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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 12th Jan 2010, 11:38
  #6001 (permalink)  
 
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airworthiness issues that seem to have little bearing on this actual flight and the machinations of Whitehall and the dreaded Boscombe Down clique

bastOn

While I respect your right to an opinion, I am uncomfortable with such a stance from any aircrew.


The irrefutable evidence is that the airworthiness regulations were ignored to such a degree that both the CA Release and Release to Service were laughably non-compliant. That was so in November 1993 (initial issue of a fabricated CAR, which had no audit trail whatsoever to any formal Boscombe recommendation; or any other independent advisor) and remained the case at time of accident. That is not my opinion – it is a simple fact and the MoD correspondence proving it was published a week or so ago. As the aircraft did not remotely meet the mandated airworthiness regulations, in particular the appallingly immature status of various clearances (i.e. many completely missing), then I submit this had an impact on the flight safety; ultimately demonstrated by Flt Lt Tapper’s request for a Mk1. He knew.


The sudden denigration of such a respected organisation as Boscombe Down is incomprehensible. You can only be talking about Rotary Wing Test Squadron, as it was they who flagged the major issues preventing CAR/RTS. (And safety critical software being “positively dangerous” is MAJOR). In my experience, RWTS is/was largely staffed by your fellow Servicemen who, by definition, had to have front line experience. (And those I came to know very well had bags of it, not just with the UK but on exchange with Allies in-theatre). The first thing they are taught on taking up post is – here are the regulations. They are not guidelines, lab notes or rumour; but regulations to be followed to ensure the safety of both yourself and your fellow aviators. I have never met one who didn’t understand this and all were keenly aware they would probably be back flying the aircraft in their next tour. It is not their fault that, in 1993, it had been MoD policy for 2 years not to maintain airworthiness.


On Chinook, they did their job. DHP was advised the CAR should NOT be signed. He would have taken this to his boss, DGA2 (an RAF AVM). In turn, they would advise CA to sign (there would be little point walking the document into his office and advising him not to sign). Critically, at every stage ACAS and his staffs had to be involved. Part of the evidence required by CA (a requirement stated in his own CA Instructions) is that, before he signs, ACAS must state in writing he is content and will incorporate the CAR in his RTS. That letter forms a crucial part of the audit trail, confirming he has not been taken unawares by being offered something he cannot Release. This is were gross negligence took place, and only a comprehensive investigation and assessment of documents not made available to any inquiry will reveal who made the decision to ignore Boscombe, and their reasoning. I wonder who the PE > ACAS linkman was? And what reply/instructions was he receiving from his other master?
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 12:08
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Tucumseh

I bow to your far greater knowledge than mine regarding Boscombe Down. I based my view solely on a couple of personal experiences and I apologise to all those brave chaps who clearly have done a great job over the years in areas that I have not wot of!

Sorry.

David
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 12:19
  #6003 (permalink)  
 
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BastOn

Thank you.
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 12:27
  #6004 (permalink)  
 
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Bast0n,

I don't want to drag this out - we'll probably go around in circles

Coming back to a previous question

Originally Posted by bast0n View Post
I realise that the Hine suggestion on deceased aircrew is relevant, but does it rule out a verdict of "pilot error"?
Flipster suggested the alternative findings would be: Pilot Error, Engineering Error, Normal Operating Hazard, Cause Not Positively Determined.

I would still expect that for Pilot Error to be an applicable verdict, you'd have to know what they did. I.e. taking a clue from the verdicts, you would have to Positively Determine that they made an error.

Surely, you either have to take the view that either

A) There was nothing wrong with the aircraft and they just carelessly flew it into the Mull - therefore Gross Negligence

or

B) There is not enough evidence to positively determine why they crashed - therefore CNPD.

You're to a certain degree correct in saying we shouldn't mix up the cause of the crash with the Airworthiness issues. The aircraft was there, and they did fly it.

