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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 21st Jun 2009, 21:04
  #4901 (permalink)  
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Oh dear - this is a struggle!

JP - I am also confused by YOUR post - I do not recall mentioning anything about hills and height? I still await your answer to:

What I have been trying to correct, however, based on a fair bit of operational and other low-level flying, is that, far removed from your 'fair-weather only' low-level mantra, both the route, the weather and the crew were in all probability suitable for the task with which they were tasked and they accepted which you seem to refute. Do YOU accept this or do you maintain that they should have abandoned the route because there was (the usual) cloud on the Mull? A simple question I would like confirmed one way or the other please.

Indeed, we DO, as Brian says, very much have an 'open mind' on all of this and we do not know with certainty why they flew on the track they did. Personally I would also be particularly interested in your answers to Brian's questions 1,3,4,5,6 and 7. I would add to 6) 'the other crew-members too'. (I think we can assume coastal stratus/fog for 2). I would indeed like to hear your positive assertion (to support the ROs) that an acknowledged competent multi-crew deliberately and willfully steered the machine from waypoint change towards cloud-covered rising ground (with predictable consequences) rather than follow the logical coastal route. The fact that they did not take the logical action of turning away to stay off the coast is to us totally inexplicable. Perhaps you can offer a reason?

I see you have given your 'reason' now, but unless you are again 'confused' by the questions, I would ask for why you think they did not follow the coast when they sighted this 'fog station' and the cloud covered Mull.

Baston -
Are you saying that these two highly qualified pilots both suffered from it at the same time and did nothing?
- I think you are confused - that was not my question. Incidentally, I have never used 'DR' on low-level nav. I do not know of the practice. Normal technique was to fly visually towards the turning point and, er, turn? Can you enlighten me on this DR timing thing? Sounds a bit 'dodgy' to me, if you don't know where you are. I've done loads of 'timed' legs, both en-route and IP to target, but never by 'DR'.
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Old 21st Jun 2009, 21:35
  #4902 (permalink)  
 
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BOAC
I have never used 'DR' on low-level nav. I do not know of the practice
.

Flying visually in inclement weather towards the coast can lead to untold problems if you do not know when you expect to get there. A minute early - disaster............

So..............DR


DR - Simple really - time/distance. (Dalton computer). Coasting in from the sea towards the land ,work out when you expect to get there by the old fashioned methods and keep that in the back of your mind as you near the coast. A reliable cross check on your hitech nav gear. If the weather is dodgy as you reach your DR lower regions tightening point, do something. Slow down, descend, airtaxi, turn round or whatever. Don't blunder on. I guess you have never coasted in to an unknown shore in the dark when it is snowing. This is not points scoring - but the time/distance calculation is so simple and such an effective safety belt. It can and has averted disaster on many occasions.

Keep flying safely.

All the best.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 01:56
  #4903 (permalink)  
 
