shoiuld be able to do so. Are the Chinooks airworthy or not? Any offers? Regards. Jp
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 16:12
  #3986 (permalink)  
 
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Very gracious of you JP, but the only people who can answer your question are the Airworthiness Authority, ie the MOD. Anyone else would be merely expressing an opinion. An aircraft captain when accepting an aircraft from the engineers can only confirm by studying the F700 and from his/her personal inspection of it that it is serviceable, not that it is airworthy. The Nimrod tragedy no doubt happened to a fully serviceable aircraft. The Hercules was unfit for purpose, in that it was very vulnerable to battle damage throughout the time that I flew it in blissful ignorance. Thankfully that is no longer the case, thanks in part to this forum, to the likes of Nigegilb and Flipster, and to the Coroner. Regretfully it was not thanks to the Airworthiness Authority who ignored pleas for that deficiency to be sorted out long before the terrible accident that resulted.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 19:06
  #3987 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Chugalug2. Many thanks, but we seem still not to have answers to my questions.
Would it perhaps help if one of the many experts on this forum gave us the official definitions (at that time) of Airworthy, and of Serviceable? It might clear up some of the confusion, do you not agree? Regards. JP
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 19:51
  #3988 (permalink)  
 
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Would it therefore help if we chose one of the known defects which was evident on Mk2 Chinooks at the time of the Mull accident?

Although there is no evidence that it contributed to the accident, the defect which interests me is the problem of intermittent contact in the DECU connector, caused by vibration. It particularly interests me because:

a) it is one of the few bits of relevant technology that I know anything about, and
b) it horrifies me that anyone in their right mind would fly an aeroplane when thay have to check a vital connector every 15 minutes, and
c) it was a simple problem which could easily be rectified.

One assumes that it is not current practice for a member of the crew to check this connector every 15 minutes when flying the Chinook. So, something must have been changed.

From reading the many valuable and informative posts by tucemseh, I would identify that problem as an airworthiness issue. The fact that MoD appear to have no record of corrective action seems to reinforce that. Who was it who decided that it was safe to fly as long as the connector was checked every 15 minutes? Why not 10 minutes? Without that information there is no way that the Chinook Mk2 could be considered airworthy, even today.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 20:28
  #3989 (permalink)  
 
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Chugalug 2

"Unfit for purpose"

Well, let's start with the Avro Anson as an anti submarine aircraft. The old ATC song went (IIRC) "The Ansons an aircraft that is much maligned - it hunted U-Boats in the last War you will find - but if the sub put on speed it left the Anson behind: its the pride of the ATC". In one memorable incident in June 1940 3 Ansons not only survived an attack by 9 Me 109's but succeeded in shooting down 2 and damaging another. It was an Anson of 500 Sqn that made the first attack of the war on an enemy U-Boat.

Gloster Gladiators were off loaded from FAA Carriers in the Med to make way for Fulmars (basically a Battle with forward firing machine guns) because the new doctrine was that only monoplanes stood a chance in modern warfare: but "Faith" "Hope" & "Charity" played a gallant role in the defence of Malta.

The Curtiss "Tomahawk" and "Kittyhawk" gave vital support in the Western Desert although vulnerable to enemy fighters and were not finally superseded until 1944.

It is not always the aircraft that is at fault - but the mindset of those whose duty it is to use those aircraft in the best possible way.
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 20:57
  #3990 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not suggesting that the Hercules was at fault either, caz, (just not protected with ESF by the MOD for some 40 years)
but the mindset of those whose duty it is to provide for the airworthiness of the aircraft in the best possible way.
Thanks for the phrase, I couldn't have put it better myself!
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 22:52
  #3991 (permalink)  
 
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15 minute checks

pulse,

Like you, I cannot understand how anyone could allow any aircraft to fly with a known, major, defect like that. What would happen if the connector parted 30 seconds after being checked? Loss of control, perhaps, leading to the aircraft flying into the ground, with the loss of all aboard and no evidence of the failure in the wreckage? Unbelievable that it could ever have been permitted.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 02:12
  #3992 (permalink)  
 
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The senior reviewing officers of the Chinook BOI concluded that the pilots were grossly negligent in that they continued to fly the aircraft directly towards the Mull at high speed, at low level and in deteriorating visibility thus failing to comply with their VFR minima.
This is the crux of the argument for finding the pilots negligent and the statement incenses me. After Waypoint change, how do we know that they were flying (ie in control of) the aircraft at all? The reference to 'deteriorating visibility' is designed to imply recklessness, but, in all probablity, the weather away from the oragraphic lifting effect of the Mull was entirely suitable for a Support Helicopter to transit at low(ish) altitude; indeed, it is almost irrelevant how bad the vis on the Mull was because the crew appear to have chosen not to fly to the planned turning point, as witnessed by the Waypoint Change.
True, they crashed in conditions that did not comply with their VFR minima, but I suggest that it is entirely possible that they had not chosen to be there, and were not in control of their aircraft for a period of time prior to impact.

JP asks
We really must not go round exactly the same bouys as before, but can anyone offer an alternative and credible explanation?
John, several possible explanations have been made, but you (and others, including Air Marshals Wratten & Day) disagree that they are credible. Yet, to use my favourite example quoted several times on this thread, and alluded to above, another case exists of a similar Chinook that flew in a different direction to that intended by the pilots, which was out of control for a significant period of time and which subsequently landed. Despite exhaustive engineering examination, no fault could be found in the intact airframe. It happened, (is therefore de facto credible, so why do you dismiss it even as a 'possibility'? Please discuss.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 06:57
  #3993 (permalink)  
 
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The Connector

I’m sure this has been discussed before, but a little repetition is good if it incrementally increases understanding.


