Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Chinook - Still Hitting Back 3 (Merged)

Old 10th Jun 2004, 21:19
  #1021 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
PM and Channel 4

Thanks to everyone who attended and/or supported any of the 10th anniversary memorials. The plots' families are greatly encouraged by everything done.

Couple of suggestions for you, which everyone is free to take up or ignore as they wish:

1. Letter to Tony Blair - James Arbuthnot MP has secured a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the pilots' case. Please feel free (!) to write to Mr Blair at Downing Street to make your feelings known. No date for meeting as yet, so time to get your thoughts down on paper for the PM's aides to read and (hopefuly) pass on.
2. Channel 4 news coverage - they've bust a gut to keep this issue alive, and the reporters need some of our support. Anyone wishing to help out can write to the following person, letting him know that there are people out there watching and appreciating what they are doing for the pilots:

Jim Gray
Editor
Independent Television News
200 Gray's Inn Road
London
United Kingdom
WC1X 8XZ

Telephone:+44 (0)207 833 3000
Fax: +44 (0)207 430 4868

Adios!
janet walker is offline  
Old 14th Jun 2004, 08:18
  #1022 (permalink)  
Just an other digit
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: a million miles away
Posts: 90
More pressure on the Government from both sides. Chinook was brought up again in the House of Commons on Wednesday 9 June in the Veterans' Affairs debate by
Tam Dalyell and Julian Lewis
Just an other number is offline  
Old 20th Jun 2004, 22:24
  #1023 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: www.chinook-justice.org
Posts: 156
Website update

I've given the campaign website a somewhat belated spring clean this weekend, and generally spruced it up slightly so it should run a bit better too.

A major new report has been added, investigating the BoI process that took place after the crash in 1994. The report was commissioned by Michael Tapper and we are grateful both to Mr Tapper and the author John Blakeley for their permission to add it to the site. It's available to read now - follow the "Reports" link from the main page.

The other new feature is the petition, or more specifically how you access it. Previously it was necessary to add your name by email, and a number of people were understandably uncomfortable with this. By the miracles of modern internet technology you can now show your support using an online form. The petition currently stands at 567 names, and more are always welcome!

www.chinook-justice.org
Chocks Wahay is offline  
Old 21st Jun 2004, 15:40
  #1024 (permalink)  
A really irritating PPRuNer
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Just popping my head back up above the parapet
Posts: 903
Chocks,
thank you very much. Looks great.

Regards, as always.
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
Brian Dixon is offline  
Old 11th Jul 2004, 22:37
  #1025 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: www.chinook-justice.org
Posts: 156
Blimey, I nip off on holiday for a couple of weeks, come back to a deluge of new names on the petition - 592 now! Just shows that interest in the accident is still going strong. Thanks to everyone for your continued support
Chocks Wahay is offline  
Old 12th Jul 2004, 13:08
  #1026 (permalink)  
A really irritating PPRuNer
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Just popping my head back up above the parapet
Posts: 903
May I please echo Chock's last post.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. It is what keeps us all at it!!.... Well that and the small thing of Justice!

As yet, there is no date for the meeting between Mr Blair and James Arbuthnot, despite a follow up enquiry to No 10. My bet is he'll wait until just before the break for Summer Recess (sound familiar?), before meeting.

The MoD also has a list of engineering questions from me, and appear to be having difficulty in answering them. I'm grateful for the two letters explaining there will be a delay, but would really like the questions answered sooner rather than later. I'll keep irritating them!

My best to you all, as always.
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
Brian Dixon is offline  
Old 14th Jul 2004, 20:45
  #1027 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 786
After Hutton and Butler, it would not matter what concerns were raised about this tragic event, the last thing you would get from this establishment would be justice.
And although justice has no expiry date the impact on the public at large would diminish greatly with any more elapsed time after this 10th anniversary - so anyone with any relevent information, this is a last call to you ...
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2004, 22:34
  #1028 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: www.chinook-justice.org
Posts: 156
I understand your sentiments Walter, but we have no intention of quitting until we get justice.