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SUPERTANS
Over a long time I have tried to explain how the Doppler/GPS nav computer can be inaccurate after a sea crossing and have given at least one example pertinent to this case and have referred to Flt Lt Tapper's expressed concern over the accuracy of it – such that, one would have thought, no sensible pilot would have relied upon it alone to have approached that fuzzy headland, while still at speed, any where near as close as the position where they changed the waypoint – I have posted annotated charts so that readers can see just how close this was. To have changed this waypoint to “B” at that point because they had decided to then turn to B to continue route flying makes no sense as B was of no use to keep them clear of the immediate high ground, the route to B being towards even higher ground than that which they hit – to have been safe just turning towards B would have entailed a turn several miles earlier because of their approach track to the coast (nearly along it as you can see from the annotated charts).
Tecumse: Flt Tapper was the captain of this a/c and, as he was an acknowledged expert of such nav systems, would not have needed the “paperwork” to tell him that this system could not be relied upon for sufficient accuracy to have approached so closely.
I can perhaps understand why so many cannot follow this argument after the recent apparently appalling lack of familiarity with detailed practical navigation demonstated in posts here, skills which I believe would be essential to SF helo pilots and crewmen and so I conclude that the most valuable potential contributors to this thread, such crews, are holding back from contributing to this debate.
PLANNING
As I have said before, the planning for this sortie is still a foggy area that should have been clarified in every detail given that there are so many anomalies that do not fit with a basic ferry flight that just needed to pass by the Mull.
Cazatou has quite rightly pointed out several irregularities in the planning; even his breakfast issue has relevence as, when combined with his alleged wandering off to a met brief at the remote (from the ops area) met office (not usual, I am told), the captain was away from the rest of the crew for a sufficient time to have attended a meeting.
One such anomaly that must have been decided upon in the planning with others who remained on the ground (and presumably are still around somewhere) is the choice of call sign – they used their full callsign F4J40 in calls to ATC, ARCHITECT, and Scotmil. Off this thread, I have been told by more than one source that this would have been appropriate as an exercise call sign. Apart from a red herring from someone (Beagle?) about tri-graphs (?) no one here has addressed this satisfactorily.
The potential relevence, as I see it, of their use of an exercise call sign is that it would have been appropriate if they were demonstrating equipment to home in on, say, a downed pilot or to get to a point in marginal conditions to simulate an extraction of SF personnel. The candidate equipment I have described (CPLS working with a PRC112 on the ground at, supposedly, the LZ) would fit with such an exercise and, if it was not at the LZ but ½ mile or so further up the slope, would explain all that is known about this crash – that equipment is intrinsically very accurate for distance measurement and readings of range by it would have been.taken in preference to anything that the SuperTANS was giving (perhaps that's why they dumped waypoint A having decided that the SuperTANS was of no further use in this area for the purposes of the close approach to the LZ) – with difficult conditions on the ground ahead for visual judgment of range, they could have got too close too fast before they realised the deception.
Was the classified equipment (blanked out in the BOI text available) CPLS? - a pertninent question the Mull group, as interested parties, could surely ask - even if they cannot divulge the answer to the public, they would at least know themselves and be able to amend their strategy for clearing the pilots' names.
Those of you who are reluctant to expose any such exercise lest you cause embarrassment to your service should bear in mind that the service has left these two pilots hanging out to dry and you may potentially be obstructing any chance of investigating whether a third party maliciously caused the crash by being knowingly out of position – a scenario the implications of which are so serious that, however unlikely or distasteful, it needs to be thoroughly explored.
Brian Dixon
Your response (#4930) to the first paragraph of John Purdey's post #4929 did not concede that the group's strategy has often blocked debate for months at a time over the years – precious time lost as memories fade – while awaiting the outcome of the group's various submissions with the advice to all of “not muddying the waters”, etc. which seemed (to me at least) that the strategy was to not dig any deeper lest anything crop up which reinforced the verdict of pilot error. I made the point years ago that this did not seem like a vote of confidence in the pilots – from their profile, I have never thought them capable of a simple CFIT, I rather thought that they must have been misled somehow and that no amount of further digging would woresen the case for their exoneration, that there was nothing to lose in regard to clearing their names by exploring all possible alternatives that fit the available data.
I completely agree that there was never evidence beyond any doubt whatsover that gross negligence had occurred but you have to understand why this verdict cannot be overturned just yet – the requirement of proof for such a verdict would resound with most politicians (as so many have legal backgrounds) that it was definitely a simple case of pilot error and so any suggestion of foul play is to be discouraged, that the public should be reassured that it was a simple accident. This has been important for the peace process as there may have been, and still could be, public unrest and rejection of that peace process if such principal opponents of concessions to the terrorists as those top members of the NI security team on board had been removed as a political expedient – anything less than “beyond all reasonable doubt” would not allay suspicions in the public of foul play, and so until the peace process has run its course politicians would not risk disturbing the findings that have served them so well thus far.
So the Mull group is not going to get anywhere just arguing the case as it has done – there needs to be a breakthrough. To get a change of the verdict there has to be a proveable alternative scenario other than their blundering into an isolated low hill being caused by hypothetical improbable control issues for which there is no evidence in the event. If you can get a sufficiently credible body of opinion (from aircrew experienced in SH ops at the time) that it looked like they were participating in an exercise that has been hithereto undisclosed by the authorities then there is doubt in the official verdict and the pilots' names must surely be cleared. If this was the case, it may well turn out that, after detailed investigation, it was a genuine accident brought about by personnel on the ground getting it wrong – so no public disquiet – but the investigation needs to get to that level of detail to positively determine fault. It was just too damn easy to blame the pilots.
I have tried to have a face to face meeting with members of the Mull group on previous trips to the UK but without success – I believe that a meeting where all available information can be presented and discussed would surely be constructive – especially if people with the right experience would attend, even with anonymity (as has been preserved in the transcripts of the inquiries) – it could even result in “conspiracy theories” being rationally dismissed (which to date they have not) saving people like me a lot of time and effort.
So, Brian, how about such a meeting in the next few months at a location and time convenient to your good selves. I'll make the effort to get over there (again) – I miss the beer anyway.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 06:54
  #4904 (permalink)  
 
