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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 9th Jun 2009, 20:29
  #4721 (permalink)  
 
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They were hopelessly lost...They didn't know whether the were VMC or IMC...they were confused....not sure where the NPL was....
I'm sorry... Am I to pre-suppose that each of the above statements should be read in the interrogative and are rhetorical or are you trying to say all of them apply and there was such an almighty "Keystone Cops" drama going on in the front end of the aircraft that, had it not been so tragic we'd all be having a good laugh?

I'll hazard a guess that, despite the dubious history of the region, you reject, out of hand, the possibility that three of the crew, (because it seems the MALM might have been sitting in the jump seat), might have believed they knew exactly where they were* and were led deeper into that illusion by a meterorological anomoly?

Since there are so many unknowns in this situation I believe that a "finding" of "foolish" is, most probably, grossly inaccurate and no more deserved than the existing finding.



*which in real terms was not far from their actual
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Old 9th Jun 2009, 21:40
  #4722 (permalink)  
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Olive Oil,

A) There is no evidence to say that the pilots were "foolish".

B) Are you suggesting that had the passengers not been on board, then the decision of negligence would not be required?

There is, however:
A) Evidence (by admission) that speculation was used in place of a requirement for absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

B) Evidence of a history of problems with this very aircraft.

Kind regards,
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 08:37
  #4723 (permalink)  
 
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Olive

Some points

1. Having pax aboard does not alter one's intent to keep yourself, your ac and your crew safe - carrying pax should have no bearing on the on the conduct of a flight - perhaps if it was too bumpy then they might have slowed a little for comfort. But with no CVR/ADR we can't tell the quality of the ride.

2. The ac was serviceable (a line engineering responsiblity) but NOT airworthy (a design and post-design engineering responsibility), as defined by JSP 553.

3. A medium level IMC transit (prob min FL 70 cruise) was not an option for ZD576 - the 4 deg C anti-icing limitation would have prevented this and the reported crews' distrust in the ac's overall nav performance (as highlighted by the inadequate 'interim' RTS).

4. The crew showed good airmanship and common-sense by asking for a Mk1 to remain in theatre - but 1 Gp refused - thereby pre-disposing this accident. Why was this hole in the cheese not addressed by the BOI?

5. Also, why did the BOI not ask if other AT options had been investigated - eg a Herc from LYE - a station with 2 crews always on 6 hour standby and even one crew at 2 hour readiness? Or was there a 1 Gp/NI SH intent to prove to the army that Crab Air had some capability?

All supposition, of course but...............!

flipster
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 08:44
  #4724 (permalink)  
 
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Airborne Aircrew

Re your post #4765

If you are going to quote my posts; would you please have the courtesy to quote the post in its entirety and not an extract edited to suit your point of view. You failed to include the following:

"The Chinook Pilots had an advantage over the other unfortunates who crashed on the Mull; they could have slowed to a walking pace until clear of the fog.

They did not do thatl"

Last edited by cazatou; 10th Jun 2009 at 08:59.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 10:27
  #4725 (permalink)  
 
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Cazatou:

If you are going to quote my posts; would you please have the courtesy to quote the post in its entirety and not an extract edited to suit your point of view. You failed to include the following:

"The Chinook Pilots had an advantage over the other unfortunates who crashed on the Mull; they could have slowed to a walking pace until clear of the fog.

They did not do thatl"
And nobody knows why not.

Shouting doesn't actually reinforce the argument Caz. Indeed, it reminds one of the sidenote on a politician's speech script 'Argument weak here, shout louder'.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 12:12
  #4726 (permalink)  
 
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Airborne Aircrew

Re your post #4765

If you are going to quote my posts; would you please have the courtesy to quote the post in its entirety and not an extract edited to suit your point of view. You failed to include the following:

"The Chinook Pilots had an advantage over the other unfortunates who crashed on the Mull; they could have slowed to a walking pace until clear of the fog.

They did not do thatl"
Caz:

Please, get down off that high horse before you fall and hurt yourself...

I am doing nothing to "suit my point of view"... I really don't have one. I was offering a possible scenario to JP and found your description of the weather anomaly to be very well put. Rather than re-invent the wheel I used your description of the phenomena and gave appropriate credit for it.

One thing that does surprise me though is to find that you were in the cockpit that day. You'd have to have been to know they were actually in fog:-

they could have slowed to a walking pace until clear of the fog
No wonder you're so grumpy... Must have hurt like hell...