It seems a lot of people agree - the 600th name has just been added to the petition on the campaign's website!

On behalf of everyone involved in the campaign I would like to thank all 600 people who have pledged their support. For those who have yet to do so, please visit the website campaign website and add your name using the online form. Every name lends vital weight to the campaign.
Chocks Wahay is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2004, 01:11
  #1029 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 786
But justice should not be limited to the exoneration of the crew, although they well deserve such, on some technicality which seems so far to be as far as the Campaign wants to go.
The team on board, whatever their seniority, was #1 in the NI theatre - and their loss was profound - every possibility of sabotage should have been considered and not summarily dismissed as has been the case. Justice can only be done when the perpetrators are identified. This process has not even started - the starting point should have been the establishment (1) of the conditions prevalent at the time of the crash, (2) the intended flight path, (3) and crews' practice on such runs for the critical phase - from these facts, which could have been obtained from other crews who had done this run, inquiries could have had some direction.

(1) From the outset the significance of the prevalent conditions for VFR flight has not been made clear - over the sea below the cloudbase visibilty was excellent - one has to have the perspective of someone at sea or in the air above the sea - comments from people on the hillside are meaningless as they would have been IN the localised mist; THE SOLE PROBLEM THAT THE WEATHER GAVE THIS CREW ON THEIR INTENDED ROUTE WAS THAT THE GROUND DETAIL OF THE LANDMASS WAS OBSCURRED THUS PREVENTING ACCURATE JUDGEMENT OF THEIR DISTANCE OFF DURING THEIR HIGH SPEED APPROACH.
If one looked back through the transcripts of the inquiries (or through this thread, for that matter) one would not have got this picture of the conditions - I have spent much time at sea on the coast of NW Scotland; I have even travelled on several occasions as a passenger on a military helicopter at low level along the shoreline in identical conditions; these conditions are common in those areas - and they are no problem for a helo at modest speed when close in - I can see the problem of approaching the shoreline very fast, though.

(2) Helos crossing from NI to this part of the mainland regularly made a bee line for the lighthouse area and then turned close in up the shoreline, at low level; they did so even in these conditions: I personally witnessed one such event while talking to the lighthousekeeper who told me that they did that all the time; although we could not see it from where we stood, the helo on this occasion would have been flying in the clear but with the mist shrouded high ground only a few hundred metres to its right but a clear view over the sea to its left and of the shoreline ahead HAVING MADE ITS SLIGHT LEFT TURN IN TIME.
Only a fleeting comment by one witness at one of the inquiries made the point that such a path up that bit of the coast was common - whether or not ZD576 was intending to do so should have been made clear at the very beginning.

(3) Now if a helo was doing such a flight - a high speed ferry flight, if you like - in such nice conditions (over the sea) and the crew expected to turn up the coast and remain in such nice conditions, it would be a shame to have to slow right down so as not to overshoot the turn - to make the turn in time would have them remaining in the clear and therefore OK for the VFR flight to continue - however, to overshoot the turn would put them in a world of mist and granite and where IFR would have had to have been the rule.
So what would they do? Well. I believe that such a dilemma would have been a common occurrence on such flights and so a practice would have been laid down for such flights - but this is conjecture as no one has addressed this issue, no one has mentioned it at the inquiries, no one has come forward to date - but many have dismissed this scenario on simplistic arguements.
ZD576 did not have the IFR option and must have intended turning up the coast.So how were they intending to do this safely?
ZD576 did not have a radar. This crew especially would not have relied on the TANS. I suggest that they could have used the Distance Measuring function of their TACAN - normally very accurate and reliable. The TACAN CU (Control Unit) in ZD576 was set accordingly - but detractors have pointed out that the Mac TACAN (VOR/DME) would not have given coverage at their altitude and approach - only the RAF can tell us if temporary portable ground equipment was made available for the use of such flights.
It remains for crews who have done this flight to come forward and clear this up.