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What exactly did this "handwriting" say?
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 08:23
  #4905 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

BOAC " I would ask for why you think they did not follow the coast when they sighted this 'fog station' and the cloud covered Mull.
The geography and the contours of that part of the Mull shows the answer to be:
Because they thought they could safely fly over the hill (they knew the area). But they were not where they thought they were, but around about 500 yds to the right (lighthouse v fog station). They therefore expected the hill ahead of them to be around 300 ft lower than it turned out to be, and as a result they hit the crest just below the summit. Had they been on their intended track they would have cleared the hill, and we would not be having these repetitous discussions!!.
I promise not to go through this explanation again, unless you can suggest something more convincing.
Regards. JP

Last edited by John Purdey; 22nd Jun 2009 at 08:24. Reason: punctuation
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 09:38
  #4906 (permalink)  
 
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JP,

No-one has to come up with anything "more convincing" than your perfectly valid opinion. However, when the standard of proof required is "absolutely no doubt whatsoever", it is not a case of the most convincing argument which wins. It is the one which meets the criteria. There are no theories which come anywhere near it, and that includes yours. The fact that you generally ignore or refuse to discuss any questions which illustrate the doubt which any objective person would have, illustrates the weakness of your position.

Now I suggest that, having stated your opinion very clearly, and it seems that most of us accept that it is as valid as any other, there is no further point in your continued participation in this thread unless you are prepared to have some more objective discussion on topics you have, so far, ignored. e.g. airworthiness issues raised by tucumseh and the questions asked by Brian.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 10:51
  #4907 (permalink)  
 
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pulse 1

I cannot speak for JP but I am certain that he has read the statement at the bottom of each page:

"As these are anonymous forums the origins of the contribution may be opposite to what may be apparent."

Could you swear on oath that JP or I are who we say we are?

I read the contributions of those that you mention but I have no proof that they (with the exception of Brian) are who they say they are.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 11:56
  #4908 (permalink)  
 
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caz,

I cannot recall you ever saying who you are, only what you claim to have done. I am not qualified to judge the veracity of that but I don't understand the connection between my last post and yours. As far as I am concerned, within the context of this thread, you present yourself through argument and knowledge.

Whoever you are, your arguments have been clearly stated and, unless you are prepared to have a more objective discussion, there doesn't seem much point in your continuing with it.

Still, anyone can be a devil's advocate.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 12:54
  #4909 (permalink)  
 
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pulse1

You need to go back a long, long way - I was FS1 at 1Gp at the time the BOI was published 13 years ago.

As ACM Sir John Day stated in evidence to the HOL Committee:

"RAF Visual Flight Rules require the crew to have a minimum visibility of 1km."

"If they could see the cliffs at a range of 1km, I am convinced that no reasonable pilot would then have flown straight on towards the rapidly rising ground before intending to turn left along the line of the cliffs whilst remaining below the cloud base. If this was their intention, they should have started to reduce speed and turn left between sighting the cliffs and making the Way Point change. We know they did not do this.

If, on the other hand, they sighted the cliffs at 1 km range and intentionally decided to proceed straight ahead and cruise climb on track over the mountain, the pilots action's would have amounted to recklessness, which is a more severe degree of negligence than Gross Negligence."

I concur with Sir John's statement.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 13:40
  #4910 (permalink)  
 
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I have to say that I find JP's statement (below) rather odd:
They therefore expected the hill ahead of them to be around 300 ft lower than it turned out to be, and as a result they hit the crest just below the summit.
JP, are you really attempting to suggest that miscalculating (by 300 ft) the height of the hill that they were attempting (in your view) to climb over in IMC led to the crash? Well, I'm sorry, but if that's the sort of thing you used to do in your low-flying past, it's amazing you're still here! I cannot agree that any Chinook crew, much less an experienced SF crew, would chance their arm in the way you describe (ie attempt to clear a hilltop, IMC, by less than 300 ft) and there is certainly no evidence to suggest that it is what happened (other than what you would probably refer to as de facto evidence, that they hit the ground)!
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 14:12
  #4911 (permalink)  
 
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You need to go back a long, long way
Caz,

I can only go back to the days of the original Chinook thread, when you called yourself K52. I came into it with a very open mind and tried to understand the arguments between you, tandemrotor, Ark Royal, Brian and many others.