While I'm sure it will not be forthcoming your apology is accepted.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 14:17
  #4727 (permalink)  
 
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There but for the Grace of God

I am a retired Navigator with just over ten thousand hours. I have a few hours in the RHS/ Rumbold seat of Chinooks and Pumas and a couple of hundred in other helicopters as a HELIFAC instructor, in Germany in the mid 80's.
I spent the second half of my career primarily on C130's but in my time at Farnborough and Boscombe, Mid 90's, notched up a few other types.
I have Been SFSO at Honington and Lynham and UFSO at Farnborough and Boscombe. A total of over seven years in FSO posts.
During that time I have processed a couple of hundred incident and two accident reports. I have trawled through several hundred more.
I have been fortunate enough never to have to deal with a fatal accident or process any report on an aircraft on which I have no experience.
I first read the Mull BOI report while at Farnborough. To understand the accident, I always try to to put myself in the place of the crew.


Here goes:

We have left Adergrove in a C130. We have descended to 250 ft and are approaching the Mull. I am standing in my normal position behind the Co-pilot.
The conditions are barely acceptable and deteriorating. Even if the Captain, is happy to press on, there will quickly be a comment from either me, the Co or the Flight Engineer. If the Captain persists, the comments will become protests, cullminating in the words "penetrate, penetrate, go".
At that point the Captain will apply power, regardless of his own opinion of the conditions, and start to climb. I will pass best heading and SALT. The Co will put out a radio call. The Eng will select (Engine and Airframe anti- icing ?). At SALT we would revise the plan. Problem solved.
At that point, unlike the Chinook, with engine anti-icing and airframe de-icing, an IFR transit would have been possible. Or we may have considered a cloud break approach at Prestwick.

What happens in a Chinook? I have asked a couple of operators and it is much the same. Besides the Co, at least one of the ALM's would have been monitoring the Navigation, either from the rumbold seat or the door. I am with Airborne Aircrew here, I find it inconceivable that an experienced Co and ALM allowed John Tapper to Negligently approach the Mull without protest.
Perhaps they did protest and in blatant disregard of crew advice, the captain pressed on. In which case he is certainly guilty of Gross Negligence. But what about the Co, he could hardly drag JT out of the seat. If RC did protest and was overruled he is innocent of all blame.
This scenario is easily disproved with a CVR. Oh! bu**er.

The major problem with this scenario is that it requires a Captain that is arrogant, foolish and overconfident. Everyone I have talked to says JT was not. If he didn't climb or slow or turn, he almost certainly received no advice to do so.

None of this rules out Negligence, but it shows that either JT felt no need to carry out any emergency climb, slowdown or turn, or he was unable to do so.

Unable to do so:

Back to the much maligned Sqn Ldr Burke.
He has stated under oath that he himself had suffered control restictions probably caused by loose articles, and was aware of others. He also explained that bad connectors had caused power interupts.
This evidence was never presented tho the BOI. Why?
It was accepted by the HOL.
Cazatou rubbishes the HOL Committee because they were not pilots, but they did not need to be. Control restrictions in cars, trucks and trains can be equally fatal. Or can't they rule on those accidents either?
And any connector that fails due to vibration is "bad", whether it is on a critical component on an aircraft, or holding up my trousers.
If these events had happened in the past, and no rectification had taken place they could happen again. They could and possibly did.
So perhaps, bastOn, they could not "fly the aircraft."

Did this happen. Probably not, law of averages.
But enough doubt to take it to "Beyond Reasonable Doubt."

Lastly. Aircrew Error or some other reason.
You are approaching the coast. You are planning to turn at around 2 miles. You follow the kit to the 2 mile point but in fact because of an error of entry by you, or a transient fault in the TANS you are at less than 1. Visual illusion has drawn you in.
BastOn has pointed out that DR Navigation will resolve this, but he is wrong.
DR circle of uncertainty increases with speed and time. The 70% circle of uncerainty around your DR position, is 3 to 4 miles.

Then again, perhaps it was something completely different.
John Purdy sneers at the "Flies in the Cockpit theory".
I have in my logbook:
March 25 1980 Canberra TT18 639 F/L JM Wembury + LL Area2 2.20 Day
My pilot was stung in the face by a wasp at at 250ft / 300kts.
What followed was one or two of the most frightening moments in my whole career.

