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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 11th Mar 2009, 19:35
  #4041 (permalink)  
 
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John Purdey you have asked on a number of occasions what has changed in the airworthiness state of the Mk2 Chinook since the 2 June 1994. Now I have been trying to think of the people on this thread who could answer that question and I think Atlantic Cowboy may be that person, in his post #3774 he tells us he was a member of the "Mull team" in a post about the much vaunted spreadsheet (that was not released). In it he states:

My recollection and knowledge of the spreadsheet is that it simply records dates of communication from members of the public, MPs, Lords etc. It has no information in it other than the subject matter of the correspondence and where it is filed. It certainly does not contain the airworthiness audit trail because that was not the purpose for which the speadsheet was designed.
To which I later asked:

can you enlighten us if there was a seperate document drawn up that recorded the airworthiness audit trail as part of the investigation and if such a document exists has it (to your knowledge) been made publicly available
Now that we are going around this bouy again, AC would you be kind enough to enlighten us if such a document existed and if so has it been made publically available? I am sure that you will agree John, if AC would be kind enough to answer that question, we may get closer to answering yours.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 20:30
  #4042 (permalink)  

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It was a requirement for aircrew to partake of breakfast before flying - though I can't, 15 years later, be specific as to whether that requirement was in STCASI's or 1 Gp ASO's.
I do recall that some 2 -3 weeks after the crash that breakfast arrangements at Northolt for those crews departing on tasks between 08 -0930 hrs were completely revised and a cooked breakfast was provided by in-flight catering after the crew had completed pre-flight planning.
That would have been just after the BOI had presented their initial findings to the AOC.
Cazatou, This substantiates my report that breakfast was previously unavailable to crews departing early in the morning. SH crews, as I already said, often flew unsocial hours and missed the fixed mealtimes which seemed to arranged to suit ground and admin staff requirements, not those of the aircrew. Someone obviously decided to actually do something about it AFTER the event. This was a management issue.

As I already said, "in-flight" meals were not routinely taken along by SH crews in NI. Food was available to crew members in the crew-room, as SFFP has explained. It was no doubt possible for you to cruise along happily, above both MSA and small arms risk, autopilot engaged, with a chicken leg, sandwich or Mars bar to munch on. It didn't happen on SH and still doesn't in an operational theatre; the demands of low level flight just don't allow that.

Also, in NI we were routinely working in an operational theatre. We were in UK but we were live armed and helicopters were being shot at by a very real enemy, don't forget that (I presume you were previously aware of this).

I wouldn't expect you to know what was going on as a fixed wing VIP squadron captain but in your role as a flight safety officer you should have made time to get out more so you understood the SH role a little better. There have traditionally been deficiencies in the way SH was catered for, compared to other forces. I hope these deficiencies have now been made up, but somehow I doubt it.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 21:15
  #4043 (permalink)  
 
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ShyTorque

Flt Lt Cook and the 2 ALM's had breakfast - there is absolutely no reason why the Aircraft Captain could not have complied with the requirement to have breakfast as well. If he had done so then the 2 Pilots could have gone to Met Briefing together - 2 heads being better than one.

Failure to comply with the orders and instructions laid down regarding such matters is just one aspect of the total breakdown of Command and Control under the stewardship of the Detatchment Commander. Unfortunately, the incoming Detatchment Commander did not exert any pressure on Flt Lt Tapper and merely accepted the situation.

As Detatchment Commander he was responsible for crew composition. I would strongly suggest that to put the 2 experienced Chinook Pilots together to fly the routine in-theatre Army re-supply sorties and delegate the evenings "VIP" sortie to the Naval Officer with minimal experience of the Chinook, whose other Flight Crew member was not an experienced Chinook Pilot but an RAF Navigator, was a major factor in the tragedy that followed.

I would suggest that any Detatchment Commander with a modicum of sense would have placed the RN Exchange officer with the incoming Detatchment Commander in one crew to fly the "In Theatre" resupply sorties whilst he and the RAF Navigator flew the "VIP" sortie.