Since then, you and JP have been consistent in two things:

1. Your ongoing support for the conclusions drawn by the ROs, and

2. Your failure to address awkward questions posed by me and many others because it appears that the answer would weaken your position.

(But, please remember that weakening your position does not say that you are wrong, just that there might be room for doubt.)

You obviously have access to much more BoI information than is available to most of us but it has now been shown that you have tried to distort the truth by selective use of that information. Your attempts to convince us that Tapper played no part in flight planning has now been shown up to be totally false by tucumseh who was able to quote other parts of the same records, and you have not challenged his quotes from the BoI.

I am afraid that all you have achieved is to increase any doubts I had about the RO verdicts. What is much more important is that you have also succeeded in provoking a few more knowledgable folk to join the discussion. As a result, the full horror of the poor airworthiness of this aircraft has become more widely known and understood. In particular it shows why anyone with any responsibility for that aircraft being used that day, would prefer to take the option which made those issues irrelevant.

Does that include you or JP?
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 14:20
  #4912 (permalink)  
 
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Caz, all that you and Sir John are stating is the blindingly obvious, ie they didn't turn left (as planned) but flew straight on into a cloud covered hill. Well, duh, we all know that! What we don't know is why, well except for Sir John, you and others who "know" it was because of the "recklessness" of the pilots. What he, or you, or others do not mention is the "recklessness" of those that ensured that the aircraft tasked for that sortie was unairworthy and known to be so. That for me is a far more likely reason why it crashed. I can't prove it but I don't have to. Sir John was supposed to show that there was no doubt whatsoever in finding Gross Negligence by the pilots. He didn't, you didn't, others didn't. Therefore a Gross Injustice, a compromised Accident Investigation and 15 years of shame for the Royal Air Force. Time it was sorted!
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 14:37
  #4913 (permalink)  
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Caz:
"If they could see the cliffs at a range of 1km, I am convinced that no reasonable pilot would then have flown straight on towards the rapidly rising ground before intending to turn left along the line of the cliffs whilst remaining below the cloud base. If this was their intention, they should have started to reduce speed and turn left between sighting the cliffs and making the Way Point change. We know they did not do this.

If, on the other hand, they sighted the cliffs at 1 km range and intentionally decided to proceed straight ahead and cruise climb on track over the mountain, the pilots action's would have amounted to recklessness, which is a more severe degree of negligence than Gross Negligence."

I concur with Sir John's statement.
Which one? True, we know in case one, that they 'did not do this'. We also have no idea why not. If they deliberately turned right, selected an arbitrary climb configuration, hoping to miss the Mull by a couple of hundred feet in IMC the sure, they were gulity of gross negligence, or worse.

Do I note BTW that the moment of negligence has now shifted from an empty chair in the mess at breakfast time, to a suicidal lunge in the last ceconds of flight?

JP, when I saw this:
My suggestion as to why they pressed on is, as I have always said, pure speculation, ie. they mistook the fog station for the lighthouse, which was around 500 meters off their intended track , and the hill behind was thus around 300 ft higher than they expected.
But that theory is irrevelant; they should not have been near that coast at low level in those met conditions. What is arrogant about that?
I thought we'd finally won you over! Your, or anyone else's 'suggestions' and 'pure speculations' are just that, not proof. What part of 'clear of cloud, in sight of surface' precludes flight 'near the coast'? Not arrogant, but plain wrong.

And then this:
Brian Dixon. The one big unknown in all this, is why the crew pressed on instead of following the coast. We shall never know, but I have (many times) offered a perfectly reasonable and logical explanation, which has not been refuted by you or by anyone else. With all due regards, JP
Again, your perfectly reasonable explanation (which one of many you have put forward BTW) is just that. There are many.
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 17:08
  #4914 (permalink)  
 
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Cazatou,
I have asked Walter what he "thinks" Wpt A is. As you have been following the thread you know this. He has been very prompt and helpful with his responses.
I happen to "think" that he is wrong and have explained why.
Tell me, do you fully support Walters LZ, trials and / or landing theory? Or are you yet again just "cherry picking" the bits that suit your own favoured scenario?
If you support Walters theory, do you have any evidence to support him.
If not, I thought I was supposed to be the conspiracy theorist.
I ask again how does the explanation "handwriting" show a clear breakdown of communication between Lt K and JT?
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Old 22nd Jun 2009, 21:30
  #4915 (permalink)  
 
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pulse 1

Thank you for your continued support. Just to pick up on a suggestion you made. You said to Cazatou (K52):
You obviously have access to much more BoI information than is available to most of us
Due to the Freedom of Information act, and the Rules of Disclosure, he does not.