Last edited by dalek; 14th Jun 2009 at 08:49.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 14:20
  #4728 (permalink)  
 
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Olive,

Single seat Chinny!? Whatever next?

Irrespective of the pax load and who they are, there are always the other crew members aboard a Chinny! So, apart from perhaps the implied pressure from above to get to the destination asap (itself a latent pathogen), as I say, carrying pax down the back should make no odds; you just do your best, in a crew environment, in whatever circumstances, to stay out of trouble and stay alive.

But for whatever reason, they didn't do that...... but no-one knows why for sure!

However, I can guarantee you that they didn't fly into the hill on purpose - which would have been negligent!
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 15:21
  #4729 (permalink)  
 
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Dalek:
Back to the much maligned Sqn Ldr Burke.
He has stated under oath that he himself had suffered control restictions probably caused by loose articles, and was aware of others. He also explained that bad connectors had caused power interupts.
This evidence was never presented tho the BOI. Why?
It was accepted by the HOL.
And any connector that fails due to vibration is "bad", whether it is on a critical component on an aircraft, or holding up my trousers.
If these events had happened in the past, and no rectification had taken place they could happen again. They could and possibly did.
So perhaps, bastOn, they could not fly the aircraft.
The point about the FADEC code, the connector and the control pallet is that they were all "bad" and impervious to "rectification" as they were not occasionally unserviceable but permanently unairworthy. I suspect that after reading reams of this thread and others that the simple difference between unserviceable and unairworthy still evades many. All Chinook Mk2's were unairworthy then for the above reasons. OK, bold statement, can't prove it myself but a BoI could and should. The more that is ignored the more we fool ourselves. This accident was literally one waiting to happen. Sure enough it did!
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 16:02
  #4730 (permalink)  
 
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dalek,

I find it inconceivable that an experienced Co and ALM allowed John Tapper to Negligently approach the Mull without protest.
I found your theories very interesting, especially as they are based on your own extensive experience. You may not be aware of this but, somewhere way back on this thread are several testimonies offering the view that the ALM was the sort of bloke to have taken the cockpit axe to JT if he had ignored his advice in the possible scenario you give.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 17:57
  #4731 (permalink)  
 
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Back to the much maligned Sqn Ldr Burke.
He has stated under oath that he himself had suffered control restictions probably caused by loose articles, and was aware of others. He also explained that bad connectors had caused power interupts.
This evidence was never presented tho the BOI. Why?
I don't recall HOL evidence was given under oath.

Why was S/L Burke never called?

Last edited by chinook240; 10th Jun 2009 at 19:49.
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Old 10th Jun 2009, 18:20
  #4732 (permalink)  
 
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Again, we have the words serviceable and airworthy bandied about and, as Chug says, they are not interchangeable. Not by a long way.

But in a sense the aircraft WAS serviceable and airworthy, because the respective Authorities said it was. There are bits of paper with signatures on them, and MoD takes great delight in offering them as “proof”.

But, a casual glance at the facts (which few bother with, and why should you – the ROs didn’t) shows that the MoD failed miserably to meet a fundamental obligation placed upon them; to be able to demonstrate and verify serviceability and airworthiness. In this it was (and remains) grossly negligent.

While someone signed to say the aircraft was serviceable, what he really meant was “within the constraints placed upon me by persons over whom I have no control, who knowingly refuse to provide me with the necessary resources to make a full assessment”. (But try entering that in the log!). Some of these constraints were noted during the various investigations, but conveniently ignored. Of course, we now know the aircraft was NOT serviceable - much worse, it carried design defects. I have discussed before a defect reported by the AAIB which 1st or 2nd Line couldn’t rectify even if they knew it existed. Likewise, the DECU connector, the control pallets and so on. Like every such operator and maintainer, they relied on those further “up” the chain to do their job, but many were constrained themselves. However, there were identifiable individuals at the “top” who knowingly made these rulings – recorded in a 1996 report to PUS, which was quickly dismissed by the MoD(PE) Chinook 2 Star as “of no concern to PE”.


As for airworthiness, again a casual glance at the Release to Service (the Master Airworthiness Reference) clearly illustrates the document is a farce. A simple example…..

Much is said of the Icing limitation (+4 Deg C). In the Initial Issue dated October 1993, as provided by MoD, the relevant section is ambiguous in that it omits the paragraph included in later versions headed “Icing Conditions”.