I hope that you can see that establishing the above points would go a long way - they should have been addressed at the outset.
The significance of the reliance upon such ground equipment is that it can very easily be adjusted to give a false reading - unpleasant as it may be to confront such a possibilty, avoidance of the unpleasant should not be an excuse to avoid looking.
We owe it to EVERYONE on that Chinook to make every effort to get to the WHOLE truth - how I wish we had another team of the calibre of that one to investigate this tragedy - but we don't, and that is a measure of the enormity of their loss.
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2004, 01:27
  #1030 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,988
Walter,

If I understand your question correctly, the TANS, as used in route steer mode, as was customary with Chinook crews, gives an indication of when to turn early in order not to overshoot the direct line between the next two waypoints. This effectively gives an indication of how to "cut the corner" to roll out of the turn directly on track, rather than beyond it.

The only actual evidence of the speed of the a/c before the final turning point was that of the yachtsman, who said that the aircraft ZD576 was flying slowly in sunlight when he saw it, as if it were involved in a SAR. It apparently crashed at high speed a very short time later, in the climb to the accident scene on the Mull.

BTW, I was in NI flying SH a short while before the accident and never heard of the RAF using mobile nav beacons to accommodate this type of flight.
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2004, 16:32
  #1031 (permalink)  
John Purdey
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Chinook

Shy Torque.
I have to say that it is very surprising, after my absence of well over a year, to see the same arguments being put forward about this affair.
As Walter says, its time someone came forward and explained the routines at the time for flying that helo route. Where are you?

Meanwhile, no-one has explained why a serviceable aircraft (at waypoint change) should have continued at high speed and low level towards hills that were, according to the lighthouse keeper, covered in cloud. Please tell us why you would have done it.

We have been here before, but when it comes to the question of proof, then of course there are no cockpit recording devices, but the fact that the aircraft hit the ground about 500 yards to the right of the intended track, and thus faced a hillside 500 feet higher than it should have done, is surely evidence proving that the crew were not where they thought they were?
 
Old 17th Jul 2004, 20:38
  #1032 (permalink)  
A really irritating PPRuNer
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Just popping my head back up above the parapet
Posts: 903
Welcome back to the thread Mr Purdey.

The reason that no one has been able to answer your year-old question as to why a serviceable aircraft continued at high speed towards a cloud covered hillside is that no-one knows exactly what went on. In addition, I must point out that it has never been satisfactorily established as to the thickness and range of the cloud/fog - from the Chinook's viewpoint.

The two known facts are that a waypoint change was made, and the aircraft hit the Mull. Everything in between is speculation, best guess or even a wild stab in the dark.

The fact that there was no Cockpit Voice Recorder or Accident Data Recorder surely means that the pilots should be given the benefit of the doubt. There is not, nor has there ever been, absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

I fear we will have the same discussion all over again.


To everyone who has signed the petition - a very big thank you. To those who haven't I would respectfully ask that you give consideration to doing so.

Whilst we await the response from Mr Blair to James Arbuthnot's request for a meeting, I would ask you all to keep the pressure on wherever possible, and to keep this injustice in the public domain.

