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-   -   MoD may destroy Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash records (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/617525-mod-may-destroy-mull-kintyre-chinook-crash-records.html)

Richard Dangle 12th Dec 2019 09:44

Boeing: US regulator admits 'mistake' over aircraft crashes

From the Beeb today...can't post the link, sorry (too much of a noob apparently)


The MOD's airworthiness/regulatory structure is a model of perfection in comparison to the profit driven shambles operated by Uncle Sam


gijoe 12th Dec 2019 09:49

The MOD would never mark its own homework...oh wait a minute.

tucumseh 12th Dec 2019 11:12


Richard, well done for spotting the link. Boeing aircraft certified with poor safety critical software implementation.

As far as I know, the FAA didn't warn Boeing that its implementation in the 737 MAX was 'positively dangerous'; whereas the RAF was warned, in 1993. The AAIB later confirmed this status had 'not changed' at the time of the accident.

That makes the old A&AEE Boscombe Down, part of MoD(PE), more of a 'model of perfection'.

But not the RAF/Air Staff, who then made a false declaration that it WAS certified, and lied to Ministers that it was not safety critical. Nor the current Air Staff, DE&S and MAA, who have continued to vilify those who notified this.

Engines 12th Dec 2019 11:37

Perhaps I could offer some thoughts here...

In my professional view, the FAA and Boeing have serious questions to answer. Not only about the 737 MAX episode itself, but the serious shortcomings that have been revealed in the way that the FAA was discharging its responsibilities for safety management and oversight with Boeing. As for Boeing, I'm confident that they will eventually face charges for corporate manslaughter (or similar). PPrune readers might be interested to know that the FBI has already started a criminal investigation of its own into Boeing.

Personally though, I don't think it's especially helpful to frame issues in an 'extreme opposites' way. I don't think that the FAA's system is a 'profit driven shambles'. But I do think that it has some serious issues to address, and needs to address them quickly. Likewise, I don't think that the MoD's air safety management system is 'a model of perfection' - but it, too has some serious issues to look at.

Looking first at the FAA, to my mind the most significant consequence of the 737 MAX episode might be the possible breakdown of the system of 'national lead airworthiness certification' (my phrase, I apologise if its a bit clumsy) that existed before the crashes. Then, the FAA and EASA basically led the world's civil airworthiness management. If the FAA or EASA said an aircraft produced under their jurisdiction was safe, other nations who were buying the aircraft essentially 'signed up' to their safety assessments.

I think this system might be breaking down. The responses to the two MAX crashes were not co-ordinated, with China, the UK and other nations taking a series of independent actions before the FAA eventually acted, apparently under presidential pressure. In recent weeks and months, there have been a number of indications that individual national airworthiness authorities will carry out their own detailed assessments before accepting anything that comes out of the FAA. In some cases, they are talking about imposing different national safety requirements, including additional pilot training. I would not be surprised if China didn't use the issue to apply more pressure on the US to resolve their trade dispute. Any breakdown in the international air safety system could be significant if it happens.

For the MoD, the greatest risk to safe operation of military aircraft is, in my view, the potential for failures at 'working desk' level to actually carry out mandated instructions, coupled with a failure by the MAA to detect such failures in time. The MoD has spent much time and effort in constructing a new and (allegedly) improved air safety management system. Personally, I believe that there is much about the new system that is good, especially its location within the wider MoD Safety Management Organisation. The new regulations are, in my view (and thats all it is) comprehensive and fairly logically laid out. The 'Duty Holder' system makes a pretty good stab at codifying and clarifying sometimes complex issues of responsibility for air safety.

BUT....having a good system is only half the battle. The other half is making sure that everybody within that system is actually doing what the system says they should be doing. Time and again, MAA SIs make a series of recommendations, many of which are repeating what the regulations and instructions already say. To my mind, the MAA should focus on how it assures itself that the people within the system are doing what they are supposed to do. I'm not sure that its current system of reviews and inspections are doing that. They certainly haven't been doing that to date, as the evidence shows. Example - how did the Hawk PT get its MAA certification and authorisations without the MAA noticing that it didn't have a safety case for the ejection seat? How did the MAA allow it to issue an RTI that involved dismantling part of the seat without calling up the required functional checks? Why did the MAA not notice the long series of reissues of that RTI - a sure indication that there were problems with the original one, problems that generated additional air safety risks. In my appointment as the Sea Harrier Engineering Manager, I know that if I had issued an RTI like that, then reissued it four more times, I would immediately have had a very pointed conversation with senior engineers. Actually, I would never have been allowed to issue an RTI like that in the first place.

So, that's my message to everybody out there. Don't expect 'the system' to keep your aircraft safe. Take personal responsibility at every level. If it looks wrong - report it. Question it. Challenge it.