Amendment 1 was issued in March 1994 – MoD disingenuously claim this was the standard at the time of the accident, conveniently (and very suspiciously) omitting to mention a raft of Service Deviations. Now, you all know how any such document is amended. There is an pack issued by the RTSA, with an Instruction Sheet (“Remove and destroy pages….., Insert pages…..”). This task is given to the most junior clerk. Very often it is a consolidated task involving rafts of APs, Orders and so on. (In fact, it MUST be a consolidated task, as the RTS must be reflected in concurrent amendments to APs – but routinely isn’t). It’s mind-numbing, and they just follow the monkey sheet. Rip out, stick in, ditch the rubbish that’s left. In this case, there is no instruction to add the intended page R2, which provides “Icing Conditions”.

So, if amended in accordance with the instructions, at the time of the accident the RTS omits the following;

Pending resolution of the effect of the engine inlet screen blockage on engine surge margins, operations in cloud or fog (visibility less than 1000 metres) or rain are prohibited in ambient temperatures COLDER than +4 Deg C (indicated).

The accuracy of the OAT gauge is noted elsewhere as +/- 1 Deg C.


Therefore, there is no guarantee that any given copy of the Master Airworthiness Reference was accurate or complete at the time of the accident. Note, MASTER Reference. All other documents quoting or expanding on its contents must reflect the MASTER. (Part of the audit trail, which MoD don’t bother about either; and a good example of Configuration Control, which was not maintained on Chinook).

This may seem minor (but not, I suspect, to aircrew who should be horrified at such a howler) and it may be that the Aldergrove copy was correct (i.e. the instructions were not followed!), but it is indicative of a system under extreme strain, toward the end of a 3 year period of savage cuts in the airworthiness budget.


MoD freely admits all this, but dismisses any suggestion that the BoI should have investigated the deeper issues; simply saying, with supreme arrogance, that it was not in their remit. Ok, it wasn’t in the BoI’s remit, but BoIs are simply a small part of the Safety Management System. The SMS reflects the MoD’s legal obligations, mandating that the root cause is investigated to identify lessons to be learnt. It also requires these lessons ARE learnt and for this to be demonstrated. Simply put, the law does not permit MoD to place an artificial boundary round the BoI / RO reports. There is a wider legal obligation, which has been ignored. Put another way, the investigation is not yet complete.


So, if the BoI didn’t do this, who did? It was clearly the responsibility of the ROs and/or those who convened the BoI, acting for the SoS. They failed in this duty and systemic failures were left unattended. Their own failings are what have protected the ROs for so long. Time for the investigation to be completed, and then see how the verdict stands up.
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 08:57
  #4733 (permalink)  
 
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The last line of defence...

tucumseh,

Many thanks for your PM - MOD (i.e. Hels 1/2 aside), it was always my understanding that the Chinook STANEVAL pilot post (at the time of the accident) was the User Authenticator for the aircraft and one of his many responsibilities was to verify the suitability of Chinook related publications which were produced by Boscombe's Handling Squadron after they had been validated by the appropriate Design Authority, or Clearance Authority. Surely, this must of included each RTS and SD, as released by Hels 1/2? Therefore, back through, the then, OC SEF/OC SH STANEVAL, is there any evidence to indicate that the appropriate representations were made by this unit?


Always wary of the term 'legal' within a military context, please could you expand on your following comment?

The SMS reflects the MoD’s legal obligations, mandating that the root cause is investigated to identify lessons to be learnt. It also requires these lessons ARE learnt and for this to be demonstrated. Simply put, the law does not permit MoD to place an artificial boundary round the BoI/RO reports. There is a wider legal obligation, which has been ignored.
AA

Last edited by Sand4Gold; 11th Jun 2009 at 10:26. Reason: Brevity.
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 12:09
  #4734 (permalink)  
 
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In answer to the last bit, Duty of Care.

The Secretary of State is responsible for Airworthiness, and delegates Authority (but not responsibility) via letters of delegation. The “legal” aspect was re-enforced by the repeal of Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act, which had hitherto effectively prevented the possibility of a court case against Crown Servants.