However, as has been pointed out several times on this Thread, I was never a Rotary Pilot so my views have "no validity".
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 22:44
  #4044 (permalink)  

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Cazatou, everyone's views have some validity. However, as I've often felt obliged to point out before, you see things from a fixed VIP captain's (apparently rather blinkered and pampered) perspective. You seem to ignore inconvenient answers given to you by crews actually in role and theatre at the time. You seem to be very much prepared instead to blame the unfortunate crew for things that perhaps should be considered higher management issues. As did Messrs Day and Wratten.

What evidence is there that missing breakfast in the officers' mess was a cause of this accident? Do we know for certain that Jon Tapper's stomach was empty? Did he eat later, in the crew-room? I suspect he probably did, we all had to. Was there post mortem evidence of Tapper's judgement being affected by low blood sugar? Or, are you saying that the accident must have resulted from "negligence" by definition because the "breakfast regulation" wasn't followed to the letter?

I missed breakfast many times in NI for reasons beyond my pay scale, due to the demands of the operation. I flew mainly at night, for reasons I won't go into here. I have also been obliged to miss breakfast before flying many times since, in the civilian world, where there is no such regulation.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:03
  #4045 (permalink)  
 
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Isn't it interesting that we have had a whole page of debate about issues of food and what they might have seen from the cockpit, issues which will remain totally speculative (i.e. there will always be doubt). But no-one wants to talk about the FACT that the aircraft was not airworthy at the time.

Over the last week or so, I have asked every pilot I know whether they would fly in an aeroplane which required a vital connector to be checked every 15 minutes because of a history of accidental disconnection. These pilots range from experienced PPL's to 15,000 hr ATPL's. Some have extensive fast jet experience. Every one said that they would refuse to fly in it.

So, why was it considered OK at the time?
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:14
  #4046 (permalink)  

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1) There were no more Chinooks.
2) It was a higher management decision about aircraft needed to fly in an operational theatre.
3) They could get away with it.
4) The crews had little or no say in the matter.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:23
  #4047 (permalink)  
 
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I did not want to bother posting anything further on this thread for a while but there are some points which I feel I need to make seeing the way the obvious is being missed in the discussions at present.
Firstly on meals: whatever the rules for an individual, in this case a key member of a close knit team did not take a meal at the same time as his buddy(s) as well as the met office thing – an opportunity to discuss planning, etc missed – yet another departure from normal practice in this flight. Why?
Secondly the weather: I have made the point so often that, from so many sources, the local weather was most probably typical for that location with the problematic mist being right on the slopes making visual judgment of closing range very difficult; even someone on the ground standing in the mist (the Procurator Fiscal himself, a local who got there soon after the crash) told me that the mist was a layer following the slope with breaks allowing bright sunlight through – the solid cloud started about the level of the crash.
Thirdly there is a tactical consideration that no one has mentioned so far: others have said that in the conditions they had already been negligent by the time of waypoint change – referring to the track on the annotated maps I posted some time ago, they were approaching the coast at an oblique angle and were only a few hundred yards off at that point – and I would agree if they had just been route flying past the Mull and had no reason to approach it so closely; but there is another consideration which is tactical - just about every time I have stood there a helo has come across the sea and turned close to the site to continue up the coast – indeed the lighthouse is an obvious waypoint and apparently is much used – it is also a very isolated spot, an area where hostiles could conceivably be waiting, and so for military pilots used to working in an operational area and thus aware of obvious danger points one would hope that they would have had a think about getting too close to that area with the passengers that they had on board that day. Why would they not have given it a wide berth (SAM range at least) unless thay had a specific reason for approaching it closely and, even in that case, without someone on the ground there telling them that it was secure?
Could that last TX on VHF to ScotMil, so nonchalent and not repeated despite no reply, have been a prearranged call for some other ears that replied on UHF, which it was found the HP had selected for his headset?
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:35
  #4048 (permalink)  
 
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JP/AC/Bast0n

Simple question and dead easy to answer, and I assure you there are no smoke and mirrors involved

Can you identify any one person who actually knows exactly what happened that fateful day?
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 23:58
  #4049 (permalink)  
 
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Try asking a chap by the name of Michael Oatley, AKA the Mountain Climber - he may have some thoughts on it ...
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 07:43
  #4050 (permalink)  
 
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Caz

My copy of Chambers Dictionary defines "Negligence" as "omission of duty, especially such care for the interests of others as the law may require."