Updates as and when I get them.
My best, as always.
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
Brian Dixon is offline  
Old 17th Jul 2004, 23:32
  #1033 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 786
Shy Torque
Thank you for your post - I'll address your points in order:
TANS It is the basic accuracy that is the problem - esp after crossing water - it so happened that ZD576's TANS last reading was accurate at the end but this should be regarded as fortuitous - the father of one of the pilots recalled a flight where the TANS had been out by (as I recall) nearly 2 miles - one of the pilots had actually warned the Flight of the accuracy concerns of the TANS - I do not believe this system would have been used by this crew for anything other than en route nav - certainly not for a close in turn a few hundred metres from danger. DME on the other hand, in normal circumstances, is often more accurate than radar and does not require interpretation - it would have been ideal for this manoevre.
SPEED May I direct you to Boeing's report (on the web) - the sums are done for you but you can use them as a guide to do it yourself from the various timings etc - basically, to get where it did when it did, the a/c must have maintained its speed (at the top end of cruise) for most of the passage over the sea - there was insufficient reserve of speed for it to have ever been going slow (or doing any sort of significant manouevre) and then make up the time - this rather leaves the only scenario as a straight and (approx) level flight at the top end of cruise speed right up to the last moments (when the a/c had apparently responded to an intuitively obvious avoidance manouevre - suggesting to me at least that there was not a control problem or any other kind of mechanical problem and also suggesting that only at the last moment did they realise just how close they had got - by actually seeing the shoreline pass under them, entering the mist, or getting the radio altitude warning, all just about the same time).
SH NOT USING BEACONS This is the kind of input needed. If you could push a bit further and get similar input from those in SH who had actually done this crossing, then this line could indeed be put to bed - my persistence in pushing this line has been due in part to its being summarily dismissed previously with generalisations, simplistic VFR/IMC arguements, what I consider to be deliberately misleading descriptions of the conditions, etc, and a general obfuscation as to the flight plan. However, on the strength of your input alone we cannot yet discount it - although I accept that its likelihood is considerably deminished.
It does sound to me that you may be able to pursue the actual practice through social contacts?
And, there's always a first time for everything - I don't suppose we'll ever know (at this rate) what was the equipment that the American SEALS were looking for near the crash site.
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2004, 08:28
  #1034 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Berkshire
Posts: 45
Speed

Walter

SPEED May I direct you to Boeing's report (on the web) - the sums are done for you but you can use them as a guide to do it yourself from the various timings etc - basically, to get where it did when it did, the a/c must have maintained its speed (at the top end of cruise) for most of the passage over the sea - there was insufficient reserve of speed for it to have ever been going slow
Beware the Boeing calculations. I posted some time ago that these may be misleading in that the initial fix (at zone boundary) was only ascertained by interview with the controller, not by review of radar recordings. Furthermore, it appears likely that the zone boundary position has been miscalculated by up to 2 nm and the estimated winds do not seem entirely realistic. My calculations show that a more likely average airspeed from zone boundary was in the order of 135/136 kts. Of course, this does not prove anything either, except you can't discount the possibility of the aircraft having slowed down at some stage.
Regards

TAC

Last edited by TheAerosCo; 18th Jul 2004 at 10:05.
TheAerosCo is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2004, 09:58
  #1035 (permalink)  
John Purdey
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
CHINOOK

Brian Dixon, Never fear! I shall not weary you or the others by rehearsing yet again what I believe to be the clear cause of the crash. You will never be persuaded.
By the way, did you see the article in the Spectator a couple of weeks ago? A chap claiming to be ex-Air Force wrote at length about procedures, personalities and everything ele he could think of relating to this crash, bit never mentioned the cause of the accident. Regards John
 
Old 18th Jul 2004, 12:25
  #1036 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 254
Since Mr Purdey failed to provide the correct Spectator details, to save others searching here is the article from 29th May.

A slur on the pilots.
Omar Malik says that the Board of Inquiry into the Chinook disaster was manipulated to excuse serious failures in the system

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.p...chText=Chinook

Ten years ago, on 2 June 1994, RAF Chinook ZD 576 crashed into a cliff-face on the Mull of Kintyre. Twenty-five of the country’s most distinguished counter-terrorist officers and the four members of its RAF crew were killed. Sir William Wratten, the commander-in-chief of the RAF command involved, described the accident as ‘the largest peacetime tragedy the RAF had suffered’.

It was more than a tragedy; it was a disgrace. If you wish to plan an aircraft accident, you would be well advised to select a new aircraft of doubtful reliability, with which the pilots are unfamiliar and nervous, choose a day of poor visibility, select a route through mountains too high for the aircraft to fly over, select a cliff-face as the first turning-point, omit to plan elementary emergency procedures, dispatch the aircraft without a review of its flight plan, and then for good measure put 25 of the most gallant and important people available on the one aircraft.

