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An Inconvenient Truth

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An Inconvenient Truth

Old 19th Jul 2021, 17:55
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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The audio file referred to by Chug is from a BBC Radio 4 piece on systemic airworthiness failings, by Angus Stickler, on 2 September 2009. It includes an interview with Lord Trefgarne, who commissioned the Tench report, and is referenced in The Inconvenient Truth. Trefgarne talks of his 'despair' at the report being suppressed. The main obstacle was CAS, ACM Craig; who, as Lord Craig, fought hard against the Chinook pilots.

Later that day, defence minister Kevan Jones was also interviewed. He accused one contributor in particular, a retired Sqn Ldr who is here on PPRuNe, of only speaking out after he retired - claiming he did not say anything while serving.

This was an outright lie. In fact, it was his evidence to the Wiltshire Coroner David Masters a few years earlier that revealed he (the Sqn Ldr) had been party to a formal report warning of the risk of C-130s not having Explosion Suppressant Foam. MoD denied the existence of the report, and in fact any knowledge of ESF prior to the XV179 accident. Yet again, a Coroner chose to believe the hard evidence, particularly two MoD ESF specs from around 1970.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 18:17
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
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).
It still begs the question of why?
That a small and self perpetuating cabal of senior officials prevent honest accident investigations and smear the victims is disgusting, but perhaps it is now the norm in the UK, looking at the Post Office hounding people to their death for false misbillings created by deficient computer software.
I guess UK libel laws prevent any more effective public 'J'accuse' document beyond the 'Inconvenient Truth'.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 19:28
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
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 męme chose....

XD864 (blackfish.org.uk)
Chug, my apologies! 🥴

This is where I got the PDF report from:

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

That is the link that came up in my web search. I then worked the url back to get to the page about XD864, and saw the link at the bottom of that page..... and mistakenly assumed it led forward to the PDF of the Tench report. My bad, sorry!

I really just wanted people here to be able to arrive at a web page and choose to download the PDF, rather than have something download straight away. As I wrote earlier, I was initially a bit uneasy about the setup on that website. 🤔

I'll correct my previous post!

Last edited by MrBernoulli; 19th Jul 2021 at 19:49.
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 20:21
  #64 (permalink)  
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No apologies necessary Mr B. On the contrary the Spanhoe Valiant tragedy has many eerie similarities with the Mull one. Unairworthy aircraft (not necessarily generally known then, admittedly), heavily directed BoI (seems likely given the nature and inconsistencies of the report), the operational implications of grounding the fleet if a main spar fracture had been reported by the AAIB Inspector, and a finding against the deceased pilots contrary to AP3207. The link to PPRuNe shows a spirited thread that brought out these points in 2007 et seq. How things become clearer in retrospect!

Valiant crash, Wittering, August 1960 - PPRuNe Forums

Thanks for posting the Tench Report pdf

Chug
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Old 19th Jul 2021, 20:45
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
... the Spanhoe Valiant tragedy has many eerie similarities with the Mull one.
It certainly does!
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 11:17
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There have been many discussions in this thread of the Chinook Mk2’s Release to Service (RTS). However, I don’t think anyone has mentioned how new the whole idea of an RTS was in 1994. I had first-hand experience of its introduction, and I thought my experiences might help inform this discussion.

Around 1992, what was then the MoD Procurement Executive (the (PE)) created a team to look at how aircraft were being cleared and released to service. They did this because it was apparent that it was being done in a wide variety of ways, and this was (correctly) judged to be a risk to safety. Some aircraft fleets used the CA Release as their primary reference, some used the Aircrew Manual, some used both, and everybody handled in service modifications differently. Led by a quite excellent MoD civil servant, the team produced what was known as the ‘GARP’ report – with the passing of years I’m no longer sure what that stood for, but they set out a new system for preparing what was called the ‘Release to Service’ - the RTS. In 1993, I was starting a new job as the Harrier Fleet Engineering Manager within what was then Director General Aircraft (Navy) (DGA(N). Reporting to a highly experienced and capable Commander Air Engineer, my small team was tasked with producing the Navy’s first RTS, for the Sea Harrier FRS1.