I would consider that ignoring Orders or Instructions that you sign as having read and understood each month would be deemed to be negligence - as does my copy of Chambers Dictionary.

Quite right.

As such, I assume you agree with me that those who hold financial, technical and airworthiness letters delegation, who are required to make a similar written declaration when exercising those powers, would be equally guilty of negligence if they failed to do so – and far worse, if anyone abused their rank/grade/authority by instructing junior staff to make such false declarations?

I would hope no right minded person here would disagree, but please say if you do.

Now, go back to the years immediately before and after the accident and look at the benchmark rulings relating to these obligations. And please remember that, while the MoD(PE) Directorate responsible for Chinook was Director Helicopter Projects, in practice there were many other PE equipment and support Directorates who contributed (or otherwise), over which DHP had absolutely no control. (Including Boscombe Down, who were completely ignored). This is one reason why the 1 Star doesn’t sign the CA Release – it has to be someone at the top of the pyramid, with control over everyone.

For example, most of the equipment (avionics etc) in the Chinook was under the control of AMSO – Director General Support Management (an RAF AVM) to be precise. In December 1992 he ruled that civilian staffs could be instructed to ignore their obligations, and make false statements. In his own words, if you refused to lie (about financial probity, airworthiness etc) “I have made arrangements for you to be dismissed”. Nice. Wonder if the aircrews at the time knew of this. I know some did. There was a sudden interest in attending CWGs and CAGs.

The regs state a Safety Case (or safety argument) MUST be underpinned by a current build standard. It follows that one must maintain that build standard. Not in accordance with aforesaid 2 Star or his opposite numbers in MoD(PE), who were happy to cut funding in successive years leading up to the accident, culminating in a ludicrous situation whereby even safety critical tasks were refused funding or deferred. Who knows, the DECU connector may have been a deferred task because of this failure of duty of care and gross negligence, whereby senior staffs continued to claim the obligation to maintain airworthiness was satisfied, but clearly was not. The quite deliberate decision was – “We know it’s unsafe, but carry on chaps”. This is what led directly to a situation, as seen from a front line viewpoint, explained by Shy Torque;

1) There were no more Chinooks.
2) It was a higher management decision about aircraft needed to fly in an operational theatre.
3) They could get away with it.
4) The crews had little or no say in the matter.

See 2) – For “higher management”, read contemporaries and mates of those making the rulings I mentioned. The protected “club”.


At the time of the accident, an internal audit was being conducted, after a formal complaint had been lodged about the instructions being handed down. A couple of years later, the resultant report advised PUS that the complainant was 100% correct, and made a series of recommendations. It is a matter of open record (in the form of Ministerial and MoD letters) that in the following years, and to date, successive regimes in MoD(PE), AML, DPA, DLO and DE&S, supported by Ministers, have formally rejected these recommendations and continued to uphold the notion that staffs can be instructed to breach their duty of care. And, incidentally, that such fact can be withheld from BoIs. A number of recent accidents can be traced to these, and related, rulings. (Verifiable by reading the rulings in conjunction with the BoI reports, and mapping it all to the airworthiness delegation chain – something nobody does).

Bottom line. This is all about protecting senior staffs.
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 17:19
  #4051 (permalink)  
 
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John Purdey

You said:
Meadowbank. We seemto be back to the suggestion that the aircraft was out of control, or at least suffered serious undemanded control imputs. This is of course sheer speculation, completely lacking any proof technical or otherwise. What is more, I find it difficult to reconcile that theory with the fact that the a/c entered a climb which, had the machine been on intended track, would have enabled it to clear the hill ahead by around 300ft. But it was not on track, and the hill ahead was around 300 ft higher than the crew expected. Nor does the control theory tie up with the very heavy rudder control imput in the last few seconds of flight.The aircraft must have been under control. But we have been here before, have we not. Regards. JP
I presented undemanded control inputs as one of a number of plausible reasons for the accident. Yes, it is speculation, but speculation born of the fact that it also happened elsewhere on the same aircraft type. True, I have no proof but neither do you. With regard to the climb you mention, we do not know the aircraft's flightpath, except that an event was recorded on Supertans at waypoint change and another event (power down) was recorded at impact. To surmise that the aircraft flew in a straight line, under control, from one to the other is worse than speculation - it is assumption!