If there is a single event which undermines the MoD case (at least to an engineer), it is this connector. The failure to immediately correct such a design defect is breach of duty of care amounting to gross negligence. And it is only the fact that we don’t know precisely what happened that one would stop short of gross negligence amounting to manslaughter. Now, THAT would be interesting. The MoD accused of gross negligence and having a defence of “but no-one knows what happened”. I can only dream, as that would clear the pilots at a stroke.

THAT is precisely why MoD doesn’t want to go there in a legal sense. The designer may take a hit and have to offer free rectification, which is peanuts, but in court he would have his day and the MoD’s role would emerge. And remember, this happened AFTER the repeal of the Crown Protection Act.

The procedures for dealing with such defects are the same today as they were 20 years ago. They form part of the foundations underpinning airworthiness. But;
  • In the preceding years funding to implement the procedures was slashed, dramatically; forcing those with airworthiness delegation to decide which components of airworthiness must be set aside. From personal experience, I can state categorically that this reached the stage where I had to choose which safety critical snags could be addressed and which to defer. Then, the RAF took that out of my hands by saying “no safety tasks”.
  • As there was less that could be done, the expertise was diluted and staffs given other tasks. The experience and Corporate Memory components of airworthiness eroded.
  • Within a few years, a subject crucial to maintaining airworthiness (see JSP 553 Ch. 5) was relegated to a minor task, to be ditched if something important, like organising the office party, came up. The last time I stood in front of an IPT extolling the virtues of this process, to a man (both Service and Civilian) they shouted that it was a waste of money.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:53
  #3994 (permalink)  
 
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tucumseh

"would clear the pilots at a stroke".

You forget the Air Staff Orders and Instructions with which the Pilots failed to comply that day. Negligence was present even before they departed on that fatal sortie.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 17:12
  #3995 (permalink)  
 
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THAT is precisely why MoD doesn’t want to go there in a legal sense.
Is this also why the likes of John Purdey and cazatou do not seem to want to go there either?

The DECU connector is a straightforward, unarguable example of the failure of the RAF to ensure airworthiness of the MkII Chinook. It also provides a clear, possible motive for the actions of Wratten and Day which have been the reason for this thread for far too long.

I have raised this issue before and even been chastised by PM for doing so. I am delighted that tucumseh, with his inside knowledge of the MoD has confirmed that it is a serious issue which should be addressed.

Perhaps it is time that we took a leaf out of the C130 and Nimrod books and went on the offensive against the MoD over the airworthiness issue.

Last edited by pulse1; 7th Mar 2009 at 18:03.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 17:38
  #3996 (permalink)  
 
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Caz

tucumseh

"would clear the pilots at a stroke".

You forget the Air Staff Orders and Instructions with which the Pilots failed to comply that day. Negligence was present even before they departed on that fatal sortie.
I make a point of not commenting on aircrew / airmanship issues as I know little, while plenty here do, so please forgive me for not directly answering that point.

I think you would accept that, should it be proven that MoD committed gross negligence long BEFORE that day, by breaching their duty of care by knowingly not supplying an airworthy aircraft, to use the Reviewing Officers' (and your) own argument, the gross negligence had already been committed, and the aircrew and passengers were victims.

Even if the pilots did something wrong (and I don't know if they did) then, typically, a court would deliberate on the degree each act contributed to the outcome. As I said, I don't think the MoD would want to go there, and would wish to "settle out of court".

Hope that makes sense.
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 09:42
  #3997 (permalink)  
 
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I know nothing about the tech aspects of the DECU...

However, a glider pilot friend of mine was killed when the aircraft she was flying lost its tailplane..
As a qualified parachutist, she would have stood a chance of survival had the aircraft not gone into an unrecoverable situation.

My point here ?

She was a very experienced pilot, had numerous gliding achievements under her belt, lots of hours as P1, she had carried out AF/BF checks on the aircraft all was found to be in order. The tail separated some 15-20mins into her flight.. !!

The relevance is metal fatigue/vibration can take affect when you least expect it to !!
Sadly, if this DECu was known to be faulty then the negligence in my book is with Messrs W & D, SofS, MOD PE for allowing an aircraft into service with known defects that were not corrected.

SF Crew = Scapegoats !!
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 09:58
  #3998 (permalink)  
 
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DECU Connector

For those who have not been involved with this long debate and may not know what we are talking about, this is an extract from the evidence given to the HoL enquiry by Squadron Leader Burke:

109. Squadron Leader Burke spoke to having experienced two engine run ups on the ground at the Boeing factory in Philadelphia while flying with an American Army test pilot (Q 655) and similar run ups when testing the overspeed limiter on the ground at Odiham (Q 680). He also spoke to problems with the multi-point connectors which went from the engines into the DECU. These were of bad design and liable to be displaced by vibration which then produced a power interruption. Although there was a back-up system this did not always work and on two or three occasions pilots had lost control of the engine condition lever. As a result squadrons introduced a procedure whereby crewmen every quarter of an hour checked that the connections had not been displaced in flight (QQ 677-9).
Sqdn Ldr Burke, who carried out much of the test flying on the Chinook, was not asked to give evidence at the original BoI
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 17:15
  #3999 (permalink)  
 
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So S/L Burke was not called as an "expert witness" !!

Does that not point to a "cover up" !!

I attended the BoI for a crewman that was killed in SA many years ago, experts were called as well as witnesses to the tragic event ! (Being only some 50yds away i was called as a witness).

Surely S/L Burke's evidence would have been crucial in a big way in this case.
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 17:52
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Chinook

This discussion is ecoming very esoteric, Meanwhile can someone say, as I asked on 6th March, whether or not the Chinook is now airworthy. If it is not, then why is it still flying; if it is, then what exactly was done post-Mulll disaster, to make it airworthy? May we please have a clear answer? JP
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