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BOI into the 2012 Tornado Collision over the Moray Firth

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BOI into the 2012 Tornado Collision over the Moray Firth

Old 31st Jul 2013, 14:17
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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What do we need TCAS for when we have CADS?!
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 16:11
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Roger: If original thread title was as per post 4 then fully agree with previous comments.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 18:14
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Just a basic civi TCAS would give some help to any fast jet in certain circumstances. Good bespoke software and a sensible SOP could be very useful. However, it can never be a total panacea in military flying IMO.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 20:59
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Hands up all those who have flown FJs with TCAS. How many of you found you get over-saturated with TCAS alerts in normal training and wish you could turn it off?
In my experience it is a great SA tool when transiting around congested airspace, but it becomes a massive pain in the butt whenever you are doing any dynamic manoeuvring. Constant TCAS alerts from within your formation tend to cause you to become deaf to the system and ignore it at times. "Oh it's just no3 etc...)

There's still a way to go before it becomes truly useful in FJ ops in my opinion.
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Old 31st Jul 2013, 21:50
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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BOI into the 2012 Tornado Collision over the Moray Firth

LAL.
I have. The Hawk T2 and it can be precisely as you say. Every battle turn brings a TA which will then steal one of your MPDs. It also trips off at large angles of climb and bank triggering further avionics warnings (which will self reset but its still annoying!).
It proved useful on several occasions but my worry is the breeding of a blasť attitude to lookout. It is not a panacea in its current form.
As I said previously I'm not going to debate how it could have helped in the accident but I can at least talk from experience when the issue of TCAS in FJs is raised.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 01:40
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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I feel the need to provide a bit of detail missing from Distant Voice's history of the 'CWS on Tornado' saga. It is not a simple question of funding for TCAS being delayed. At the very start of the programme, TCAS implementation was one of the options on the table, but the weaknesses of TCAS within the FJ operating context were considered to be excessive. In a decision which, in hindsight, seems utterly characteristic of its time, UK plc set out to develop a new FJ-optimised CWS. The aspiration was for this to be TCAS-compatible to 'standard' TCAS units; to other platforms equipped with the optimised unit it would be intelligent enough to ignore 'intentional' proximity such as crossover turns, tanker joins, visual combat etc. It would give warnings for 'unintentional' proximity - and, importantly, without requiring the aircrew to make any in-cockpit selections, so it could remain enabled throughout an entire sortie. A worthy ambition indeed, but one that proved to be pie in the sky, as any number of intra-formation near misses and actual collisions could have told the boffin dreamers. After all, what's the difference between a 'tally-visual' 1000ft pass, and a 'blind-no joy' bubble bust, other than a gnat's cock of pressure on the stick and about 0.01 seconds? By the time this concept was abandoned, years and years had passed; the decision to go with TCAS is comparatively recent in glacial DE&S terms. The regression from "work in progress" to "unfunded" broadly coincides with the abandonment of the CWS project; TCAS had to be funded anew because of its rejection within the earlier project.

And, of course, TCAS has its limitations in the FJ context, as identified all those years ago. I am quite concerned by the following statements from those currently operating the system on other platforms:
Constant TCAS alerts from within your formation tend to cause you to become deaf to the system and ignore it at times. "Oh it's just no3 etc...)
Every battle turn brings a TA which will then steal one of your MPDs. It also trips off at large angles of climb and bank triggering further avionics warnings (which will self reset but its still annoying!). It proved useful on several occasions but my worry is the breeding of a blasť attitude to lookout. It is not a panacea in its current form.
because these suggest that whoever handled the Concepts & Doctrine work for that system did a disservice to the users.

Consider GPWS for a minute. A great system, especially when IMC or when conducting dive attacks towards rising ground - but one that in certain (VMC!) FJ contexts, such as valley flying or OLF, can become a hindrance and a downright distraction. It has long been accepted practice, documented in ASOs, that if GPWS produces a high rate of false alarms it should be disabled until terrain or flight conditions allow it to be re-enabled. This is specifically to avoid breeding a culture of ignoring GPWS warnings. Why should similar logic not be applied to the use of TCAS?

Self-evidently, there are situations where having TCAS enabled is entirely inappropriate for the training being conducted - would we expect a formation being 'bounced' to receive TAs against the dastardly bounce dropping in from the high six? No - and given the choice of achieving this by having the bounce squawk standby, or having the formation running with TCAS in standby, the latter option is more palatable to external players (such as ATC and other TCAS-equipped aircraft) who would rather not have a singleton batting around semi-randomly whilst squawking standby.

To follow a line of argument once employed by W.S. Churchill, if we can agree on the example above, we have established a principle - and any further discussion is merely negotiation upon where to draw the line! So, should all members of a formation fly with TCAS enabled, and become inured to the frequent TAs? Should wingmen disable TCAS, relying upon their leader for timely traffic calls (the leader will just have to put up with the TAs)? Or should all members of formations engaged in tactical manoeuvring disable TCAS entirely, accepting that it was never designed to prevent collisions in such environments and that its implementation is intended merely to reduce, not remove, collision risk? All players could continue to squawk to give SA to TCAS-equipped 'strangers'. Even the airline world does not insist on TCAS being used on each and every flight - it can be carried U/S for up to 10 days (although I believe there are moves afoot to reduce this to 3 days... but the point still stands).