Had such an aircraft operator been an airline, there would have been a penetrating independent inquiry. The airline would have lost its licence to operate and would have been sued to its back teeth for negligence. The RAF conducted its own inquiry. It found that inadequacies in supervision, training or flying standards did not contribute to an accident which was caused by the gross negligence of the pilots.

The attribution of an accident to a single cause is always wrong. Such failure to understand the aetiology of accidents is culpable. There is a whole raft of excellent literature illuminating accident causation, including Turner’s Man-Made Disasters (1978), Perrow’s Normal Accidents (1984) and Reason’s Human Error (1990). Any system of aircraft operation has two concomitant objectives, the achievement of the operation and the avoidance of accident. In peacetime the latter objective has priority. An accident is therefore a total system failure. It is the product not so much of a chronological chain of events as of a row of holes forming a route through system defences. These latent errors await only one more hole, one final event, to complete the system breach. In an aircraft accident this final event is likely to be an action, not necessarily an error, of the pilot, hence the plethora of pilot error verdicts. Single-cause verdicts remove attention from the other items in the row, the system errors. In an accident fatal row, as in a fruit-machine jackpot row, each item is necessary to the outcome. System errors are almost certainly management errors.

The errors in the procedures and planning of the operation of ZD 576 were so egregious that no civil airline captain and probably no RAF transport pilot would have accepted the flight, seeing in a short time that the plan was plain dangerous. The civil pilot’s refusal would probably have been uncivil. A fixed-wing aircraft could have flown the whole route above the mountains, as could the earlier mark of Chinook requested by the captain. To place the country’s 25 counter-terrorist masterminds on one helicopter defies good sense. Normal commercial practice, often a condition of insurance, is to allow no more than three key people to travel together. The tasking of the flight was a benchmark in accident-planning. To attribute the consequent accident to the pilots was a benchmark in injustice.

An RAF board of inquiry (BoI) is conducted by serving officers, not by expert accident investigators. The investigation of the crash was difficult in the extreme. ZD 576 bounced, striking the ground three times, leaving the wreckage in tiny fragments. There was no cockpit voice recorder and no accident data recorder. The Civil Air-Accident Investigation expert was closely confined in his investigation by his terms of reference. 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.

The administration of RAF boards, and in particular their habitual findings of pilot error, has long been a source of disquiet in the service. The root problem is that BoIs are set up and conducted by the command in which the accident has occurred. Thus they are controlled by the senior officers who were ultimately responsible for the operation under investigation.

In 1983 the Air Force Board set up a working party led by Air Cdre Derek Hine to examine BoIs into flying accidents. The working party confirmed the views of the cynics, finding instances of the careful selection of a malleable officer to a board, and of blatant attempts by senior officers to influence a board’s findings. Air Cdre Hine sought to isolate the conduct of BoIs from the command under investigation and to entrust them to a central Inspectorate of Flight Safety. Determined opposition from influential commands blocked both this and his fall-back proposal. But the Air Force Board endorsed his new standard of proof for finding negligence of deceased pilots: ‘only where there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever’. In 1987 continued disquiet led the secretary of state to commission another report. Bill Tench, head of the Civil Air-Accident Investigation Branch, singled out RAF senior officers for criticism of their interference in BoIs.

The BoI into the crash of ZD 576 deliberately withheld important information from the expert air accident investigator, ordered the RAF’s expert Chinook test pilot, Sqn Ldr Robert Burke, not to give evidence, concealed matters relating to the FADEC — the suspect engine control system — and failed to call the MoD’s own FADEC expert. In the case of ZD 576, the interference of the reviewing officers was total. They overruled the board’s verdict and substituted their own, the ‘official’ RAF verdict.