Or at least I should say that if he, or anyone, does have access to further relevant information (other than hearsay, and tittle-tattle), then my advice is that a crime has been committed.

The pilot's families were given full access to the entire workings of the BOI, including all annexes. (Much to the surprise of the MOD!) I framed questions under the rules of disclosure, to the MOD prior to the FAI. I know what questions were asked, and what answers were given.

As you know, there are many extremely well informed individuals on the 'right' side of the argument too.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 04:37
  #4916 (permalink)  
 
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dalek

If you have read the thread in respect of Walters theory you should be in no doubt, as Walter would confirm, that I do not agree with his theory. He has, however, unearthed some interesting information having spoken to people who were present that evening (but not later officially interviewed) and through having carried a detailed survey of the vicinity of the site. It was Walter who matched the "misplotted" waypoint to the HLS.

It was Lt K who initially planned the sortie. As I have said before, an RN Pilot would be acutely aware of the perils of making landfall on a strange coastline heading towards high ground in poor weather. The Investigating Board seem to have assumed that the Lighthouse with its vertical extent was the planned turning point rather than the HLS. I may be wrong - has anyone ever asked Lt K who did the initial planning? If it was a misplot then the pilots actually flying the task should have picked up the error.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 05:03
  #4917 (permalink)  
 
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pulse 1

As my wife and I have lived in France full time for approx 7 years I have no resource to any information in respect of the ZD 576 crash other than that which is in the public domain - it was Brian who sent me a copy of the BOI by PM.

Having spent 14 years as a Captain on 32 Sqn I believe that the asset most required of a VIP Pilot is the ability and courage to say "NO" when the cicumstances demand it. This was not an SAS insertion in a combat zone but a routine Passenger transit flight to be conducted under VFR in accordance with the rules and regulations pertaining at the time.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 07:13
  #4918 (permalink)  
 
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Cazatou,
Within accuracy limits of plotting from a half mil LFC. There is no misplot of the lighthouse.
If the crew planned to acquire the lighthouse visually, and then turn and follow the coast, the vertical extent of the TP would be a real bonus. The vast majority of this thread, and the BOI seem to favour this hypothesis.
During my time flying, I, and many others, would often place our little circles (TPs) next to objects like the Belmont Mast. We never had any intention of flying over the top, but they wern't half easy to find.
I don't know what Lt K chose for his TP. But given the choice what would you choose? I believe that LT K has been approached, but does not want to get involved. Dead end there.
Whatever he chose, he had plenty of chances to tell JT.
In the unlikely event he failed to do both, see Meadowbank 4968.

Last edited by dalek; 23rd Jun 2009 at 07:25.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 07:53
  #4919 (permalink)  
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Briefly back in to point out a touch of hypocrisy.
Originally Posted by Cazatou
I may be wrong - has anyone ever asked Lt K who did the initial planning?
May I recommend some advice given to me by someone called Cazatou in post #4884?
BOAC

Your Post 4881

"I understand the planner to have been an RN Pilot. Was he ever interviewed by the Board?"

That clearly indicates to me, and I expect to others, that you have not actually read the BOI, nor these threads which stretch back some eight years.

Do you not think it would be sensible to rectify that omission before leaping in and pontificating on possible factors bearing on the tragedy? With nearly a decade of discussion to digest you may just find the answers you seek.

Enter the Archives and select "Chinook - Hit Back Here".
Simple really, good advice. He either was or was not asked. If you are asking about an informal 'chat' - hardly evidence, is it?

EDIT to add:
Thank you Dalek for that very basic lesson in low-level nav that seems to escape some of our contributors. As far as I am concerned, there could have been a circle right around the headland of the Mull as a TP and it would not have mattered a jot for normal nav, but the lighthouse would indeed have been my ballpark. As for planning to 'skim' 300' over the top in IMC...............................who are these posters?

Last edited by BOAC; 23rd Jun 2009 at 10:46.
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Old 23rd Jun 2009, 08:10
  #4920 (permalink)  
 
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Cazatou:
This was not an SAS insertion in a combat zone but a routine Passenger transit flight to be conducted under VFR in accordance with the rules and regulations pertaining at the time.
I believe the rules and regulations pertaining at the time required there to be 'No doubt whatsoever' before bringing in the verdict that the ROs imposed overriding the BOI findings. I suppose Air Rank (or being on the staff of these skygods) allows you to ignore inconvenient rules?
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