One therefore has an obligation to adhere to the Secretary of State’s regulations, for example JSP553. The whole point of many of my posts is that many of the aircraft hierarchy in MoD(PE) (and DPA, DLO, AMSO, AML), including the Chinook and equipment support 2 Stars, disagreed with this obligation, creating an impasse whereby one risked all by insisting on implementing the airworthiness regs.



On the documentation issue, for the exact Validation and Verification chain you’d have to look at the Publications Management Plan signed by the Publications Authority and Project Director. Any other source is an opinion, albeit informed. These differ little between projects – it is usually a case of filling in the project-specific blanks in a template, which promotes commonality and consistency.

But, at the time, it was common practice for Aircraft Technical Pubs (Farnborough and then Glasgow) to manage Technical Pubs by contracting (or, more likely, asking the Technical Agency to contract) the respective Design Authorities to prepare them, and ATP would validate them.

However, for the ODM, ACM and FRCs it was common for RAFHS to do the entire job themselves. (I believe this was the case for the Mk2). Many disagreed with this, not least some RAFHS staffs as they very often didn’t have the resources, so these pubs were often not up to date, incomplete, didn’t reflect the RTS etc. Again, the record shows this was the case on Mk2.

I’ll take your word STANEVAL verified them – the PMP would confirm this.


Today it is different, with RAFHS usually confining themselves to validation. i.e. the process is the same for all pubs.

On the other hand, ATP as we knew it doesn’t exist. The system has “dumbed down” to the extent that many aircraft pubs are little more than vendor handbooks.


I imagine the legacy Mk1 Tech Pubs formed the basis of the Mk2 suite (notwithstanding Ingram’s claims). As the RAF had stopped funding their routine upkeep (certainly for equipment) in 1991, the chances of the Mk1 suite being up to date were minuscule. (It follows that the normal contractual vehicle I mentioned, the Technical Agencies’ contracts, often simply didn’t exist; or were paper contracts only, lacking funding). Therefore, the PMP mentioned above should have a significant section dealing with resurrection and stabilisation of this part of the build standard. But implementation of the Plan? If they rushed through Release to Service, when 7 months later A&AEE were still struggling with Software validation, do you think they paid much attention to pubs?


Thanks for your reply.



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Old 11th Jun 2009, 13:36
  #4735 (permalink)  
 
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AA

I will merely quote Mr Ellacott who, with his Brother-in-Law, was looking for WW 2 aircraft crash sites:

"I then heard the sound of a propellor going around for about four or five seconds and then I heard an explosion...Visibility at this time was only about nine or ten feet maximum." "It was difficult to say how far I was from the point of the explosion, but I don't think I could have been any more than 100 yards."

The 2 Lighthouse Keepers were also qualified Met Observers; their evidence was:

Mr Murchie: "I would estimate the visibility at this stage to be 15 to 20 metres at the most".

Mr Lamont: " the visibility as I drove over the hill from Campbelltown to the lighthouse, was down to only 10 metres or less ...I suddenly heard the sound of a helicopter directly behind me, so close, I thought it was going to hit me, although I never saw it."

All 10 of the eyewitnesses on the Mull reported the weather to be generally very foggy and very bad. These witnesses were at various points on the Mull and at various altitudes above Sea Level.

PS. Did you check with the DT that such a letter was actually printed? Or did you just accept it at face value?

Last edited by cazatou; 15th Jun 2009 at 15:14.
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 15:42
  #4736 (permalink)  
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Caz - a bit of a waste of space that post! No-one, I believe, is disputing that they hit a cloud covered hill, not that the visibilty at the crash sight was virtually nil.

What is in dispute is

a) It is NOT thought they were in fog at waypoint change
b) Why they carried on on the track they did towards worsening weather.

These witnesses were at various points on the Mull and at various altitudes above Sea Level.
So, now PROVE they consciously and deliberately flew IMC towards the hill from waypoint change - BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT?