You are also most definitely wrong about the "Nor does the control theory tie up with the very heavy rudder control input in the last few seconds of flight". Firstly, we don't know how long the rudder input was applied (no ADR) or even for sure that it was applied at all (AAIB stated that it could have been a result of the impact). Secondly, the control theory ties up perfectly with the rudder input as, if you read the account of the pilots involved in the aforementioned US Army Chinook near-accident, they state that they only brought the aircraft under control by using almost full rudder - a significant clue that we could be dealing with a very similar incident. Further, it is not logical to reach the conclusion that "The aircraft must have been under control."
An aircraft being flown "under control" would not have ben IMC in the (estimated) attitude described by AAIB (31 deg pitch up if I recall).


I would also like to address your repeated affirmation:

The crew breached the basic rules of airmanship when faced by IMC weather over high ground
Earlier you asked whether or not the crew could see the granite of the Mull of Kintyre, on the basis that if they could not see it and pressed on then they were already negligent. Not true, I'm afraid. Given the distance form N.Ireland to the Mull, it is quite possible (from analysis of the METARs and knowing how the weather is in this part of the World) that they could already see a cloud-covered Mull at the time they coasted out, or at least soon after. The crew would have been perfectly within the rules to continue towards the Mull until they could get a better look, particularly as to avoid it would only take a turn of a few degrees. It was entirely reasonable to decide to turn a mile before the Scottish Coast as they would have been able to achieve the new heading (to Corran) without entering the weather (we know it was only over the land) or coming too close to high ground (even if they couldn't see the granite, they would have known that it was lurking just behind the convective curtain of cloud). The fact that the weather as reported by the lighthouse keeper was deteriorating is irrelevant; at waypoint change the Chinook was not in the weather and the crew did not plan to go that way (indicated by the waypoint change on Supertans).

Yes we have been here before but please re-read my comments carefully and you will, I dare to hope, start to realise that the likelihood of a straightforward CFIT is nowhere near great enough to meet the requirements of "beyond any doubt whatsoever". Or do you continue to support the finding of Gross Negligence purely out of loyalty and/or fraternity with Sir William and/or Sir John?

With all good wishes,

Meadowbank
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 19:26
  #4052 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Meadowbank. Many thanks, and i have, as you ask, read your comments with care. I'm afraid they tell me nothing new, but they do confirm that you and I will never agree. With all good wishes. JP
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 20:57
  #4053 (permalink)  
 
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Meadowbank,

No attempt at smugness on my part, far from it in fact, but I did warn in post #4049 that looking for for a straight answer from JP with regards to any question that does not fit with his mind set was always going to end in disappointment.

I detect no rudeness in his refusal to acknowledge the previous UFCM incident you mention, it's simply that he cant acknowledge it for to do so introduces the very doubt that we all assert and he so strongly denies, and it will bring his particular house of cards tumbling down. This is the same for each and every one of the well intentioned questions ever asked of him, questions from experienced SH operators on everything from met to mechanics.

His mind may well be made up but his refusal to take the bull by the horns and debate with you tells us an awful lot.
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 21:21
  #4054 (permalink)  
 
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SFFP

Your post 4067:-

"I cannot recall one occasion in all that time where I got airborne with in-flight rations on board "

That seems to sum up the attitude of Detatchment Personnel in respect of STCASI's, GASO's, Command Catering Instructions, RAF Aldergrove Flying Order Book and JSP 318 quite well.

The fact that you cannot remember ever complying with the Orders or Instructions pertaining to your duties is NO excuse for ignoring them.
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 21:44
  #4055 (permalink)  
 
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Caz,

I am at a loss as to why you are continuing to ignore the written word of folk who have actual SH experience?

