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An Inconvenient Truth

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An Inconvenient Truth

Old 16th Jul 2021, 13:14
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Tinribs, at the risk of provoking further outpourings from erstwhile contributors, may I point out that your last 3 'questions' assume that the aircraft was under control by the pilots at the time. For alternative possibilties, delve into the history of the Chinook (and look up the history of Undemanded Flight Control Movements within US Army and RAF service) if you like, but the sad fact is that the questions are simply not capable of being answered because no evidence survived. Two Air Marshals thought otherwise and came to a convenient (to them) conclusion; they have since been shown to have been wrong.

As an ex SH pilot with time in NI on Wessex and Chinook, I am not sure I follow your point about operational missions and other trips. I treated all lives with equal respect, no matter what the nature of the flight; I wasn't aware of any crews who acted differently.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 13:59
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Thud,

In case you have not heard of this bit of Aerobatics (uncommanded) by a US Army Chinook Crew....it is compelling reading.

I am trying to find data that will connect this event aircraft to the one seen self destructing in the "Ground Resonance" video over in "Rotorheads" forum.

A reference Iinked in that thread mentions the aircraft in the video was "the one that went inverted" earlier in its life.


http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/Fl...x_May_1998.pdf
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 14:58
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Hi SAS - I certainly was aware of the incident and referred to it in the previous thread (I'd read the original article while still serving - it should be required reading for EVERY Chinook operator). However, I'm obliged to you for the information about the Proving Ground incident; I had no idea about that aircraft's historical connection to this unfortunate aspect of the Chinook's control system.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 16:46
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Thud
i should have made myself clearer, many aps.
A part of my input was that military missions may have an extra dimension changing the need risk/balance, I do not think and did not intend to infer some lives are more valuable than others simply that some risk to crew might be justified by the passengers situation, the need/risk/balance changes with the urgency of the trip. For instance if soldiers threatened by bad guys will die if they are not rescued the limiting conditions might be different to a routine trip. I understand this element of the military envelope was tested in the Gulf .I wondered if this trip had some underlying factor making it more urgent than it appeared, the nature of the passengers might suggest this possibility
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 18:02
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
Thud,

In case you have not heard of this bit of Aerobatics (uncommanded) by a US Army Chinook Crew....it is compelling reading.

I am trying to find data that will connect this event aircraft to the one seen self destructing in the "Ground Resonance" video over in "Rotorheads" forum.

A reference Iinked in that thread mentions the aircraft in the video was "the one that went inverted" earlier in its life.
The Pegasus CH-47 Chinook Helicopter video archive.

One of the disadvantages of a fully articulated rotor system, such as that found on the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, is the susceptibility to ground resonance. Items to consider in limiting the chances of encountering ground resonance include ensuring that all tires are inflated to 88 psi and all landing gear struts and blade dampeners are properly serviced.
The two videos below show the result of a Chinook helicopter falling victim to ground resonance. The tail number was 84-24156, and was the one that previously encountered uncommanded flight control inputs which resulted in the aircraft performing a barrel roll. After the roll incident, the aircraft was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, and was utilized as a ground test device.
TAKE NOTE: The destruction of the airframe by ground resonance was not the intention of this test regardless of the claims made by those websites who have lifted the video from this URL.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 18:27
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

The publication of the book “Inconvenient Truth” (ICT) has reopened this exceptionally divisive chapter in the air force’s history. I have now divided the matter into two ‘compartments’: one deals with the physical events of June 1994 and the other the events before/afterwards.

I am minded to believe that the flight crew were in error but to what degree, I am not competent to say. As to the events afterwards, the complexities are too difficult and contradictory (if one steps beyond ICT to the other side of the coin) to make a sensible judgement, not having a balanced account of the facts.

The one thing I am certain in my mind about (and knowing some of the personalities involved) is that I don’t believe the many and often abusive comments levelled at these officers, suggesting some sort of massive collusion, is justified.

Old Duffer
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 20:01
  #47 (permalink)  
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Tinribs, may I ask if you have read The Inconvenient Truth? You seem to be making similar assumptions to the ROs. The aircraft was Released to Service by means of an illegal RTS. It was not permitted to fly for any reason, operational or otherwise. The problem was no-one told those that were operating it. You would have to ask the MOD/RAF why it was especially selected for this mission. The a/c captain (and detachment commander) pleaded for a substitute type, any one would suffice. He was denied. Where was the marginal en-route weather? The only cloud that impinged on its tragically short flight was the orographic cloud hugging the slopes of the Mull. It is a well known local phenomena and the planned track should have kept them well clear of it. It didn't. Why not? That is the unresolved issue, the unanswered question that demands a new and independent air accident investigation be initiated. The MOD demanded new evidence. It has got new evidence, but it is time it stopped investigating itself and let someone else do the job, for this and every other military air accident.

