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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 27th Dec 2010, 13:25
  #7341 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Chug2. Thanks for the Sermon. JP
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Old 27th Dec 2010, 14:04
  #7342 (permalink)  
 
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JP your gracious thanks, though so typical of you, are entirely unnecessary. My "sermon" (for thus it was, I must admit) was not for you but for those to whom it is relevant. You and I must simply live with our past deeds, whether good or bad.
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Old 27th Dec 2010, 14:09
  #7343 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

Chug2 OK, I was a little over the top, and if that has caused offence then I apologise. Regards. JP
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Old 27th Dec 2010, 14:32
  #7344 (permalink)  
 
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Simple Staffing Questions

Caz,

As someone in the know, and whilst you are "in the mood" to talk about how HQ 1 Gp and HQSTC "staffed" the BoI in the remarkably short time between 3 March and 3 April 1995 perhaps you could also answer the following points:

Neither the BoI nor either of the Stn Cdrs mention the word negligence, but the two senior reviewing officers do, and, clearly therefore, this "concept" must have been developed during the staffing process at 1 Gp. Since both Air Marshals have always made it clear that they saw themselves as part of BoI "process" then the rules of AP 3207 also applied to them. I do not propose to go back over the old ground of how a "degree of speculation" fits with the "no doubt whatsover" rule - that "process" anomaly in the AOCinC's comments is well known and has never been answered satisfactorily. However, the then extant AP 3207 6th Edition March 1993 at Annex G to Chapter 8 requires at paragraph 7 that:

Where a person fails, whether negligent or not, the board should consider the possible human failings of others who placed that person in the situation.

How did the staff at HQ1 Gp meet this requirement - especially given that others were clearly involved in the decision to use a Mk2 against the advice and request of the Detachment Commander, and yet others, many very senior, were involved in the decision to operate the aircraft at all against the recommendations of Boscombe Down. Who, for example, made the decision to allocate ZD 576 to Aldergrove, and what consideration did he give to the known issues with its serviceability - ZD 576, on 25 May, having suffered the last "in-service" incident that led to Boscombe Down stopping its trials. A review of "airworthiness", a word which does not figure anywhere in the BoI, should surely have been a staffing consideration given the status of CA's recommendations and the RTS, let alone all the other known problems with the aircraft?

Or are my suspicions that the policy of allocating blame, dictated from on high, meant that nobody in either 1Gp or HQSTC's engineering staffs did any sort of review at all with everyone quite "content" to continue down the road of blaming the pilots - exactly as the BoI had set out (or been directed?) to do with its confirmation that:

[The BoI made] its early decision to “eliminate as possible causes: major technical malfunction or structural failure of the aircraft prior to impact” and to focus “on the crew’s handling and operation of the aircraft” ?

However, of course, despite this decision we know that the main BoI, even with its many flaws, did not find sufficient evidence to allocate human failings let alone negligence to the pilots!

Again if I am incorrect please put me right, and tell me what staffing the engineering and airworthiness areas received in 1 Gp.

As a second question, to which I guess you must know the answer - when did HQ 1 Gp approach DLS for their confirmation that the Gross Negligence verdict was "lawful" and in accordance with the rules? Since HQ 1 Gp introduced the negligence concept one has to assume that they took this action, which was required by the AOCinC's memo of Febuary 1995 and was confirmed as having taken place to the HofL Inquiry? Between 3 March 1995 and 3 April 1995 there were only some 21 working days - a remarkably short time to get a potentially complex legal response and complete all the other staffing processes involved if this was only being done for the first time.

I look forward to your response to these simple and straight-forward questions.

JB
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 10:00
  #7345 (permalink)  
 
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Chinook

JB. I see that your simple questions took 565 words to express. Please spare us any difficult ones! Regartds JP
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 10:18
  #7346 (permalink)  
 
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Time to count the words, but not enough to answer any one of the simple questions, I see.
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 10:26
  #7347 (permalink)  
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How sad you should feel the need to go to the trouble of a word count - we can all see two fairly 'simple and straight-forward questions'.
How did the staff at HQ1 Gp meet this requirement?
when did HQ 1 Gp approach DLS for their confirmation that the Gross Negligence verdict was "lawful" and in accordance with the rules?
JB - I suspect there may be an internet outage in la Belle France, or unexpected guests or whatever, while others attempt, as usual, to misdirect. No breath-holding, I suggest.
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 11:12
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As I may have mentioned before, nothing in the Haddon-Cave report came as a surprise except his willingness, presumably with MoD's agreement, to name retired 3 Stars. (The fact he demonstrably got the wrong people is another matter).

Hitherto, I have never known anyone at 2 Star and above to be so openly criticised and even in very recent cases (while Haddon-Cave was reviewing) MoD have declined to even contemplate reviewing new evidence on the grounds that the perpetrators are either retired or have moved to another post.

Now there is a precedent. Haddon-Cave was prepared to go back in time to 1998 - 8 years before the Nimrod accident. Given the irrefutable evidence now before Lord Philip, I hope he does precisely the same. (7 years, almost to the day, will do in this case). Not surprisingly, the focus would be on one of General Cowan's predecessors (he was CDL, previously AML, AMSO).