Disgust at this verdict has been expressed in the Houses of Parliament and by distinguished lawyers, thoughtful journalists and the aviation community. It has been approved by a cabal of senior officers, some in speeches of shattering (and worrying) stupidity in the Lords. Other RAF officers cannot comment: if serving they would face charges; if retired they become non-persons to be insulted, as Sqn Ldr Burke was by Labour minister John Reid. Thoughtful written submissions to the MoD by Lord Chalfont, a holder of the Military Cross and former minister of defence, and Lord Murray, the distinguished judge and former Lord Advocate of Scotland, received similar insultingly dismissive replies from the MoD. Lord Chalfont and the members of the Mull Group have worked tirelessly for justice. All this has been to no avail because no serving secretary of state has obliged the RAF to answer for its conduct.

The legality of its verdict could be challenged on several different grounds. The first, Lord Ackner has told the Lords, is ex debito justitiae, in the interests of justice. A second is the total failure of the reviewing officers to substantiate the required level of proof (‘absolutely no doubt whatsoever’). A third is the possibility that the reviewing officers acted ultra vires, beyond their powers. Queen’s Regulation QR 1271 provides that ‘each transmitting authority is to examine the proceedings and record thereon an opinion upon the matters investigated’ (QR 1271(6), AL3/Jun 01, emphasis added). The RAF Directorate of Legal Services has been unable to cite the express authority of the reviewing officers to alter or interfere with the findings. Evidently none exists. This raises the interesting possibility that decades of RAF boards of inquiry have been improperly conducted.

It is clear that several secretaries of state have been caused by the MoD to mislead Parliament. They have not been fully informed of three key issues in the case: firstly, the dreadful flaws in the Chinook BoI, including the withholding of evidence and the intimidation of a key witness; secondly, the long-standing failings of the RAF BoI system; and, thirdly, the RAF’s ignorance of contemporary understanding of accident causation. There are no excuses for Geoff Hoon or John Reid; they were fully informed by MPs, by Lord Chalfont and by others. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, secretary of state at the time of the original BoI, has publicly stated that he was not fully informed. He, his prime minister, John Major, and his fellow defence minister, James Arbuthnot, are among the many seeking the overturning of the verdict.

The RAF BoI was a military tribunal run by amateurs both in accident investigation and in law. Its findings have been rejected by professionals, by a Scottish sheriff, by the public accounts committee and unanimously by the eminent select committee of the House of Lords, whose cross-examination totally destroyed the evidence of the two reviewing officers. However, the select committee failed to understand that what was needed was not a lordly tut-tut, but red blood — lots of it — on the carpet. Only a tabloid feeding frenzy coming their way secures the immediate attention of the Establishment.

This continued injustice is a failure of competence. It is a failure of truth and decency. All of which we have become resigned to with this government. But we won’t put up with it in the RAF.

Omar Malik is a former RAF pilot and BA captain, now associate research fellow at Nottingham University Business School.
HectorusRex is offline  
Old 18th Jul 2004, 15:05
  #1037 (permalink)  
A really irritating PPRuNer
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Just popping my head back up above the parapet
Posts: 903
Hi Mr Purdey,
don't worry you won't wear me down. I'm happy to have open discussion on the issues surrounding the accident. Your reply post makes me feel that I may have caused offence and I would like to say that I certainly didn't mean any.

I have no problem with you having a completely opposite view to me with regards this. I think it's healthy to have differences. That said, I have posted may times before that if someone can come up with something factual and undisputable that persuades me otherwise, I will publically concede the point. Up to now that has never happened. So you see, I could be persuaded - but there's never yet been the hard evidence there to make me change my mind.

I take it that two people reading exactly the same documentation and reaching such differing opinions does not give rise to an element of doubt, and undermines an absolutely no doubt whatsoever requirement. I can't see how it can be anything other than that.

I did see the article by Mr Omar Malik. I thought it interesting and well written. Again, just my own opinion.

Kind regards,
as always.
Brian

"Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
Brian Dixon is offline  
Old 20th Jul 2004, 00:26
  #1038 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,988
Walter,

Thanks for the potted explanation of TANS but I am reasonably well versed in it's use having flown using both Mk1 (Decca) form as well as the Mk2 version. I also flew RAF SH before it was available (the pleasures of changing Decca chains and turret key swaps etc half way along a flight, not a sensible navaid for a 145 kt machine, but I digress).