We started with the aircraft’s CA Release (CAR) as issued by Controller Aircraft (PE). By then, under GARP guidance, the CARs were being issued in a standardised format with information clearly presented in relevant sections. This formed the backbone of the RTS. We then prepared another section that listed all the Service Modifications that had been cleared by DGA(N). We then ensured that a copy of the current Service Deviation for each mod was added. And that was basically it. Except for a lot of work.

My boss, and the engineer Captain above him made it clear that my job was to assume nothing and make sure that the whole RTS was fully supported by evidence. For each Service Modification my team had to refer to advice from Boscombe and the aircraft DA and present a justification for clearance for service. For some long-standing Service Mods dating back to the Falklands that still weren’t in the CAR, this was a long job. We also worked with the RN’s air staff officers - experienced Sea Harrier aircrew. My team’s work was carefully reviewed by my Commander, then very formally reviewed by our Captain and then finally presented to our Admiral, DGA(N) himself – another air engineer officer - who signed it off. One thing I should make clear – at no stage was I pressured to include or exclude anything in the RTS. I was expected to produce a safe and operationally suitable RTS, fully supported by relevant evidence. It took time, but we got there, and when a short while later we had to repeat the process for the Sea Harrier FA2 RTS, we were in good shape.

The reason I’ve bored you all with this stuff is this – I can think of no possible universe in which my Commander, let alone my Captain and definitely NOT my Admiral, would have let me present an RTS that wasn’t supported by a fully cleared CA Release and which contained whole blank sections for safety critical systems. Let me be clear about this – I was just a joe Lt Cdr engineer, but I knew what was expected of me, and I would never have even thought of doing such a thing. Nor would any of my FAA counterparts.

Another observation. Some of you might have noted that the Sea Harrier RTS was being signed by a VSO who was an engineer. This was normal Navy practice – the RTS was (in my view correctly) considered to be a technically based and derived document and preparing and approving it was a job for engineers, not aircrew. Another reason for this was to ensure that operational pressures did not unduly influence RTS preparation and approval. In the case of the Chinook it was signed off by ACAS – an aircrew officer. I wonder what systems and procedures his staffs had for preparing the Chinook’s RTS? I wonder if they were technically competent to do that job? Were they shielded, like I was, from pressure from senior officers? And could what happened to the Chinook Mk2 RTS still be happening today on another platform? Perhaps out there in ‘SF Land’, where all sorts of stuff apparently gets ‘bolted on’?

Anyway, I hope this is food for thought. Best Regards as ever to all those good folk working hard out there to get the kit into service safely and effectively.

Engines


Last edited by Engines; 20th Jul 2021 at 12:26.
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 12:35
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Good post Engines. You know I agree with all the stuff about DGA(N) and engineers.

The changes you mention were brought about by Piper Alpha (1988), Flixborough (1974), Zeebrugge (1987) and Kegworth (1989). They were implemented in 1992 at Defence Airworthiness Group level, and promulgated to us plebs on 26 March 1993; although ADRP had been running refresher courses for a while for those with airworthiness delegation. The course also covered removal of Crown Immunity.

But they didn't change the basic structure of the release documents. The RAF simply changed from using 'MoD Air Force Department Release', to 'Release to Service'. The content remained the same - Part 1 the CA Release, Part 2 the Service Deviations. The main legal issue, and the main point made by the MoK review in 2011, also remained unchanged - the CA Release was mandated upon the Service. On Chinook Mk2, it said not to be relied upon in any way, and was for ground training and familiarisation (while Boscombe sat waiting for a Mk2 to be delivered to them so they could commence testing and trialling).

GARP (Generic Aircraft Release Process) is, I think, a later change; but it's quite possible the same acronym existed. But that's for another thread(!). I'd left Air Systems by that time, but made a point of asking the lead in ALTG for a copy of the initial policy, which is dated 13 Nov 2003. I think we both know him - a Sqn Ldr (MM) who'd worked on Chinook, and I believe later returned there. My abiding memory of him is standing toe to toe in 1997 with the idiot who was managing Chinook Mk3, telling where he was going wrong and precisely what would happen, and being told to go away. He knew his stuff, and was 100% accurate. When he wasn't giving Mk3 both barrels, you could hear the same racket from downstairs on Nimrod RMPA, where his contemporaries in the RAF were having the same 'discussion'.
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 15:27
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
Good post Engines. You know I agree with all the stuff about DGA(N) and engineers.