I think if you read David Hill's book you will better understand that many of your questions are based on misinformation. That is something (the only thing?) that the MOD does really, really, well.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 20:13
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting read, O-D. The problem with being 'minded' to say anything on such a subject is that it will necessarily be subjective. Saying that there are 2 sides to the Inconvenient Truth 'coin' is like Nigel Lawson being brought in by the BBC to present the other side of the Climate Change 'coin' - by what metric does a particular issue or problem have to have exactly 2 sides? I understand that your certainty as stated in your 3rd paragraph is based on personal, or at least anecdotal, experience of dealing with the senior officers and others.

I will state up-front that I had experience of working/flying with all of the crew on the flight - I had only left the unit on which they were serving 3 weeks before the crash having been on the Flight for over 3 years. I had also done that task (Fort George) on a previous occasion. In the course of my duties I also met both of the senior officers and have my own opinions. For example, I remember the paper exercise that introduced such delights as "CR Bessbrook" et al, where at a stroke the apparent experience level of a very (to use the then-current jargon) "dilute", LCR-heavy Squadron was transformed to majority-Combat-Ready... good Senior Officer move. Some months after the crash I was tasked to fly with the other Senior Officer on the occasion of his visit to units in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a QHI I knew only to ask questions to which I already knew the answer, so when I asked him directly about his own experience of flying a Chinook (I'd already checked with the pilot he'd previously flown with) he chose to lie without hesitation.

These facts and experiences alone leave me 'minded' to disagree with your conclusion. Subjectively, of course - it's just an opinion.

As for suggestion of massive collusion, I am able to form my own opinion based on the evidence offered in the excellent book(s) and my own personal experience of life in the Royal Air Force around that sorry time. The conduct of the ex-Service members of the HoL including one who my father had taught to fly at Oxford and whose first ADC had been my brother, did nothing to persuade me that they were concerned for the welfare or best interests of the servicemen and women who had loyally served under them and who deserved their support.

Entirely subjective, and bound to remain so for as long as the MoD appears to see its role as one of obfuscation and denial.
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 06:39
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Old-Duffer View Post
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The publication of the book “Inconvenient Truth” (ICT) has reopened this exceptionally divisive chapter in the air force’s history. I have now divided the matter into two ‘compartments’: one deals with the physical events of June 1994 and the other the events before/afterwards.

I am minded to believe that the flight crew were in error but to what degree, I am not competent to say. As to the events afterwards, the complexities are too difficult and contradictory (if one steps beyond ICT to the other side of the coin) to make a sensible judgement, not having a balanced account of the facts.

The one thing I am certain in my mind about (and knowing some of the personalities involved) is that I don’t believe the many and often abusive comments levelled at these officers, suggesting some sort of massive collusion, is justified.

Old Duffer
I would never deny anyone their right to an opinion. But, one or two points require a response.

Firstly, to compartmentalise before/after and the accident itself is to ignore the legal obligation the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff was under (confirmed by Lord Philip, and subsequently conceded by MoD) that the aircraft was not to be relied upon in any way. Until one accepts that known fact, no serious discussion is possible.

‘Collusion’ is ‘a secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose’.

To believe there has been no collusion is to reject the written evidence reproduced in the book and its sequel. In turn, that implies these letters are somehow forgeries.

For example, the Chief of the Air Staff wrote to Marshal of the RAF Sir John Grandy saying the aircraft was ‘off course by some miles’. The Board, and even the senior Reviewing Officers, had never said this, yet none demurred. CAS must have appreciated this timely cooperation.

The RAF consistently stated that the fuel computer software was not safety critical. When asked, MoD refused to produce the relevant policy directive, so it was sent to Lord Philip separately. Law Lords tend to accept documented evidence – it makes their job so much easier. That outright lie was both deceitful and illegal. The truth would have immediately cast overwhelming doubt on the safety of the negligence findings; in addition to offering a plausible cause of the accident, be it directly or indirectly.

If I could inject some humour. The ludicrous letter to the media in January 2010 from the then CAS, stating that the ‘positively dangerous’ status of the FADEC software implementation was ‘well known at the time’, is straight from a Brian Rix farce. Thanks for that confirmation CAS, that your predecessors knew it was dangerous yet signed the RTS telling aircrew it was safe. As he clearly knew none of the facts, who agreed to cooperate and mislead him? When the facts were revealed to him the following day, did he take action? No? Then he colluded with others to protect those who lied.