However, it is clear to me now (and apologies for being so slow on the uptake), that the Airworthiness issues should be investigated fully, and the appropriate changes made.

TN
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 13:10
  #6005 (permalink)  
 
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THOR

Hullo again!

There was nothing wrong with the aircraft and they just carelessly flew it into the Mull - therefore Gross Negligence
I just don't take that view point. I think that there degrees of error and carelessness and gross negligence is the top of the tree. Take a personal incident of mine - I hit a dead tree whilst flying low over the jungle. Now dead trees are notoriously difficult to see against the backdrop and I dinged a tip. No doubt about it - pilot error - too low - not a good enough lookout.
Gross negligence? - no. If I had been beating up the Gurkhas in a clearing - hit a bigger tree - crashed - killed a few people - gross negligence. Court marshall had I survived but what if I had died and there were no credible witnesses left? Bees in the cockpit or on the balance of probability I had ****** it up in spades? What would Hine say?

In this instance I think we are in the "Nibbled to death by ducks" syndrome - but the final act, in all probability on the evidence available was "Pilot error". Not a huge damnation of the crew but a gentle reminder to us all that simple mistakes can have consequences far beyond the simple error, especially as in this case the VVIP load in the back moved the whole disaster up the scale. Had the aircraft been empty would be here now?

Hit a tree in Borneo - no problem - Windsor Great Park whilst the Queen was out riding, man with camera phone, Daily Mirror...........?

See where I am coming from?

David
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 13:50
  #6006 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bast0n View Post
If I had been beating up the Gurkhas in a clearing - hit a bigger tree - crashed - killed a few people - gross negligence. Court marshall had I survived but what if I had died and there were no credible witnesses left? Bees in the cockpit or on the balance of probability I had ****** it up in spades? What would Hine say?
Let's make the hypothetical scenario more akin to the one under dispute.

Everyone killed, no witnesses - ok.
Let's add a little to that...
No data recordings either present or retrievable.
A history of technical problems with that particular aircraft
Serious concerns over the safety and airworthiness of the type.
The tree you hit was the biggest one in the forest and visible for miles around - in fact, so big it had its own weather system surrounding it.

I'd hope your family would hear a CNPD verdict being read out.

Originally Posted by bast0n View Post
In this instance I think we are in the "Nibbled to death by ducks" syndrome - but the final act, in all probability on the evidence available was "Pilot error". Not a huge damnation of the crew but a gentle reminder to us all that simple mistakes can have consequences far beyond the simple error, especially as in this case the VVIP load in the back moved the whole disaster up the scale. Had the aircraft been empty would be here now?
Maybe there wouldn't have been the neccessity to produce such a "case closing" verdict in that case.

Personally, I find it unacceptable that the pilots are being blamed for the accident, and I would feel the same had they been on their own.

Originally Posted by bast0n View Post
Hit a tree in Borneo - no problem - Windsor Great Park whilst the Queen was out riding, man with camera phone, Daily Mirror...........?

See where I am coming from?
Not really - in the Windsor case there would be credible witnesses and more information available. Hopefully that would lead to a fair verdict.

Or did you mean a more high profile incident should lead to a harsher verdict, regardless of the evidence?

TN
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 14:07
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bast0n,

I am genuinely not wishing to sound offensive here but I have never really got my head around where you are trying to come from, I know I am but a simple soul but I am as flummoxed now as I ever was

Like you I suspect the guys quite probably got it horribly wrong on the day but where we depart is that I accept that "I suspect" simply does not cut the mustard with regards to the verdict.

Without clear, concise and fully substantiated evidence how can anyone possibly KNOW exactly what happened that day.

If we do not know EXACTLY what happened we can all surmise till the cows come home, and you and I seem to have a similar mindset, but surely in that case the only possible VERDICT is CNPD and not what the two AM's surmised.
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 15:36
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SFFP - correct!