Not even W&D know the answers to b), hence the whole thrust of Brian's and others' campaign.
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 15:54
  #4737 (permalink)  
 
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WEATHER
There was one witness who arrived shortly after the crash; living in Campbeltown he didn't have far to come. He was the Procurator Fiscal himself who ended up calling the FAI and who was still a serving Judge when he described to me the conditions around the crash site - below the thick cloud at the crash site, extending to about the level of the lighthouse, the fog was layered "like a cake" following the slope; it was of limited height and "several times bright sunshine broke through".
Wonder why he was not asked to give a statement on the weather - it is after all typical of what you would expect in the late afternoon/evening with a southerly hitting the headland at that time of year.
I repeat that from the various descriptions, the weather that affected them as they approached the Mull was most probably solid orographic cloud at about 800' (which obscured the bigger topographical features that normally help with orientation) with ground hugging mist following the slope from about the lighthouse level up to the point where it merged with the solid cloud (which while typically not totally consistently masking the whole slope, would fuzz ground detail making distance judgement difficult on a slope which in clear vis is not conducive to easy dist judgement).
I have tried many times to explain the conditions to you all, even posting pix, but still you waffle on. IT IS THE RIGHT TIME OF YEAR, WHY DON'T YOU ALL GO UP THERE FOR A FEW DAYS DURING FORECAST AVERAGE (for time of year) DAY TEMPERATURES AND SOUTHERLY WIND - should be more often than not - as the day cools (late afternoon/evening) you will get the oro cloud forming and then the streaks of mist will start running up the slope, thickening with strengthening wind (it is the lower layer of air next to the ground that gets compressed, speeds up, cools more than with just orographic lift, and reaches its dew point well below the bulk of the air mass). If you don't want to hire a plane, a boat will do - 4 hrs charter from 4-8 pm. Look at the Mull from the position of waypoint change (bring your own GPS) - that is if conditions allowed the skipper to bring a boat that close in.
While you are there, try to visualise the approach track they were on up to the position of waypoint change - check out the feasibility of seeing the lighthouse clearly and consistently enough on that track - it should have been almost directly ahead/slightly to their left up to that point and you may have expected them to have had enough sight of it to carrect their course to the left if just flying by was their intention - but I doubt if it would have been good enough to judge when to turn right to the LZ and therefore would not have been a good enough vis ref to contradict any navaid ref that may have been in error.
BOAC I will be responding to your large post shortly - sorry about delay.

Last edited by walter kennedy; 11th Jun 2009 at 16:14. Reason: addition spelling
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Old 12th Jun 2009, 02:17
  #4738 (permalink)  
 
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The best way to understand this situation is to walk all over the site on the land, view it by boat, and view it from the air in both clear conditions and those that day (easy to schedule – almost any summer evening with a prevailing southerly blowing – you can count on it).
Do the chartwork, too.
What you would then see is an ample, firm, level area about ½ a footy ground in size being oblong with its longer axis following the strata that sticks out to sea – a line that corresponds to 035 mag (at the time) so users could line up nicely along that mini shoreline and with the big, white painted post (that has been uprooted for some reason).
Although almost 300 ft up, its edge is precipitous and drops down to the sea – so it is very much a perch to hop onto as apposed to an area to slowly approach – a heavy helo like a Chinook can get into vortex ring state quite easily hovering about well clear of ground plus there would be nasty up or down drafts near a cliff edge. But Chinooks used to land there before this accident so how did they do it? The obvious approach is a routine fast approach – a mini glide path, if you like, only flaring out when right over the area, coming to a stop in the comfort zone of the ground effect – like a fixed wing a/c stays above a stall speed until a runway threshold is reached - a manoeuvre requiring accurate judgment or measurement of range.
I do not believe that they would have approached there without an accurate measurement of range that they believed was intrinsically accurate – perhaps you could inquire quietly with your colleagues what sort of gear was used by SF/SH guys to extract personnel from 1995 on.
The ground there is not easy to judge distance from even in clear conditions – there are few suitable features for scaling, hence the white post perhaps. Visual judgement in the best of conditions can be dodgy for a fast approach – I posted a description with a link to a video of the crash of the Oz Blackhawk doing a fast approach to a ship from the side – nice sunny day - the captain was the handling pilot on that occasion and ignored his copilot's advice that, according to the TACAN, they were too fast too close, preferring his own visual judgement. So you should use the navaid for accurate range – so much so that it could conflict with visual cues and still be followed – that's the rub. A PRC112 has a UHF DME function like a TACAN but is mobile and has to be where the pilot thinks it is.


So you could be using a UHF DME for accurate range for your high speed approach but you would still need expect to see some ground as you got closer and had slowed down more – but what if it had been ½ mile further up the hill? You would have thought you were further out – you had been able to see the shoreline from a long way off and from a distance you can see that, as is common thereabouts, the mist only starts onshore but the rugged appearance of the shoreline makes range judgement difficult even in clear weather – so you are surprised when you run over that shoreline as they did with only 9 secs to impact – 4 secs were the evasive manoevre so they had only 5 secs of confusion.