There is no suggestion that a usable DME beacon was available, other than your theory that a portable beacon might had been laid for this flight. I said it probably wasn't, based on almost 20 years of RAF service but what would it prove if it were? The crew may have actually very little in the way of navaids on the flight. We don't know because there was no conclusive evidence one way or the other.

Regarding the speed question, the Boeing simulation was just that, based on a simple time/distance calculation on other estimates. No way can this be held up as substantiated evidence. It could be argued that it was in the aircraft manufacturer's interest to offer up nothing other than a continued high speed for the whole crossing. I cannot readily believe that a crew, especially one of their calibre, did not do the one thing that is second nature to all SH pilots. If you aren't sure if you can maintain visual flight you slow down. This ethic is drummed into an individual from day one of pilot training, it's so basic because it is self preservation. The only real evidence was given by the yachtsman in a statement and he said the aircraft was going slowly during the time he saw it.

Sorry to be the one to say it, but I don't really think that trying to invent new theories provides much value at this late stage, especially ones involving US Navy Seals searching for special equipment, second Chinooks in the area etc. Sorry not to be of more help in that respect.

P.S. I think that Mr. Malik's article has it all just about spot on.

ShyT
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 20th Jul 2004, 20:46
  #1039 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 786
Shy Torque
<<Thanks for the potted explanation of TANS...>>
I was pointing out that the inaccuracy of TANS and of the particular relevence that this crew were aware of this (warning others in the Flight) and would not have been relying upon it for a close in turn - they had already passed the point at which TANS indicated they should turn - they had no radar - they were relying on their eyes or something else to continue closer.
<<There is no suggestion that a usable DME beacon was available ...>>
The TACAN CU was set to work on the MAC beacon (TACAN or DME) but I agree that they would not have had LOS which means probably no workable signal - although at such short range to it it was worth asking pilots who had done this run at this altitude whether this was the case. The simple answer is for someone ask the RAF if they had something there AT THE TIME - it would have been such a useful facility, one would have thought - this is why I am pushing away on this thread in the hope that someone may pick this one up and answer it definitively - why bother to just criticise when it would be less effort to help clear this up?

<<Regarding the speed question, the Boeing simulation was just that, based on a simple time/distance calculation on other estimates. No way can this be held up as substantiated evidence. It could be argued that it was in the aircraft manufacturer's interest to offer up nothing other than a continued high speed for the whole crossing. >>
I refer readers to the document:
8-7D20-DS S-03 06, Enclosure 4
Dated: June 18,2002
Mull of Kintyre -Analysis of Available Data
Prepared by
James Mitchell
Technical Fellow
The Boeing Company
(available on the internet)
I think that you would agree that this was a decent effort to reconstructing the flight in the absence of any other objective detailed work available. If correct, it does suggest that the a/c cruised along until its last moment evasive manouevre suggesting that the pilots had misjudged their proximity to the landmass. At any rate, it is a very worthwhile read for everyone interested in this crash.
<<I cannot readily believe that a crew, especially one of their calibre, did not do the one thing that is second nature to all SH pilots. If you aren't sure if you can maintain visual flight you slow down.>>
Because they were in clear air and would remain so if they made the small left turn in time - they could see the Mull and would have been able to avoid it easily if they wanted to give it a wide berth and stay out to sea - their difficulty would have been if they wanted to come in close (for whatever reason, and I can think of a very good one) as I know helicopters did at this location even in these all too common conditions (as I was told by the lighthousekeeper and as I witnessed myself on one occassion). It was not that they were in cloud but that the land ahead was shrouded in a ground hugging mist (formed locally as the air rose up the slope - very common there) - given that they were approaching the Mull just about end-on, they would not have had any adjacent topographical features to give a spatial awareness. It is my hypothesis that such an experienced and capable crew would not have come in closer, at the speed that there were travelling at, than the TANS waypoint with such a bad visual reference ahead without having had something else to go on. If those interested plot the position at which the crew updated/changed waypoints on the TANS they may agree that this was already rather too close to carry on relying on eyeball alone - yet there could not have been a control problem at this point, one would have thought, or they would surely not have bothered with the en route nav.
<<The only real evidence was given by the yachtsman in a statement and he said the aircraft was going slowly during the time he saw it.>>
and the first time I saw a jumbo jet I thought it was going so slow that it was going to fall out of the sky - because it was an unfamiliar size/shape with nothing near it to give perspective ... a bit like a mist shrouded headland really.