The changes you mention were brought about by Piper Alpha (1988), Flixborough (1974), Zeebrugge (1987) and Kegworth (1989). They were implemented in 1992 at Defence Airworthiness Group level, and promulgated to us plebs on 26 March 1993; although ADRP had been running refresher courses for a while for those with airworthiness delegation. The course also covered removal of Crown Immunity.
.
Is Government Immunity and its removal possibly the issue here?
Are people defending the indefensible because of orders from the top?
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Old 20th Jul 2021, 17:53
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etudiant

The Government and MoD itself still enjoys 'immunity', although individuals can be prosecuted. For example, action was initiated after the Nimrod Review against named individuals, but ceased as soon as Thames Valley Police were given evidence of prior negligence by people more senior. But they didn't shift focus, just walked away saying it was unlikely anyone would come forward with evidence. Missing the point that many had, both to themselves and Haddon-Cave.

Same on Chinook ZD576. The pilots have been cleared, but the Inquiries have not been reopened. The only official indication was from the Crown Office in Glasgow, whose Head of Fatalities Unit, David Green, stated that it was now a matter for the Metropolitan Police, as the offences were committed in London (by the Air Staff). One assumes he gave it some thought before putting it in writing. The Met have yet to respond. And won't.

Who benefits?

Perhaps the best clue as to why the Mk2 was released is the confirmation by the RAF Director of Flight Safety in August 1992 that the Army was applying pressure. But there is much more. Boscombe had stated the aircraft was only a prototype. This was generous. It did not yet meet MoD's definition of a prototype. Yet ACAS (AVM Anthony Bagnall) signed the RTS. But what pressure was being applied? Surely, even if a pilot, he understood 'positively dangerous', 'not to be relied upon in any way whatsoever' and 'we've grounded our aircraft, so should the RAF'. It wasn't an isolated memo he may have missed on his day off. It was weekly reports, over a period of almost a year. Another clue may lie in the fact he didn't actually sign a letter of promulgation, which is the authority to conduct Service regulated flying. That wasn't issued until January 1996, by his successor. Was he being clever, to avoid comebacks? An interesting question.
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Old 25th Jul 2021, 10:33
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After re-reading this new book I returned to the author's previous ones. I recommend "Breaking the Military Covenant - Who Speaks for the Dead?" to all servicemen. It's a work of amazing depth and breadth and available free on Kindle Unlimited. Judging by the blurb on Amazon there were problems with a publisher, so you need to get this title, not the unofficial one.
Also, if you pick up BBC Scotland there's a new documentary about the Chinook crash on Wednesday at 2000. Part of a series "Disasters that shocked Scotland".
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Old 25th Jul 2021, 13:52
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Engines :-
I can think of no possible universe in which my Commander, let alone my Captain and definitely NOT my Admiral, would have let me present an RTS that wasn’t supported by a fully cleared CA Release and which contained whole blank sections for safety critical systems. Let me be clear about this – I was just a joe Lt Cdr engineer, but I knew what was expected of me, and I would never have even thought of doing such a thing. Nor would any of my FAA counterparts.
Unfortunately, in a parallel universe that is exactly what was happening. I am glad that you had all that top cover Engines, but your RAF counterparts did not. They were faced with an illegal order, i.e. 'suborn the regs and get the a/c into service as is'. What was expected of them? It transpires that issuing such an order was acceptable (confirmed in writing as MOD policy) but that disobeying it was not. We have amongst us one who did just that, but the vast majority did not of course and we all know how that ended. If your Admiral, Captain, and Commander had confirmed that order (no matter how improbable that might be) what would then have been expected of you? They did not of course and all credit to them for that, but did they just do nothing or did they confront their RAF equivalents and remonstrate strongly with them? Did they pass their concerns up the line so that they went to the very top of the RN? Were those concerns then relayed to the RAF High Command? I am puzzled as to how that same High Command was able to subvert UK Military Air Safety (ie that of the FAA and AAC, as well as the RAF) seemingly unhindered. I appreciate this was way above everyone's pay rate here, but there is usually some feedback down the line, especially if your Service is left with clean hands when another one is not. What was the word, or was there none? If not, I wonder why? After all the FAA was to have its own airworthiness related fatal air accident in due course, which can be traced back with so many others to this same aberration.
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Old 25th Jul 2021, 21:51
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Originally Posted by dervish View Post
...a new documentary about the Chinook crash on Wednesday at 2000...
Replaced by Olympics highlights. Nevertheless, those outwith Scotland will be able to watch via the BBC iPlayer after the (rescheduled) broadcast.

bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000yc6n (noob can't post links.)
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Old 25th Jul 2021, 22:46
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Disasters that shook Scotland

It's on Sky 194, Virgin 162 and Freesat 108 on Wednesday at 2000.

Polecat
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Old 26th Jul 2021, 16:04
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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Reply to Chug Post

Chug,

I’d like to reply to your last post, which, as I read it, posed three questions:

1. What would have been expected of me if I’d been given an order to ‘suborn’ airworthiness?
2. Why didn’t senior RN engineers confront their RAF equivalents about the issues with the Chinook Mk2, and:
3. How did the actions of senior RAF officers lead to the FAA’s own airworthiness issues?

Firstly, I apologise to everyone here if I ever give the impression of being an important or good air engineer. I wasn’t. I was no more than average and sometimes not even that. I was lucky to receive a very good training and to have had excellent bosses who guided and led me to do a reasonable job.

To your first question – I trusted my superiors to be honest and right, and they trusted me to do the right thing. If I was given a reasonable order, it was my duty to carry it out. If I didn’t think it was reasonable, I was expected to say so. An example might help.

Early in my career as a Lieutenant, I was what the RAF would call the ‘JEngO’ on my first front line squadron. One of our Sea Kings landed onboard for a crew change with a whistling noise coming from the rotor – I had the aircraft shut down and saw that a section of the rotor blade’s rubber leading edge strip had worn away and was coming off. I told the crew to shut down so we could get it in the hangar and replace a section of the strip. My Senior Pilot, (with a lot more experience on the aircraft than me and senior in rank) was due to take the aircraft on its next sortie. He strongly told me that the aircraft was ‘wholly serviceable’ and that I would get the aircraft to fix when he’d finished his sortie. I replied that it wasn’t his decision, it was mine, and the aircraft was going to be shut down. The Senior Pilot got quite loud and shouty, so I suggested that we should take the discussion elsewhere - we found a quiet compartment while the aircraft was shut down and stowed.

The SP shouted a bit more, and fingers were pointed at the general area of my chest. Direct orders were given and I was asked if I understood that I'd been given those orders. However, I had no option but to tell him that the decision on serviceability wasn’t his, it was mine, and if he didn’t like it he could get on the radio and talk to my boss, the AEO (RN parlance there). After a pause, the SP snorted ‘very well then!’ and stalked off. But later that day he came to see me, acknowledged that it was my call not his, and that I’d made the right call. He reminded me that I would have far harder decisions to take in the future and that talking to the aircrew before I made them would always be advisable. Our subsequent working relationship (which included some significant operational stuff) was based on strong mutual respect and was excellent.

To your second - my guess would be that the ‘stove piping’ of the various services’ engineering systems gave very few avenues for any RN engineer to question or challenge the actions of ACAS and his staff. One senior RN AEO serving at Boscombe is mentioned in the book, and I am reasonably sure he would have had a view on the Mk2’s RTS – but it was being signed off by an ‘operator’, ACAS. I am certain that no RAF aircrew VSO would have taken the slightest notice of an RN engineer of Captain (or indeed any higher) rank. Nor would anyone in MoD, given the RAF’s grip on the higher political levels. Remember as well that at this time there was no overarching airworthiness authority that spanned the MoD and the three services – frankly, what went on in the RAF stayed in the RAF and this was generally the case for the other two services.

This reflected what I subsequently saw (yeah, hindsight, I know) as a systemic failure within the Uk’s military airworthiness management systems to look out for best and worst practice, and to then apply the lessons. There were simply no effective systems I ever encountered to get the Services (and MoD) together and ‘compare and contrast’ systems and methods to mutual benefit. In one of my last jobs working in the MoD, I tried to set up a ‘cross platform group’ to address serious issues that were affecting several platforms installing the same piece of kit. My team had developed some great ideas that could have been used by others to good effect and we’d have loved to get ideas from others. No interest at all.