I leave the best to last. When the Chinook airworthiness report of 1992 was revealed in 2011, the RAF Chief Engineer at the time claimed it did not mention Chinook Mk2. It did, 284 times. Not exactly a minor or easily missed typo. Yet the Air Staff then briefed Dr Liam Fox to repeat the lie. When told the truth, Fox had the decency to retract. Again, what action was taken about a Minister being misled, causing him to mislead Parliament?


That’s a lot of people not colluding, yet telling the same lies. Who benefited?
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 08:14
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Old-Duffer

Tuc beat me to it, and he's too polite. You really need to read the evidence and then say why you don't agree with it. You also say the latest book has 'reopened' the case. As Mr Hill points out, the inquiries and conclusions have been set aside but not replaced with anything, The case has always been very much open. Particularly in Scotland, where the national press have published large recently, and later this month there's a BBC documentary.
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 19:13
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Originally Posted by dervish View Post
Old-Duffer

Tuc beat me to it, and he's too polite. You really need to read the evidence and then say why you don't agree with it. You also say the latest book has 'reopened' the case. As Mr Hill points out, the inquiries and conclusions have been set aside but not replaced with anything, The case has always been very much open. Particularly in Scotland, where the national press have published large recently, and later this month there's a BBC documentary.
I cannot understand why it is apparently so hard for TPTB to admit that mistakes were made.
The people involved are mostly retired, settling the issue would just cost a few million pounds, why let this fester?
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 23:19
  #52 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
I cannot understand why it is apparently so hard for TPTB to admit that mistakes were made.
The people involved are mostly retired, settling the issue would just cost a few million pounds, why let this fester?
With respect, I don't think you have quite grasped the situation, etudiant. Yes, those who perpetrated the original and devastating attack on UK Military Air Safety are long retired but unfortunately succeeding serving VSOs have continued to cover up their actions, blaming resultant airworthiness related fatal air accidents on subordinates, sometimes even on the crews themselves. The good of the Star Chamber it seems outweighs the good of the Service. That serves to illustrate the lack of duty of care that pervades those high echelons. So they all have something to lose if they followed your advice (advice which is of course to be applauded).

Because of the cover up the official line is that the time of the subversion of UK Military Air Safety was a Golden Period as per the Nimrod Review. The official line to this day is that the pilots were negligent in contrast to what SoS Fox announced in the HoC. The official line today is that the Military Air Regulator and Air Accident Investigator (they are to all intents and purposes one and the same) is independent of the MOD while still being a part of it. Most such fiction is pedalled here frequently by the MOD's apologists. Oh, and no, the cost is already many billions, quite apart from the tragic cost in lives, and will be many billions more because the meaningful reform of UK Military Air Safety requires the Regulator and Accident Investigator to be independent of the MOD and of each other. That won't happen unless the cover up ceases, as the first thing that one or the other will do will be to expose the gross negligence and illegal acts of RAF VSOs in the 80s/90s and of the cover up since by other RAF VSOs, when the various accidents that resulted are properly investigated at long last and the long hard road of rebuilding UK Military Airworthiness truly commences.

Read the book, where else do you think I get this stuff?
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Old 17th Jul 2021, 23:41
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And yet again, the question that must be asked: if the military air regulator and military air accident investigators are to be independent of one another and the MoD, where do they get their SQEP staff from, and to whom are they responsible?
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Old 18th Jul 2021, 04:46
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great View Post
And yet again, the question that must be asked: if the military air regulator and military air accident investigators are to be independent of one another and the MoD, where do they get their SQEP staff from, and to whom are they responsible?
Alfred

Have you read the Tench Report of January 1987, by William Tench, head of the Accidents Investigation Branch? Not easily found, so I'd be happy to e-mail you a copy. An enlightening read, and it will be clear why MoD had it suppressed. To understand his points, you have to appreciate that the AAIB, IF called to assist a military accident, has a very limited role. It simply reports on the evidence found at the scene; nothing more, nothing less. In a civilian accident, it looks at ALL aspects, including legal, technical and airmanship. Had this been a civilian accident, the AAIB's main question would be 'Why were the crew given an unserviceable and unairworthy aircraft?' - which, for example, its Shoreham crash report dwells on. (Yet in both cases the pilots were deemed solely to blame by authorities; indicating the real problem lies elsewhere, with those allowed to judge their own cases - the 'independence' requirement).