Bottom Line:


"Balance of probabilities" does not meet the burden of proof of "with no doubt whatsoever" .......end!
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 16:23
  #6009 (permalink)  
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Well, I have several times re-read Dalton's letter and can see no evidence there that he is actually playing a (dangerous) political game as suggested here. I think we are giving him undue credit.

If, as is likely, the letter was (written?) cleared by MOD advisors, it opens an interesting insight into 'positions' being assembled in Lemming House. If the Lemmings are in fact jostling away from the cliff edge, may we hope that we are near a watershed (if there are not too many analogies there) for Brian and all?
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 17:12
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Thor

Or did you mean a more high profile incident should lead to a harsher verdict, regardless of the evidence?
No - the higher profile frightens their Lordships into knee jerk reactions!

“Only when there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever should deceased aircrew be found negligent.”
As I asked before does this also cover Pilot error? I always thought that negligence was considerably higher up the scale. Genuine mistake - Pilot error. Being a prat et all - negligence.

Seldom

This is not an argument but a discussion, and of course you do not offend. I am of the mindset that thinks on the balance of probabilities on the day these poor chaps could be accused of Pilot Error. That's all.

Without clear, concise and fully substantiated evidence how can anyone possibly KNOW exactly what happened that day.
Intelligent experts can, and have in the past, come to conclusions in the circumstances you quote above. "Exactly" maybe not - but 99% sure based on the evidence available maybe.

I do not put myself in that bracket, but I have a point of view........
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 17:24
  #6011 (permalink)  
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Out of interest, whatever happened to a finding of 'error of judgement - excusable/culpable' which was around in my day?
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 17:27
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BOAC

Out of interest, whatever happened to a finding of 'error of judgement - excusable/culpable' which was around in my day?
Sounds reasonable and looks a bit like my view of Pilot Error.
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 18:58
  #6013 (permalink)  
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Good evening all.

I understand that there will be another feature on BBC radio 4 Today programme tomorrow morning.

Regards,
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 19:02
  #6014 (permalink)  
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Excellent - I will be listening!

Before 'some' get too excited with my post
Out of interest, whatever happened to a finding of 'error of judgement - excusable/culpable' which was around in my day?
- I wish it to be clear that I am not suggesting this as a 'verdict' - it is just that it has not been mentioned in any posts here.

CNPD for me.
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 19:10
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At the time of the Chinook accident, an 'Error of Judgement' was defined as 'an honest mistake, accompanied by no lack of zeal', if memory serves. Only rarely applied in HF accidents where the crew survived, perhaps because of the special care required in aircraft operations. Incidentally, you could not be found merely negligent; the board were required to assess the degree (minor/major/gross). The next level of blameworthiness I think was 'reckless'.
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Old 12th Jan 2010, 20:00
  #6016 (permalink)  
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Link to report of the 3 Fellows

Permalink 5976 refers - Page 299 @ 13:16
On 9 Jan 10, the Guardian published this agreed abridged version of our letter which may be found with others on
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/09/chinook-crash-1993-evidence-software

It reads:

In his reply to recent coverage of the “positively dangerous” software implementation in Chinook fuel computers (Letters, 6 January), Air Chief Marshal Stephen Dalton makes three main claims and admissions.

1. The “positively dangerous” status of the software was well known at the time. That being so, perhaps the MoD would say what corrective action was taken, and why it wasn’t corrected before the assistant chief of air staff signed the release to service (RTS) in November 1993?

2. That the above status was “factored into the operating instructions”. These instructions are, primarily, the aircrew manual and the flight reference cards. Successive inquiries, including the MoD’s own board of inquiry, heard irrefutable evidence of the immaturity of these documents. Indeed, the evidence of one Chinook flight commander at the time described them as “incomprehensible to aircrew operating the aircraft”. Again, why did assistant chief of the air staff sign the RTS, given such a fundamental breach of the airworthiness regulations?