<<Sorry to be the one to say it, but I don't really think that trying to invent new theories provides much value at this late stage, especially ones involving US Navy Seals searching for special equipment, second Chinooks in the area etc.>>
Actually, this theory goes back to week 1 at which point I started trying to get the authorities to check this possibilty out as, however unlikely etc etc , evidence of tampering with the ground equipment may have been destroyed say with the next maintenance visit - that was the urgency in pushing out this view before the inquiries etc - please understand that, at that time, I naturally assumed that DME would have been used for this leg - an obvious choice, in my opinion - and I had not at that time knowledge of the relative positions of Beacon site and a/c. With regard to the SEALS bit, your spin seems to be aimed at suggesting some conspiracy theory angle, but they were there - should we ignore that fact so as to sound nice and conservative? The second Chinook bit was sent in initially by another subscriber to this site - take that up with him, if you please.
I persist with this line simply because this line of thought has not been properly explored - think about it, 10 yrs after an a/c flies into hill on a regular route and the flight plan and practice for this leg are still not clear. Further, as time passed and details of the inquiries were published, I began to feel that the authorities did not want to contemplate such a possibilty. Whether this is the case or not, I believe that the actual practice of crews making that (regular) crossing at that time should have been made available to those inquiries, in the interests of saving time at those inquiries at least - if you look through the transcripts with the flight plan in mind I think that you will find nothing but obfuscation and misleading waffle from the RAF on this (surely) most basic starting point for understanding such a crash.
<<P.S. I think that Mr. Malik's article has it all just about spot on.>>
In many respects I agree, a powerful article - but of particular relevence to some points I have been trying to make is this paragraph:
<<It was more than a tragedy; it was a disgrace. If you wish to plan an aircraft accident, you would be well advised to select a new aircraft of doubtful reliability, with which the pilots are unfamiliar and nervous, choose a day of poor visibility, select a route through mountains too high for the aircraft to fly over, select a cliff-face as the first turning-point, omit to plan elementary emergency procedures, dispatch the aircraft without a review of its flight plan, and then for good measure put 25 of the most gallant and important people available on the one aircraft. >>
Funny how 10 years on the core of such significant text can have such misconceptions in it (no disrespect to Mr Malik, anyone trying to follow this case could do the same, which is a key problem in this tragic case) like "... choose a day of poor visibility, select a route through mountains too high for the aircraft to fly over, select a cliff-face as the first turning-point, ...". I think that followers of this thread can now see that: visbilty over the sea at low level was good; the route was not over mountains but up the coast; and that turning point, well, that is all that is left - well done Mr. Malik, you have managed to get a wide audience to focus on it - the turn was the crux - and as Mr Malik so rightly implies, it was selected at the planning stage - not a whim of foolhardy cowboys - were they pressured into flying close in for whatever reason (eg operational, masking their approach) or was there a local aid to assist pilots on this regular route at this one awkward point in an otherwise walk-in-the-park VFR flight?
walter kennedy is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2004, 21:51
  #1040 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: uk
Posts: 358
Interesting to read the reporting of evidence to the Lloyd enquiry into the GW syndrome. MRAF Craig is quoted as saying, "the MoD should accept that it has not been able to disprove that the illnesses are not Gulf service-related and to compensate and apologise to those who have been kept waiting far too long"

Is this the same Lord Craig who was vociferous in opposing the acceptance of Lord Toombs' findings in the Lords?

If so, very clear evidence of double standards, I believe.
chippy63 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.