To your third question – I think that Tuc could better answer that one, but I’ll give it a go. The RAF was (quite understandably) seen as the lead service on all things to do with aircraft. They had (and probably still have) strong political support at high levels, and that made ‘taking on the RAF’ a loser’s game. The RN got on with what it had been given as best it could, but there was little it could do once the RAF had effectively taken control of the MoD’s logistics support systems, I guess in the 1980s. Many of the airworthiness related decisions were taken by MoD civilian personnel, and by the 90s, the rot had set in across many departments. Could RN engineers have made poor decisions? Absolutely – humans can do that. Generally, the RN had good control mechanisms to catch them – but not always.

Sorry, this has been a long reply – but I thought Chug’s post deserved a proper response.

Best Regards as ever to all those young engineers out there today doing the right thing when it’s required. Keep on doing it.

Engines
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Old 26th Jul 2021, 16:34
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“Firstly, I apologise to everyone here if I ever give the impression of being an important or good air engineer. I wasn’t. I was no more than average and sometimes not even that.”

Engines, as far as I knew you, you were an excellent engineer and the pilot’s friend at all times. You were also eloquent and good company. Pity about the nose-biting though!

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Old 26th Jul 2021, 17:48
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Mog,

Ah, yes, the nose biting....an unfortunate example of my many failings. But by God, it was fun at the time! Not that my victims agreed....

Engines
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Old 26th Jul 2021, 18:44
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I’ll take Engines’ mention of me as an invitation to try to answer the same (excellent) questions, from my viewpoint and own experiences.

1. What would have been expected of me if I’d been given an order to ‘suborn’ airworthiness?

When given such an illegal order I was expected, and legally bound, to challenge it. I have been given illegal orders by civilians and senior officers of two Services.
Two examples of more serious events.
When told by a civilian in 1999 to make a false declaration in airworthiness documents, I refused. He went bleating to a senior RN officer; who confirmed my refusal was an offence, and warranted a formal warning. This was upheld by our 2 Star (i/c Chinook, Nimrod, etc.), the Chief of Defence Procurement, and two Cabinet Secretaries. His decision stood, and the protection this afforded the civilian is directly linked to nine deaths – 6xRN, 1xUSN and 2xRAF. However, I have never received an illegal order from an RN officer.
In 1992 an Air Vice Marshal deemed the same refusal a dismissible offence. My sacking was avoided by Director Internal Audit, in a report to PUS, giving AML/Chief Engineer both barrels. The events preceding this form the background to the ‘savings at the expense of safety’ confirmed by the Nimrod Review; and so are linked to scores of deaths.

2. Why didn’t senior RN engineers confront their RAF equivalents about the issues with the Chinook Mk2?

I know of two senior RN officers, both I think known to Engines, who railed against the RAF policy of running down airworthiness. Both were Senior Captains; one, in FONAC, wrote saying AMSO’s policies were an ‘indictment on the way we conduct business’. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was more than most and the target was a 4 Star. But a mere Senior Captain is going to be ignored if he doesn’t have top cover.
I also recall that the letters of airworthiness delegation from AML/Chief Engineer (from April 1994) only allowed you to report problems in your own little area. That is, he didn’t want to know about systemic failures. Again, many deaths occurred as a direct result of the CE ignoring these warnings, mainly from Directors of Flight Safety. As the Government confirmed on ZD576, very senior RAF officers cannot be wrong by virtue of their rank.