The examples quoted above say to me that the "R" in "ALARP" has been cast away in whatever SOPs are being applied on those platforms. Given the high profile of CWS amongst the hierarchy, it is understandable how timid staff officers could recommend blanket use of TCAS during all stages of flight; that doesn't excuse the laziness of thought. Those with responsibility for SOPs and regulations need to have the balls to say why the sub-optimal solution that is TCAS needs to be handled in a certain way in order to extract maximum value from it without hindering training. It is quite reasonable to recognise the limitations of the system as provided, and work around them without compromising the (un-changed) flying task.

Unlike the FJ CWS pipe-dream, TCAS was not designed with aggressive manouevring in Class G airspace in mind, and was certainly not designed to guarantee 100% collision avoidance. To use it with that aspiration in mind is to ignore its fundamental nature.

Last edited by Easy Street; 1st Aug 2013 at 01:55.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 02:20
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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BOI into the 2012 Tornado Collision over the Moray Firth

Easy Street.
I'm not going to disagree with anything you've just written. Speaking as the ex UFSO from the T2 (trust me when i say this kind of thing was debated long and hard) I would just like to play devils advocate for a second. If you were the DDH would you want to be the one in court after a fatal mid air when it was pointed out that you willingly allowed crews to turn off a collision avoidance system? There are lengthy SOPs in force to counter the issues you have mentioned but a better system would be preferable.
Now if you want to debate the impact that the MAA has had on everyday operations then we should probably start another thread (or just contribute to one of the dozens already in existence).
BV

Last edited by Bob Viking; 1st Aug 2013 at 03:20.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 08:22
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Maybe worth pointing out that RAF tankers have been using TCAS for a decade or so. SOP's include utilising different modes to reduce nuisance warnings during certain phases of operation, including formation. Part of the issue is to recognise when the TCAS is not providing a useful function and tailoring your use of it to suit the circumstance.
Easy Street, love that "boffin-dreamers"! Nearly as bad as the retired VSO in-the-loop problem when it comes to military procurement.

OAP

Last edited by Onceapilot; 1st Aug 2013 at 08:24.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 10:15
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BV - MAA a self-licking lollipop??? Surely the reams of pointless staffwork and the generation of fabulously colour-coded risk matrices hasn't actually made day to day operations and training more difficult
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:14
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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BOI into the 2012 Tornado Collision over the Moray Firth

Crab.
I don't know what you're talking about. I, for one, love pointless paperwork and endless spreadsheets. It's the sort of thing I live for and just regret that flying so often gets in the way of my desk work.
Can you sense the sarcasm? I should also add that I have moved on from that role now so I don't really have the right to complain any more.
BV
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Old 5th Aug 2013, 13:45
  #31 (permalink)  
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certainly not designed to guarantee 100% collision avoidance.
Nothing can achieve that, but we can make flying safer. At present the risk associated with Tornado collision avoidance is not ALARP, and that is unacceptable. That is not my assessment, but that of DG MAA back in 2010.

DV
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Old 5th Aug 2013, 20:16
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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BV, Check PMs
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Old 5th Aug 2013, 22:17
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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BV:_
If you were the DDH would you want to be the one in court after a fatal mid air when it was pointed out that you willingly allowed crews to turn off a collision avoidance system?
Well, at least you would have a reasonable case to put, as described by those who tells us that high dynamic maneuvering is a vital (and obvious) requirement of FJ training which would make CWS warnings continuous and superfluous. A rather different scenario to that of giving perjured evidence to Airworthiness Related Fatal Military Air Accident Inquests.

The Royal Air Force needs leaders that are prepared to stand up and be counted and not to shelter behind lies, deceit and the protection of the Star Chamber.

As to the MAA, it is a part of the problem and will remain so until it is independent and separated from the MOD. Ditto the MAAIB, which needs to be independent and separated from the MAA also.
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Old 5th Sep 2013, 23:13
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Surviving crew member

Did you get any news on the surviving crew member? Does anyone know who he is? He's not named anywhere. I've just been up to Califer View Point and saw the Aim Sure XV Cairn in memory of Bailey, Sanders and Poole.
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Old 6th Sep 2013, 09:33
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Plenty of us know him, but I don't think anyone's likely to name him here. He's doing very well, considering!
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Old 6th Sep 2013, 10:20
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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5F6B

He's doing very well
Out of the loop these days but that is good to hear
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Old 4th Dec 2013, 17:35
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Report

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Board of Inquiry's findings into the collision of two Tornado jets on 3 July 2012 over the Moray Firth. [179565]

Mr Francois: The service inquiry into this accident is now complete and a copy of the report has been provided to the Procurator Fiscal, who determines whether a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) will be held and sets the date. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House following either the completion of a FAI or the Procurator Fiscal's decision not to hold one.

Seems it's all done then?
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Old 4th Dec 2013, 19:38
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Yup

Families were (apparently) briefed a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 4th Dec 2013, 19:41
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Yes it is done, but MoD will not release the report to the general public until after the Scottish Fatal Accident Investigation. Why not? In the case of the BOI report into the loss of Nimrod XV230 it was released immediately, and some six months prior to the inquest. This gave time to ALL interested parties to digest the report and raise relevant questions at the inquest.

More of Angus Robertsons questions can be seen at;

BBC News - MP says Tornado crash FAI should consider warning system

Distant Voice
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Old 5th Dec 2013, 00:56
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Nobody needs to name the surviving crew member on this forum - he is named in the BBC link above and was named back in Dec 12 by the BBC in a linked story.
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