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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

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Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 29th May 2004, 01:12
  #981 (permalink)  
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I would have thought that the conclusion of the BOI was so obviously wrong that it does not need complex legal arguments to push for a full review – let us recap on that conclusion “… that the pilots, Flight Lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Richard Cook, were guilty of gross negligence in crashing the helicopter in thick cloud cover. It ruled that the helicopter was flying too fast and too low when the pilots attempted to take emergency action to avoid a steep hillside.”

This is downright misleading – I believe that the following is a more accurate description of what happened:
“They were flying in clear weather towards a headland shrouded in localised mist on a regular path requiring them to make a slight turn up the coast but they failed to turn in time.”
This is what happened, they just did not commence that turn in time, and this part of the flight plan should have been known to those at the BOI.
Had this been acknowledged, then perhaps the way would have been open to ask the obvious question “why they did not make that turn”.
This in turn would have led to the two possible cases:
1. The aircraft had some momentary control problem;
2. The pilots misjudged their proximity to the landmass.

I believe that case (1) has been thoroughly discussed but most interested parties won’t touch case (2) with a barge pole. I believe that it is possible to find out what the practice was on this regular leg by interested parties pressing the RAF and respective flight members for details. This is how I think case (2) opens up:
1. Pilots maintaining low level in this area had only their own judgement to rely upon to make this turn, or
2. There was a radio beacon provided for their TACAN in its DME function so that such flights would have a nice distance to go reading on a (normally) trusted, accurate system.

Now, if (1) here is the case, we are to believe that, in this high tech world, this commonly used route (the shortest from NI) with this all too common local weather problem had no special practice to assist pilots – a bit like not bothering to put distance markers on approaches to motorway exits. OK if this was the case then RAF planners would surely have a case to answer – and a share in the blame.

If an interested party with sufficient authority would address (2) - ie was there a navigation beacon used etc - with a specific question in the right forum (eg at an inquiry or parliament) then we could put the navigation issue to bed.
I personally believe that the avoidance of specifics on the flight plan in the inquiries has been deliberately misleading – why can be debated when the plan is clarified fully.
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Old 29th May 2004, 11:21
  #982 (permalink)  
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Omar's article also makes the comment, The board of relatively junior officers did not find the pilots negligent, bravely sticking to their guns in the face of their air officer's repeated criticism.

I think it leaves the air marshals still fairly isolated, yet convinced that their opinion is fact. I doubt anything will ever change their mindset.

I'm still researching for you. Hopefully I will get somewhere soon.

Now that Mr Blair has said he will meet a cross-part delegation from the campaign, it may be a good time for you all to write to him. Not only to thank him for agreeing to meet the delegation, but to reinforce the disquiet over the length of time this terrible injustice has hung over both pilots.

as always.

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 29th May 2004, 11:40
  #983 (permalink)  
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Well said Brian.

Is it just possible that after all the previous false alarms, that the light visible IS the end of this long and tortuous tunnel?
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Old 29th May 2004, 12:30
  #984 (permalink)  
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I certainly hope so!

However, if it's the usual obstructive MoD with a torch, I'll be up for the challenge!

Someone, somewhere should've realised by now that I'm not going to go away!

My best,

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 30th May 2004, 11:26
  #985 (permalink)  
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Momentum continues to build - some excellent coverage in the Sunday Times today:

Crash pilots feared Chinook was unsafe link

Fathers for real justice link

This article is the lead story in the Ecosse section of the Scottish edition.
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Old 30th May 2004, 21:17
  #986 (permalink)  
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Channel 4 news tonight did a pretty good job of putting forward the argument for justice. Maybe truth and fact will prevail.
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Old 30th May 2004, 21:52
  #987 (permalink)  
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The Channel 4 news report centred on the forthcoming book written by Air Commodore Bleckley, a retired RAF engineer. This book reports on all the maintenance problems which had been experienced with this particular helicopter before the final flight. This is all factual and apparently included two front engine changes within a few days.