However, in this ZD576 case the AAIB was prevented from carrying out even its limited role, as crucial physical evidence was removed from the scene before it arrived. MoD will not say where it was taken, but no assessment of it was ever made, despite the Release to Service stating that it could cause major problems with the AFCS, fuel computers, nav and comms. MoD then lied to Inquiries that it HAD been assessed, and was benign. The best argument possible for true independence.

To resolve this does not take huge effort or manpower. If I, a bum airframe/electrical fitter, can read a few pages of a report and say 'aircraft u/s and unairworthy', can explain precisely why, and persuade a number of Coroners and two legal reviews of the fact, then it would seem I am, in that sense, suitably qualified and experienced. (And MoD deemed me so). The question is why people with this background are not welcome in the MAA. Does this explain why no BoI/SI report spells out that the vast majority of their recommendations are mandated policy? For example, 95% in the case of Nimrod XV230. In the Cunningham XX177 case, 55 of 59 were mandated; and ALL 50 factors, and ALL root causes, were MoD liabilities. Yet MoD and the HSE joined forces and lied about Martin-Baker. Not only did that transfer blame, but it diverted attention away from the inconvenient truths, more or less guaranteeing recurrence. And than Jonathan Bayliss was killed, with 12 of the factors repeated from XX177. Before considering SQEP, let's get rid of those who encouraged this, and those who stood back in silence.
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Old 18th Jul 2021, 10:35
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great View Post
And yet again, the question that must be asked: if the military air regulator and military air accident investigators are to be independent of one another and the MoD, where do they get their SQEP staff from, and to whom are they responsible?
Well, it isn't going to be easy that's clear, but it is also clear that the loss of UK Military Airworthiness is increasingly having a dire effect on UK Air Power and hence national security. This scandal has lost us entire capabilities, viz Maritime Reconnaissance (only just beginning its faltering steps to be regained), ACO Gliding (a vital source for recruitment, but a mere shadow of its former self), and a large part of the FJ training fleet in the form of the Hawk T1 with its reserve attack capabilities. It has cost some 100 lives and much treasure. It will go on eating away at UK Military Aviation until the MOD/RAF bites the bullet, mans up to what has got us into this mess, and has Air Regulation and Accident Investigation removed from its control.

So what is to be done to get us back to objective air accident investigation and to enforcing the Airworthiness Regulations, which is the key to providing for airworthiness and then maintaining it from start to finish of an aircraft's or system's life? It will hardly come as a surprise if I say that Investigator and Regulator must be outwith the MOD, independent of it and of each other. As tuc points out, a lot of deadwood needs to be cleared out. Both authorities would be headed up by civilian DG's to which their staffs, both military and civilian, would be answerable. Both disciplines follow very complex and arcane procedures and perhaps a weakness in the present system is that Service personnel come and go in short order with scarcely time to get up to speed before they are off to follow another element of their military careers. It may well be that the SQEPs need to be more permanent, and new branches established to provide a core of professional regulators and investigators. Perhaps a mix of them with others with more recent operating and line engineering experience would work. This will all be new and very challenging. A lot will depend upon the willingness and dedication of those involved, for make no mistake the very survival of UK Military Air Power is at stake. The outcome for Air Forces that go to war against others, while riddled with a lack of airworthiness, does not bode well.
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Old 18th Jul 2021, 20:22
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Disgusting.
it still goes on… Waddington E3D, crew chief, EngO and Capt all threatened, allegedly, with Court a martial in 2015/2016.. was brought up on my FS course, but rapidly shut down.
FS is a joke; it’s important, except when it’s inconvenient.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 11:16
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Having read the inconvenient truth, Red 5, and payed close attention to the litany of tragic events in recent decades, I am bound to agree with the general consensus of opinion that the MoD has a substantial case to answer, and however unlikely it is that it ever will, it cannot credibly be allowed to continue to be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to investigating "accidents".
That said, to blame everything on the "bogey man" of the faceless MoD also falls well wide of being the whole the truth, and an open minded observer would find it hard to avoid a conclusion that a dismal safety culture in the RAF was a major contributory factor in every incident.

All of that said, I continue to find myself drawn back to this incident, and what seems to me to be a major point of difference from the others, and that is the question of the Release to Service. In most instances, armed with the full benefit of hindsight, it is possible to see a rolling aggregation of causal factors, holes in the cheese, call them what you will, fatefully coming together to produce the tragic outcome. A series of acts and omissions, some deliberate, some negligent, but pretty much invariably contributed by well intentioned participants who did not for a moment think that their actions could lead to disaster.