Hopefully, such a focus will serve to right that particular wrong as well, revealing just how ludicrous it was to criticise General Cowan. I have nothing but respect for the man's fortitude since it must have been patently obvious to him that he'd been set up by former "colleagues" who knew precisely when the real damage had been done and by whom. Not unlike the actions taken against the pilots of ZD576.
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 16:22
  #7349 (permalink)  
 
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Diverting Attention

JP,

Fitter 2 and BOAC have already said it all, but congratulations on finding yet another way to divert attention from the real issues. Short enough for you?

JB
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 17:12
  #7350 (permalink)  
 
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JB,

You asked a question, do you really expect an answer


The above posted with tongue firmly in cheek with no actual offence intended
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 22:37
  #7351 (permalink)  
 
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Answers

SFP,

Miracles do happen, but I'm not holding my breath. I have suggested the same questions to Lord Philip's Inquiry so perhaps he will ask them if he hasn't done so already.

JB
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Old 28th Dec 2010, 23:32
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JB,

With the wealth of information that this thread has bought to light I am still absolutely dumbfounded as to how some minds, on the face of it extremely intelligent minds at that, can still be so totally closed to the notion of doubt.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 00:09
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JP:
....you are talking about alleged failures in the heirachy, on which, being long gone, I cannot comment.
Now that tuc has reminded us of the new base line from when the attack on UK Military Airworthiness began, ie the first half of 1987 (7 years preceding Mull), perhaps you can comment on "alleged failures in the hierarchy" JP, seeing as decisions taken in 1987 (or policy changes as the "hierarchy" are prone to call them) may thus coincide with when you were around before you became "long gone".
What are your recollections of such decisions, that were to affect the delicate self regulatory mechanisms of Military Airworthiness Provision as somewhat akin to the asylum inmates being armed with sledgehammers and picks to attack that mechanism until the inevitable happened? If the HC2 was an accident looking for a place to happen it was set on that path in that fateful year. 7 years later it found it, on a Scottish hillside, taking all 29 occupants with it.
That was the point of my "sermon", JP, ie that of the cause and effect of such decisions, which seems to have involved the issuing of illegal orders by Air Rank officers. Those decisions have now to be reviewed and dealt with. My message to those who might be so ordered in future was to learn from such decisions and their consequences, and to be ready with one's response. Others like you and I, now "long gone", can merely live with them.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 00:20
  #7354 (permalink)  
 
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Crikey

With that much at stake no wonder JP is such a staunch supporter of this unjust verdict.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 09:02
  #7355 (permalink)  
 
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Not just the issuing of illegal orders - the servile acceptance of those orders rather than (with a very few honourable, and usually career terminating, exceptions) questioning and refusing to be driven by pension considerations into carrying them out.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 09:48
  #7356 (permalink)  
 
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While I agree with Chug and Fitter, it has to be said that even today the official line in MoD is that it is not an offence to issue an order to make a false written declaration about airworthiness or financial probity. Despite Haddon-Cave, it remains an offence to refuse to obey such an order. Bizarre, but true, and supported in writing at Ministerial level.



And, as I've said before, the issue is largely academic as I have the Ministerial briefing stating I am the only person in MoD who believes the airworthiness and financial regulations should be implemented properly and such "illegal" orders should not be issued.


Of course, the people who wrote the Ministerial briefings were the very people who made the rulings in the first place. A well known principle familiar to anyone with even basic knowledge of the Mull of Kintyre case!


This rather makes one wonder what the MAA does.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 11:39
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Interesting reading. Although it risks straying too far from the purpose of this thread, I wonder if the intro into service of the Lynx Mk7 would benefit from going under Tuc's MAA microscope? It fits into the timescale; I was involved at Sqn level, thought at the time it was just the AAC's way of doing things and got on with it. However, 6/6 hindsight does make me wonder if the procedure (aircraft arrived with no ODM, ACM or even FRCs, just some handling observations) was the first instance of the new regime.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 12:07
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T&B, I suspect that in time just about every UK military airfleet will be seen to have "airworthiness issues" as a result of the decision at the very highest levels to suborn the UK Military Airworthiness Regulations.

It may well be the MOD position, as tuc tells us, that such a decision is legal, and thus orders to implement that policy are legal, but that tells us more about the immoral and illegal mess that is the MOD than it does about the law. Orders to suborn mandated regulations are illegal under UK Military Law, and the place to confirm that is in court, not Main Building. It is an offence under UK Military Law to obey an illegal order rather than refusing and reporting it, as Fitter rightly points out.

In the meantime tuc's point re the MAA is well made. As long as it remains a part of the MOD it cannot be relied upon to implement the Regulations, no matter the assurances to do so, no matter how industrious the sign-writers have been, no matter how far from London it be located. It has to be separate and independent of the MOD, and be seen to be so. Only then may we have confidence that the UK Military Airfleet will resume and retain, albeit slowly, full compliance with the UK Military Airworthiness Regulations.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 29th Dec 2010 at 12:21. Reason: Duty to disobey an illegal order.
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Old 29th Dec 2010, 21:03
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High Level Failings?