I have followed this campaign pretty closely and I had never heard of this. Could this be the new evidence which the MoD has required before changing thier minds? If it is, it makes them look even sicker than I thought they were. Why was this evidence not brought up at any of the enquiries?
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Old 31st May 2004, 06:26
  #988 (permalink)  
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Chinook inquiry findings 'biased' - BBC 31 May

From your news-reading man ahead of GMT....

Chinook inquiry findings 'biased'

Two former senior military officers have expressed concerns about the inquiry into the Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994.
The RAF inquiry into the crash, which killed 29 people, found the dead pilots guilty of "gross negligence".

But the two helicopter experts told Channel 4 News that there were flaws in the RAF inquiry and called for the pilots to be exonerated.

Air Commodore John Blakeley accused the inquiry's findings of being "biased".

He said that engineering evidence "was not correctly analysed or followed up".

And he added that the RAF's board of inquiry had either been directed to blame the pilots or was not competent to do its job.

His findings have been backed by Rear Admiral Ron Holley - former director of helicopter projects at the MoD.

He described the aircraft's defect history as "not a happy one".

He has called for the pilots to be exonerated, the first former MoD insider to do so.

"The Board of Inquiry's findings were heavily biased in favour of the verdict that the RAF themselves were not questioned on their decision and shortfalls in their process"

Air Commodore Blakeley

The crash, which killed 25 senior intelligence officers and four air crew, was the RAF's biggest peace-time disaster.

The RAF inquiry blamed the pilots, Flight Lieutenants Jonathan Tapper and Rick Cook.

Subsequent investigations raised concerns about the airworthiness of the Chinook - sparking a long-running campaign by the pilots' families, the Church of Scotland, and politicians, including former prime minister John Major, to clear the men of any blame.

Air Commodore Blakeley, who was the RAF's most senior engineering officer during the Falklands conflict, has compiled a detailed report.

He said there was a "significant amount of doubt that the fleet of Chinooks was airworthy", and that the helicopter that crashed had carried "a potentially significant number of defects".

The retired officer said: "The Board of Inquiry's findings were heavily biased in favour of the verdict that the RAF themselves were not questioned on their decision and shortfalls in their process."

The report has been backed by Rear Admiral Holley - former director of helicopter projects at the MoD.

He said: "Air Commodore Blakeley's report is certainly a credible piece of work. The MoD should take it seriously because he has drawn his research from their own aircraft documentation - and that documentation is hugely important.

"The cogent and important point in the Air Commodore's report is the record of that aircraft's defect history. It was not a happy one."
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Old 31st May 2004, 07:50
  #989 (permalink)  
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[The crash, which killed 25 senior intelligence officers and four air crew, was the RAF's biggest peace-time disaster]

Whilst perusing your article on the Chinook Inquiry you refer to 'The crash, which killed 25 senior intelligence officers and four air crew, was the RAF's biggest peace-time disaster'.

I have written to the BBC thus:-

I am afraid this statement is incorrect:-

1> A RAF Hastings transport aircraft crashed near Baldon, Oxon, on 6th July 1965 where all 41 on board sadly died.

2> A RAF C-130 Hercules crashed into the sea off Italy on 9th November 1971 killing all 52 on board.

If you mean it is the RAF's worst peacetime helicopter accident you would then be correct.

Could I ask you to amend your records accordingly

Thank you

John Cooper
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Old 31st May 2004, 10:10
  #990 (permalink)  

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C Hinecap,

Excellent, this is literally great news!

It highlights the great significance of the recent statement by John Major. Now that the he and other members of the government of the day have opened Pandora's box, it has allowed "insiders", who would have been reluctant to make controversial statements at the time, to also come forward.

Some of us knew there was an RAF / MOD face-saving whitewash all along, but now perhaps the real truth about the disgraceful and incompetent way that this aircraft type was rushed into service can be aired in public.