3. How did the actions of senior RAF officers lead to the FAA’s own airworthiness issues?

Historically, the RN was content for suitably qualified and experienced civilians to carry out many roles the RAF demanded its own officers do. In 1991 they were transferred to AMSO, subject to RAF policies, and one step further removed from the RN. The RAF ensured they had no voice by shutting down the oversight committees chaired by these civilians in June 1991.
But it is also necessary to say the run-down of the FAA, and some 2 Star posts becoming 1 Star, meant, for example, the Sea King AEW Mk7 MAR was signed in August 2002 by an Air Vice Marshal, DGES(Air), and the RTS by CINCFLEET – a very significant change from the period related by Engines in a previous post. The project office technical staff had been stood down in March 2001, and technical leadership assumed by a civilian physiologist – who was permitted to self-delegate airworthiness and technical approvals. When XV650 and XV704 collided on 22 March 2003, the Mission System had the same status as Chinook Mk2 in 1994 – not to be relied upon in any way. Due to various interactions, this affected Comms, Nav, IFF and more. Also, the RTS allowed the use of equipment that had been prohibited in the aircraft since 1998 on safety grounds; and both aircraft had mandatory safety mods missing – again, same as Chinook. Whoever wrote that RTS had no idea whatsoever about RN Sea Kings or the Mk7 programme; but even now I find it astonishing that the squadron, at least, didn’t point these things out. The aircraft wasn’t sufficiently mature, but it was frustratingly close. The problem was not necessarily the need for more time; it was that the above non-engineer had cancelled risk mitigation contracts; and these 3 known risks manifested on the same day and were deemed the 3 main contributory factors by the Board.

A bloody mess, and I wish the MAA well should they ever decide to try to do something.
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Old 26th Jul 2021, 21:58
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Engines, Tucumseh, many thanks to you both for seeking to address my somewhat impertinent post. It was a sincere attempt to get beyond the Inter-Service ballyhoo and drill down to how and why UK Military Air Safety has got into such a mess and what is to be done about it.

Engines, you say that,
The RAF was (quite understandably) seen as the lead service on all things to do with aircraft..... The RN got on with what it had been given as best it could, but there was little it could do once the RAF had effectively taken control of the MoD’s logistics support systems, I guess in the 1980s....
Well, did the RN ever try? I don't find it understandable at all. The FAA was deprived of spares support from the very get go, so what did the RN High Command say or do?
The single phrase that sums up this developing scandal is that, "Evil happens when good men do nothing". If the RN High Command thought it could accommodate RAF control of its aircraft support systems it was rudely awakened on 22nd March 2003. It now shares deck space with Army and RAF aviation, fixed wing and rotary. A bring your own unairworthiness invite? No man is an island, even less so the 21stC UK Military Services. So why hasn't the RN leadership challenged that of the RAF and demanded meaningful reform of UK Military Air Safety? Even now would be better late than never. You tell us that taking on the RAF is a losers game. My answer would be that not doing so is much much worse!

I notice that you assiduously addressed my questions (for which much thanks) but avoided the very one alluded to above. Did FAA Engineers pass their concerns to the very top and what if anything did the RN High Command do to address them? I wouldn't expect SO's to do anything other than their professional very best, and it is clear that you and tuc did just that by the anecdotes you have posted here and elsewhere. BZs to you both. But what about your leadership? While you were doing your very best what were they doing? We have a very clear idea about what the RAF's leadership was doing, and it is not good. So what of the Senior Service? Without airworthy Naval Air Power the Royal Navy is as bereft as is the Royal Air Force, and its very survival is just as threatened. Why hasn't it cried out for reform?

Tuc, your story is well known to the PPRuNe readership and suffice it to say you are respected and revered for the stand you have taken on behalf of all UK Military Aviators. On behalf of them all, thank you! To coin a phrase, Air Safety Concerns Us All, and as aviators we should all strive to ensure and safeguard it. You are steadfast, along with Engines, in the superiority of the FAA system of Air Safety and in particular of the precedence of Engineers in providing for it. In the event though the RAF bulldozed through such excellence and it provided you no protection from the RAF VSO clique that set out on its monstrous mission to tear down all that you had dedicated yourself to. However, you say that you never received an illegal order from a RN officer, yet instance one who supported an illegal order given you by a Snr CS! You'll forgive me I hope if I call that splitting hairs. The RAF VSOs that continue the cover up of the illegal acts of their predecessors share the same guilt to my mind.

You both decry the blatant attacks on RAF Engineers, and their replacement with those without engineering skills and expertise, in the RAF take over of UK Military Aviation support, and yet this was done under the auspices of the RAF's own Chief Engineer! I can but add Amen to that. As far as I can see it is now only the RN that can lead the fight back to reform and restore UK Military Airworthiness, by calling for an Independent Military Air Regulator and Air Accident Investigator, of the MOD and of each other. Unless and until that happens the outlook for UK Military Aviation, whether based on sea or land, is poor if we are ever confronted by another Air Power.