3. That the software issue was discounted after the Air Accident Investigation Branch report. This is quite wrong. A search of the report shows no mention of “positively dangerous”, or even the word “software”. However, it does state that the (fuel computer) “operating program” was “not altered from delivery”. That is, it remained in the “positively dangerous” state advised by the MoD’s own experts at Boscombe Down.

ACM Dalton’s letter, far from protecting the MoD’s position, actually admits they knew ofthe problems and adds weight to our submission that the aircraft was demonstrably not airworthy. It is now time for the MoD to say why this decision was made. Who, we ask, would sign to say an aircraft was safe in the face of world-leading, expert advice that the fuel computer software implementation was “positively dangerous”? And why would they do this before taking corrective action?

Finally, as ACM Graydon was the superior of the assistant chief of the air staff, was he aware of his signing the RTS/air force department release (RTS/AFDR) and why he (and controller of aircraft) disregarded the advice of Boscombe Down?

Captain Ralph Kohn, Captain Ron Macdonald and Captain Richard KJ Hadlow
Compiler and co-authors of the Macdonald Report (April 2000)


To refresh memories, I understand that the on-line Guardian copy of the published letter now has a link to our original Macdonald Report of the Year 2000, as now updated by a new Jan 2010 Addendum 4, captioned "HC2 - RAF Acceptance Airworthiness Connotations".

The Macdonald Report may be found on
http://www.scribd.com/share/upload/20816348/2ecf7hocouvm9wc81n

In the context of military accident investigations, may I draw attention to the "Report of Study of Accident Investigation Procedures in the Armed Services" by W H Tench CBE CEng FRAeS, published in January 1987 with recommendations that make interesting reading?

Mr Tench was the former Head of the UK Air Accidents Investigation Board.

On 19 May 1986, he was appointed by the then Minister of Defence Support, to conduct a study with the following terms of reference:

“To examine the reports and investigate the methods of conducting inquiries into military aircraft accidents in all three Services and MoD(PE) in order to establish whether alternative procedures, or any other features, would be more efficient or effective in determining the cause of accidents.”

Here is hoping that someone may find something of interest in our report, but in particular Addendum 4 which was written at the end of last year as a letter to MoD and copied to others in Westminster. The Tench report may be found ‘on line’ (55 pages).

For the "3 Fellows" who prepared the Macdonald report.
 
Old 12th Jan 2010, 21:37
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Without a copy of AP3207 that was in-use at the time, we are all groping for the correct terminology 'like blind men in dark room'.
I seem to remember that the MoD/Govt could not provide such a copy of AP3207 in the HoL Inq era, as no-one had ever thought to keep one!
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Old 13th Jan 2010, 08:57
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Did Mull get featured on Today as Brian predicted? Has anyone an idea of when that was if so? We could then get a link onto the thread. Re discussion about possible findings I feel strongly that there is only one that in all honesty can be arrived at, ie that which Brian calls for. Their airships will have far more immediate and personal preoccupations to dwell on rather than stringing out a tawdry and inappropriate haggle to arrive at a "compromise". For those tempted to do so I repeat that this is a case of right and wrong. Those who know the difference should ensure that they are on the side of right now!
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Old 13th Jan 2010, 09:02
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Angus Stickler had a 4.5 min piece on at about 0845. Not available yet on the Today site, but a recording should appear soon at
BBC News - Today - Today: Wednesday 13th January

airsound
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Old 13th Jan 2010, 09:08
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BOAC,

As I recall from my time in the Service, an "Error of Judgement" was classified as a genuine mistake and therefore was non culpable. On the other hand an "Error of Skill" was classified as culpable - i.e. the guy(s) had been equipped with the skills to get out of the particular situation, but porked it.

I don't know whether there were formal definitions of these for BoIs to consider, but BoIs made the call as appropriate.

Of course in this case, as no-one (with the exception of W & D!) actually knows what happened with absolutely no doubt whatsoever, the only sustainable verdict is CNPD.
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