Let's hope B. Liar & co can finish the job soon.
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Old 31st May 2004, 11:54
  #991 (permalink)  
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If you look at the thread more carefully I would gather the comments were meant to relate to the worst loss of so many important and irreplaceable military intelligence personnel in UK history. I would most definitely call that a disaster on its own.

Lets not turn this into a numbers war but look at it from a positive perspective, that at long last, there seems to be a positive effect off all the campaigning to clear the pilots names.

And about time too!
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Old 31st May 2004, 20:48
  #992 (permalink)  
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C Hinecap,

I believe Rear Admiral Holley was Director General Aircraft (Navy) in the mid-to-late 80s. That is, customer, not supplier.

The use of the word "defect" is significant. In law, it has a definite meaning related to Product Liability. If there were truly defects (in any product) then by definition an investigation has taken place and the design contractor has acknowledged liability.

All such records would be available to the BOI, who could order further investigations. Is the "not correctly analysed or followed up" comment a criticism of (a) staff who knew how to analyse and follow up but did not, (b) a system which no longer requires such competencies at the relevant rank/grade, or (c) possible lack of funding to conduct fault investigations in the first place?

I look forward to reading the Air Cmde's report!
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Old 1st Jun 2004, 00:43
  #993 (permalink)  
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Interesting first post, on this thread (and on PPRuNe!)

Do you have a more familiar name?

Are you questioning the implication that the Chinook HC2 was unsuitable for service 10 years ago, or just pointing out semantics?

Incidentally, the history of engine changes on the accident aircraft; (rather unusual, I agree!) was well known to the BOI.

Perhaps only one of the reasons the \'professional aviators\' in the process were more circumspect in their findings?
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Old 1st Jun 2004, 11:04
  #994 (permalink)  
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I have written to my MP, yet again.
Brian, keep up the good work! Thankfully you will not go away. You can be assured that there are an awful lot of people standing right behind you...... and we wont go away either! We are often quiet: but we are resolved.
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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 07:15
  #995 (permalink)  
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Excellent and clear coverage on BBC Radio Guernsey this am.

Obviously a feed from London so likely to be on other local radio stations today.

Report clearly stated pilots were not blamed by Board of Inquiry but blamed by two AMs. Pointed out the momentum to clear the pilots mentioning John Major by name.

See also = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3768157.stm and

[url]http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3749977.stm which states that Blair is wiling to meet politicians pressing to clear names of pilots.
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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 08:28
  #996 (permalink)  
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Ten years on...


Richard Allen
Christopher John Biles
Dennis Stanley Bunting
Desmond Patrick Conroy
Richard David Cook
Martin George Dalton
Phillip George Davidson
Stephen Davidson
John Robert Deverell
Christopher John Dockerty
John Charles Brian Fitzsimons
Graham William Forbes
Robert Patrick Foster
Richard Lawrence Gregory-Smith
William Rutherford Gwilliam
Kevin Andrew Hardie
John Stuart Haynes
Anthony Robert Hornby
Anne Catherine MacDonald
Kevin Michael Magee
Michael Bruce Maltby
Maurice McLaughlin Neilly
John Turbitt Phoenix
Roy Pugh
Stephen Lewis Rickard
Gary Paul Sparks
Jonathan Paul Tapper
John Tobias
George Victor Alexander Williams

Thoughts and prayers remain with them, and their families.

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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 08:30
  #997 (permalink)  
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Excellent coverage this am on Radio 4's 'Today' programme and most (Radio 2 etc) news bullitens.
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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 09:13
  #998 (permalink)  
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I'm at the Mull today in spirit if not in body.

The coverage has been very positive, and I live in hope for justice which must come soon

RIP you 29
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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 10:40
  #999 (permalink)  
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For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Rest in peace.

My thoughts are with the families and friends at the Mull today. Lets hope there will be a positive end to this tragedy, and soon!
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Old 2nd Jun 2004, 11:44
  #1000 (permalink)  
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Thinking of everyone involved.....................
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