I don’t recognise the comments regarding a campaign amongst the high priced help to play down airworthiness issues from about 1987 or so, as stated by tu.

In the Spring of 1990 I set up and then ran for 4 years, the Support Authority (now Integrated Project Team) for a front line jet. As I was not an aero systems (AS) engineer, there was real concern – and not a little bigotry – about why an outsider was doing this and a major issue was air worthiness authority and responsibility; not necessarily the same thing. I was fortunate to work for an engineer two star who took the trouble to discuss the issues with me and to ensure I understood the overriding importance of the subject. The outcome was that I held air worthiness responsibility for ‘my’ aircraft weapon system and my senior AS engineer, the authority.

At this time, the engineers were looking at the implications of licensing RAF engineers to ensure the highest standards of professional competence and the issue of ‘letters of delegation’ were also considered but I believe there were much wider issues and I do not believe licensing ever came about ( I stand to be corrected).

On my jet, I had a budget to run the full test specimen, contracts for advice on structural integrity, ageing aircraft surveys, consultation on a raft of other issues; such as corrosion, fatigue problems, ‘sampling’ of components and ad hoc advice on many matters. There was a team of six experts – all highly skilled and exceptionally well motivated – technicians who examined all proposals to do anything with the aircraft. There were ‘open channels’ to Boscombe Down, industry and AAIB, as well as CSDE Swanton Morley. Maintenance technologies, allowed for revisions to the maintenance cycles but at every turn, the red line was safety and integrity.

The consolidation of the Desert Storm ‘enhancements’ was also pursued in a sensible and safe way and the management of the initiation and re-approval of special trials fits (STFs) was thorough.

At no time during my tenure of office was there any pressure to short cut the system or to compromise on safety and – when I added another aircraft type to my little fiefdom – my insistence that a more elaborate set of remedial actions were implemented to solve a problem, than had at first been proposed, were accepted at 2 star level without demur.

The principal RAF engineer officers on whom air worthiness responsibilities rested would not, I believe, have countenanced any sort of slipshod approach to safety and if there is evidence to the contrary in the period in question, perhaps it should be exposed by those whose view of these matters is higher than my own.
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Old 30th Dec 2010, 07:56
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Old Duffer

An interesting post which doesn’t actually contradict anything I’ve said.

The evidence presented to, and accepted by, Haddon-Cave demonstrated how the adverse effects of RAF policy (not MoD) to curtail spending on maintaining airworthiness was progressive. The problem I have is that he ignored the known start date and inexplicably set his own – 1998. That start date is not something I made up – it is contained in the evidence presented to an inquiry which reported direct to PUS. This evidence was first collated in 1994 and later published in 1996. The report made the point that one Fast Jet project had largely escaped the failings, emphasising what many here say – that it is people who are most important in this. There is another, more detailed reason why RW suffered more, and more quickly, than RAF FJ; but I won’t bother you with detail.

Your 2 Star sounds a sensible man. Most I know are. He cannot be the same as mine at that time – a man who told anyone who would listen that he was fed up with engineers spending money on airworthiness. You will appreciate the structure of MoD means that it only took that one man’s attitude to adversely affect his entire equipment range. Even if the aircraft that used his equipment managed airworthiness well (as you say, many did) the affects of the equipment not being maintained would, over time, creep up on them. I know from experience that aircraft offices do not necessarily get into the detail of ensuring all the equipment is up to scratch, especially when it is common to other types. Platform offices depend on equipment offices to do their job, and assume they will. Likewise, equipment offices (at the time) depended on component offices. MoD runs on such dependencies. For example, the Chinook office clearly didn’t understand the background to the multiple equipment faults and defects noted by the BoI and I would not have expected them to. They relied on my 2 Star. He let them down.

If I asked if you were content that something simple like the RIMs for your Fast Jet’s avionic equipment were valid and up to date I’m sure you wouldn’t know. Your cunning Plan of 1990 would tell you that was a dependency and you relied on (my boss) who, unknown to you, was actively chopping our funding. In 1990-94, I’d say with 100% certainty that they were gradually going out of date. That meant your Safety Case was being progressively invalidated and your RTS audit trail was evaporating. That doesn’t mean you had immediate problems, but I can assure you they crept up on your successors. This happened to some more quickly than others. That it hit Chinook in 1993 is not merely my opinion – it is clearly stated in the evidence of the BoI Report and Boscombe correspondence of the day. But they (the BoI) didn’t explore the problems; perhaps because they didn’t understand the information in front of them.

Sometimes the “hit” wasn’t serious and was taken as a gentle warning. When it hit Lynx the “only” problem was aircrew with short term breathing difficulties (something your opposite number on Lynx took very seriously, but my boss dismissed with “Let them ground the fleet if they want, I’m not paying to fix a (critical) safety problem this year”. I ignored him and made safe – the people aspect I mentioned. On other occasions, the “hit” manifested itself as a catastrophic loss, such as Hercules and Nimrod. But, sooner or later, it hit everyone; to a greater or lesser degree. That is beyond any doubt. And that is what the Haddon-Cave report is all about and why a pan-MoD Military Aviation Authority was established, not a Nimrod MAA.
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