Please tell me how, and feel free to fall back on your wealth of experience with regards to SH Op's exactly how a helicopter pilot who has a collective lever in one hand, a cyclic stick in the other and his feet permanently sat on the yaw pedals actually manages to peel the wrappings from any of his buttie box contents and then eat them?

Tell me how the Crewman who is invariably sharing a rather cramped cabin with a full complement of troops, has a main door open with the GPMG deployed whilst scouring the area below for any small arms or man pad threat, at what point does he get to sit back and enjoy his white box?

Tell me how the guy in the left hand seat, Pilot or Nav, who was continually managing at least two radio's, whilst operating the Nav kit, running an extremely busy tasking programme and map reading often at less than a 100 feet was ever going to have time to enjoy his in flight rations.

Add to this that most of the time there was rarely more than 10 minutes between pick up and drop off and then consider that a whole swathe of this took place in the dark on NVG's, now tell me just how and when we were supposed to consume in flight rations in flight?

If I may offer you some serious advice Sir, continuing to try and fly this particular kite is making you look more and more silly with each post and stopping now would be a really good idea.
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 09:08
  #4056 (permalink)  
 
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"Please tell me how, and feel free to fall back on your wealth of experience with regards to SH Op's exactly how a helicopter pilot who has a collective lever in one hand, a cyclic stick in the other and his feet permanently sat on the yaw pedals actually manages to peel the wrappings from any of his buttie box contents and then eat them?"

You have never flown a Whirlwind 7 solo then Seldom!
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 09:25
  #4057 (permalink)  
 
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Not at 140 Kts at 50 to 100 feet in South Armagh whilst looking out for wires and other obstructions, following nav instructions from the non handling chap, whilst working out landing configuration, monitoring aircraft systems etc etc, no Bast0n I haven't.

But because I am not the sharpest tool in the box, the relevance of your last post is what?
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 10:01
  #4058 (permalink)  
 
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Not at 140 Kts at 50 to 100 feet in South Armagh whilst looking out for wires and other obstructions, following nav instructions from the non handling chap, whilst working out landing configuration, monitoring aircraft systems etc etc, no Bast0n I haven't.

But because I am not the sharpest tool in the box, the relevance of your last post is what?
Ah well - I agree not at 140 kts. But at 70kts, and with a manual throttle and only a crewman in the back and no stabalisation etc etc. My point being that doing all this we still had to hold our own map, use the radios and eat our butties and so on. So yes ,you can do more than just fly the aircraft. If you cannot you should not be there. That was my point - not that I think bacon butties have a huge relevance to this post anymore than Whirlwind 7s! Carry on now!
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 10:57
  #4059 (permalink)  
 
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bastOn

The relevence is that SFFP and, by his own admission, other Detatchment personnel knowingly flouted HQ STC Air Staff Instructions and Group Air Staff Orders whilst on Active Service.

The Catering arrangements are just one example - the requirement for all Flight Deck Crew (sans Engineer if carried) to go to Met Brief is another.

Incidentally, no-one has yet explained how it is that the BOI arrived at the conclusion that "Detatchment personnel preferred to operate on a day on - day off rota". All the "evidence" posted on this thread states that Tapper & Cook took on the evening task because the weather en-route was below the limits to which the newly arrived Lt K could be expected to operate. Which version is true?
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Old 13th Mar 2009, 11:08
  #4060 (permalink)  
 
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Cazatou:
Have you missed post #4080 by tucumseh? It was addressed to you Sir, and I for one should very much like to know your response to it. Given your preoccupation with the importance of obeying orders regarding the eating of breakfast (with no proof that it wasn’t), could you please comment on the order given by an RAF AVM, on pain of dismissal and instanced by tuc, that his subordinates should ignore their mandated obligations regarding airworthiness and compound that by then lying in a cover up. In the light of later fatal airworthiness related accidents (including this one?) was this not potential manslaughter? Were you not in Group Flight Safety at this time? What could you achieve if identified airworthiness shortcomings shown up by the Flight Safety process could not be put right because of the obstruction caused by such orders? Were you aware of such orders? Were they not illegal orders that all military recruits are taught should not be obeyed but reported?

Last edited by Chugalug2; 13th Mar 2009 at 11:31. Reason: Words, dear boy, words!
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