Last edited by Chugalug2; 26th Jul 2021 at 22:20.
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2021, 10:26
  #79 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
f 900 :-


"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.
Chug,
You seem to have applied a rather narrow and literal interpretation to my last post, en route to your attempt to detract from it, which I am struggling to understand as we seem to have reached similar conclusions and are saying similar things.
I am very much concentrating on the "woods", but do feel that there is a particular tree which could beneficially be shaken to illustrate the central strand of the issue.
Let me try again in plain, simple terms.
A seemingly sane, rational, experienced individual finds themselves in a position of responsibility and seniority. They fully understand their position and responsibilities, having worked towards them throughout their career, a career which they hope / anticipate has yet greater heights to reach. Their responsibilities include authorising the Release To Service of aircraft, a recognised and critical protection, signifying, in simple terms, that the aircraft is "safe" to be transferred to squadrons for operational use.
Along comes Chinook Mk2, by which time the project is late, over budget, and to put it mildly a known problem child. The individual has had no personal involvement in the project hitherto, so bears no personal responsibility for the problems up to that point. In seeking to discharge his duties responsibly, he decides to ignore the rumours and gossip, and familiarises himself with the body of written materials and opinion. A very clear picture emerges of serious and multiple safety critical issues, and no amount of rose tinted spectacles can transform it into a positive one.
The obvious path is to decline to issue a RTS pending resolution of the issues. Whilst every RTS will be made with some degree of residual safety risk remaining, the Chinook Mk2 residual risk was overwhelming, and could not be glossed over. It would not have required a huge degree of insight or imagination to realise that this was the correct and logical course of action.

So why wasnt it followed?

There seem to be only two possible reasons.
1) The individual saw an opportunity to win Kudos for himself by "solving" the problem at the stroke of a pen, providing much needed helicopter capacity to the line in the process.
2) He was ordered to do it.

Acting off his own bat in the particular circumstances seems a step too far given the extent of the risks, and the number of people in the know. The decision to restrict the scope of the RTS to basically preclude flying the aircraft is both a clue to his acting on orders, and one of the most cynical acts I have come across for some time. Whilst providing a line of defence should the worst happen (as of course it did, in short order) it was well understood that once the aircraft arrived with squadrons, it would be flown, the small print in the RTS being unknown / overlooked. An embarassing procurement saga could morph into a business as usual tidy up of the aircraft in service, with the odd crash here and there being swept under the carpet and likely explained as operationally related. Nothing to see here, move along....

The subsequent cover up and smearing of the pilots in this incident would surely not have been undertaken just to protect a lone officer who made a poor decision for his own ends? They only make sense in the context of his having been ordered to grant the RTS, and a full scale circling of the wagons being needed to protect those involved.

In my view, having this individuals actions examined under oath offers an opportunity to expose the whole rotten mess in black and white. The particular dramatis personae of this case have all now left the scene, but the repercussions would likely be felt by their successors. This particular tree would shed a lot of light on the wood.
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Old 27th Jul 2021, 10:54
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: uk
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Chug

Originally Posted by Chugalug2 View Post
However, you say that you never received an illegal order from a RN officer, yet instance one who supported an illegal order given you by a Snr CS! You'll forgive me I hope if I call that splitting hairs.
My excuse is that some of us with exaggerated centre partings have no hairs to split.

The last time I spoke to the RN Captain he was devastated over the AEW mid-air, and had come to realise what he'd been told a few years earlier by his engineers, Boscombe Down and Westland was correct. I do not know if he was questioned by the Board of Inquiry, but believe an officer of his rank should have been able to approach the President, a fellow Captain, and point him in the right direction. A key question would have been why no 2 Star review of the residual risks had taken place, which would have exposed (again) that mitigation was cancelled on the grounds the risks would NEVER occur.

As for his ruling on the matter of fraud, nothing can excuse his failure to retract when given the opportunity.

Sorry, I digress from the thread subject, but the same offences were committed on Chinook.
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