The RTS on the other hand seems very different. It would appear that "the system" was working, in that it had identified several major issues with the aircraft, of such combined severity that it could not be test flown, let alone released to service. And yet in a hop, skip, and a jump it found its way onto the flightline, via the most bizarre construct of a newly invented type of RTS, where although the paperwork suggested the aircraft could be put into operation, the "small print" actually precluded its being flown. Why did the individual officer elect to do this? However embarassing and inconvenient (and expensive) the ongoing problems with the Mk2s were, they were not of his making. They were patently nontrivial and a clear risk to life. Why devise a new type of RTS, which, whilst providing a fig leaf to cover his own decision, he knew would more than likely not be properly understood and would not stop the aircraft being put into use? How could the signature of one man take precedence over the considerable body of contradictory evidence not to mention knowledge of many (dozens?) of colleagues, some of them senior to him? Where were the checks and balances? What was his motivation; was this one of the performance objectives he had been set by his superiors? Was he just overly ambitious for his own career ends, or did he just happen to be the cog in a much larger wheel which wanted / needed the aircraft in service at any cost?
IMHO, the root cause of this tragedy lies in the background to the RTS decision, and it is this which needs further investigation. That it was this particular aircraft which crashed, on this particular flight is simply the hand of fate.

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Old 19th Jul 2021, 14:56
  #58 (permalink)  
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f 900 :-
It would appear that "the system" was working, in that it had identified several major issues with the aircraft, of such combined severity that it could not be test flown, let alone released to service. And yet in a hop, skip, and a jump it found its way onto the flightline, via the most bizarre construct of a newly invented type of RTS, where although the paperwork suggested the aircraft could be put into operation, the "small print" actually precluded its being flown.
"The System" most definitely didn't work as it was designed to. Having identified the "several major issues" BD was ignored and then briefed against. The strength of the system as designed is that no one person can subvert it, thanks to the many checks and counter checks. When Controller Air submitted the Interim Use only CAR (which you correctly state prohibited flight for any purpose, other than testing of course) at the request of the RAF, it was ACAS who then issued a caveated RTS, releasing the type into squadron service. He would have been stopped from doing so if such an action was contrary to what had been agreed upon at the highest levels. Why would they feel compelled to agree to do so then? Nobody knows, because none of them have ever been asked! No investigation into the illegal RTS has ever been made. The RAF Provost Marshall was given evidence of this and chose not to reply, never mind to act. My guess would be the primacy of getting the Mk2s back into supporting the Army in NI ASAP, but that is just my guess.

I'm afraid that we need to keep our eyes on the woods here, rather than concentrating on particular trees, be they the Chinook HC2 RTS, Nimrod Mk2 fuel systems, Hercules C1 ESF, Tornado IFF, Hawk MB Mk 10 seat, Sea King Mk 7 HISLs. etc. The woods are the original subversion of the UK Military Air Safety System in the 80s/90s and the subsequent cover up ever since. That was all perpetrated by RAF VSOs at the highest levels. Left to their own devices they will always throw a man overboard (even lesser VSOs) in order to save themselves. There needs to be an independent inquiry into this scandal. Then maybe the need for an independent UK Military Air Regulator and a UK Military Air Accident Investigator, of the MOD and of each other, might finally be acted upon and much life and treasure saved as a result.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 16:43
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
Have you read the Tench Report of January 1987, by William Tench, head of the Accidents Investigation Branch? Not easily found, so I'd be happy to e-mail you a copy. An enlightening read, and it will be clear why MoD had it suppressed.
To help other readers here, I conducted a web search for the Tench Report and found it available here:

https://zkt.blackfish.org.uk/XD864/Tench_Report.pdf

Note of Caution: That particular web page seems pretty interesting, as it deals with the crash of Valiant BK1 XD864 "... on the disused airbase at Spanhoe near Harringworth Northants, with the loss of five crew at 10.38 BST on the 12th of August 1960." However, the overall appearance of the website itself gave me a slightly uneasy feeling, and I did initially wonder if it might be 'a bit dodgy'. My browser plug-ins didn't throw up any warnings, and I also carefully scanned the downloaded 55-page Tench Report PDF, but absolutely no issues were flagged.

I would still suggest being careful, unless anyone else knows differently.

Last edited by MrBernoulli; 19th Jul 2021 at 19:49. Reason: Insert missing weblink, as kindly pointed out by Chugalug2.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 17:28
  #60 (permalink)  
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You do indeed practice what you preach Mr B, by not posting the links you mentioned.

The only site I have discovered that covers Valiant BK1 XD864 and the Tench Report is here, but the latter is on an audio file, not a pdf. I post it because the theme of the site is of untoward interference in the BoI in order to situate the report. The quote at the top of the page should ring a few bells. plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose....

XD864 (blackfish.org.uk)
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