Now to your specific points:
<<...not be discovered? The political fall-out would be enormous if it were.>> I have always hoped so – I would hate it if people didn't care – I would hope that the public would realise that anything goes when pushing hidden agendas and they need to understand who is really running their country (what's left of it, anyway). The chances of being caught out lying to make the case for war didn't deter Bliar – how many Brits and Iraqi people died? And the $$$ cost? - wasn't much fallout at all in that case was there? - not that mattered. Funny thing to muse over – I'll bet that if this Chinook had been exposed as a dirty trick soon after the crash, Brits may not have got into the Iraq war.


<< Start, therefore, looking at 'probilities' of success for it. I would venture to suggest that anything less than 99% would not be considered?>> I think you mean 99% for not being exposed/brought to account. It would have been a “free shot” - if they had avoided crashing then the pilot could have been fobbed off with an explanation of confusion on the ground … worth the effort even with a 25% chance of success? To get more than 50% chance of conditions being right at that time of year you only had to make sure that the flight started in the late afternoon/evening.
Points A, B, C, & D are, I believe, covered in the above overall scenario.
<< e) You need to ensure that the ensuing impact is of sufficient violence to kill the crew and pax and render a technical investigation difficult.>> ensure? Why? I would have thought it would have been extemely likely anyway but a few survivors aren't going to keep the team effort going, are they? Would the pilots have gone public if they had survived? All they could have said anyway was that an exercise had gone wrong. I'd bet that the team on board would have been suspicious if they had survived a near miss but what could they have proved? Regarding “technical investigation”, I do not think that you could count on the CPLS equipment being unrecogniseable and its presence would surely have given rise to inquiry as to its possible use – I have no idea whether a piece of wreckage could be “disappeared” if it was said to be sensitive – I dunno – it would have been easy to remove as it was stand alone and designed for easy removal/installation. Anyway, even if it was proved/admitted that such an exercise had been attempted, how could it be proved to have been wilfully interfered with? You have not got people of the calibre of that team to investigate it, you have no one like Airey Neaves to get action at the highest level. The “government” that wanted to wash its hands of NI would hardly want to undo the peace process it so loves by any nasty revelations. It was a free shot. That is why “accidents” are so convenient and commonly used to remove people problems.
<< f) You need to ensure that no 'survivors' know of the plan, as it appears to have been un-authorised and 'unknown'. Who tasked it? >> I would really like to know – then we could ask him who was it in MI6 who did the liason and thought of this jolly little demonstration. There was a post here some time back wherein someone who seemed acceptable to you “regulars” had said that it was the intention to use a Chinook several weeks before. Then Flt Lt Tapper did depart from routine by not breakfasting with his crew to go alone to a “met” brief – at Aldergrove? - perhaps he got his outbrief then. There were enough anomalies in the planning and preparation for this flight to suggest that something extraordinary was going on.
Your final remark <<At best, I arrive at around a 5-6% chance of success. Not good enough? Why would anyone take that risk? Credible? >> not a punter are you? I reckon at least a 25% chance of success for just about no risk at all.
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 12th Jun 2009, 07:58
  #4739 (permalink)  
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I appreciate your time in replying, Walter, but we diverge so far on the logicality of what you propose that I have to say there is no point in my continuing the discussion.
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Old 12th Jun 2009, 12:47
  #4740 (permalink)  
 
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BOAC

Your Post 4798

"It is not thought that they were in fog at waypoint change"

In their evidence to the HOL Committee the Reviewing Officers stated that negligence had occurred by the time the pilots made the waypoint change. If they were in cloud then flight should have been in accordance with IFR. If not, then they had flouted the basic rules of airmanship by flying too fast and too close towards the cloud-covered high ground of the Mull.

" Why they carried on the track they did towards the worsening weather".

As they had not planned the sortie it is unlikely that they were aware that the Lighthouse was NOT the waypoint. The actual waypoint entered into the computer was the Helicopter Landing Site. Thus they neglected the most basic rule of Flight Safety :

DON'T ASSUME - CHECK!!

Of course, if they were aware of the actual position of the waypoint then the finding of Gross Negligence would, in my opinion, be incorrect. The correct finding would have been Recklessness.
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