And here's my question for the excellent PPrune community to consider, if they would be so kind. Is it time for the MAA to set up a 'Whistleblower' scheme? Of course, any 'whistleblowers' would have to be able to go to someone outside the MAA for it to work. There's a challenge.

I apologise for the length of this post, but I thought a subject as serious as is deserved a bit of attention.

Best Regards, as ever, to all those good people within the MAA doing their important jobs,


esscee 12th Dec 2019 13:32

Some very good and well made points.

Richard Dangle 12th Dec 2019 14:54

My non-too-subtle post was simply intended to provoke some intelligent discussion - which it indeed succeeded in doing. Thanks for your valuable insights :ok:

Behind my "poke" was the the notion that no form of regulation (in any industry) will ever be perfect, but a hugely important factor (more so than any given structure IMHO) is the integrity and moral courage of those that work within regulatory and compliance activities (I happen to be one such - not aviation though - but this post in not intended to be an exercise in who has the moral high ground).

Bottom line, you can fiddle with any regulatory regime as much as you like, but if you have the wrong people in it, it won't matter a damn. Conversely the right people will make a decent fist of any given situation.

Which is pretty much what "Engines" said (and much better than me) in the second half of his excellent post.


Chugalug2 12th Dec 2019 17:55

Engines, may I just point out that the majority of the second half of your post is simply in violent agreement with David Hill's book, Red 5, which may be found cruising down a river a mere link away :-

May I also point out that the MAA Technical Director was present at the approval of the improper RTI that condemned Sean Cunningham to his fate? As to the Regs, yes of course they should be followed! It was not following them that cost 29 lives in the OP tragedy and over 70 others in other airworthiness related fatal accidents. So my message to the MAA/MOD is rather than invent new regs simply follow the old ones. It wasn't the regs that were the problem, it was not following them, particularly when so ordered by certain RAF VSOs! The rot had already set in in the years before Mull. You know, in Haddon-Cave's "Golden Period" of Airworthiness?

We have in our midst our very own whistle blower who has been persecuted and derided by the MOD despite, or perhaps because of, his authoritative campaign to reform UK Military Airworthiness. Unless the RAF, MOD, and MAA accept that UK Military Airworthiness was subverted by RAF VSOs to the extent that it is yet to recover, then that reform is stillborn. Unless there be a truly independent MAA and MilAAIB (or whatever the sign writer has been contracted to daub this week!) in existance, both of the MOD and of each other, no amount of good people will change that. :=

Richard Dangle 12th Dec 2019 18:18

Hey Chugalug, good points all...this is an interesting statistic I was unaware of though...

...It was not following them that cost 29 lives in the OP tragedy and over 70 others in other airworthiness related fatal accidents...
I assume the 29 relates to the subject matter of this thread (excuse me for being a bit dull, I'm a noob :))...albeit I'm puzzled because I was under the impression that the actual cause of the accident was/is "unknown". Which kinda suggests there is a "might" missing in your sentence, as in...

"It was not following them that might have cost 29 lives in the OP tragedy" Or do you know something I don't :confused:

As to the other 70 you speak of, can you elaborate that number for us uniformed noobs, cheers.

Chugalug2 12th Dec 2019 20:14

It is merely the summation of the avoidable deaths in airworthiness related fatal accidents covered in various threads on this forum. As you say, the RAF BoI came to no specific accident cause, much to the annoyance of the reviewing officers who of course did know the cause. The fact that the aircraft was grossly dangerous and unairworthy was not revealed either. It has taken a bunch of unknowns to do that. Evidence was submitted to Lord Philip who confirmed that the interim CAR issued by Controller Aircraft was mandated upon the RAF. The CAR said that the aircraft 'was not to be relied on in anyway whatsoever'. ACAS then signed it up as airworthy and it was released to squadron service. The HC2 had a 'training and familiarisation clearance only' for ground training purposes on the day that the RAF put 25 high ranking security officials on board. They died along with the 4 crew members.

This accident should be reviewed and investigated by a competent and independent Inquiry. All the evidence (especially pertaining to actions by the airworthiness authority, aka the MOD, in the years prior to the accident) that has not been destroyed (despite the thread OP) should be made available to it and acted upon, unlike all previous efforts.

Richard Dangle 12th Dec 2019 20:32

Yes, I see what you are saying and we are probably in agreement, except perhaps to the degree of causation between "airworthiness issues" and any specific accident where a definitive cause is unobtainable. No biggy, I think, but as an example I suspect the Mull of Kintyre accident could be revisited by any number of "competent" bodies and the result would be the same "cause unknown". (BTW, was that not the finding of the original RAF Board?? Which was then overturned incorrectly by Wratten and Day? Happy to be corrected if I've got that wrong.)

Anyway, none of this was my original point anyway. I was merely alluding to the fact that all regulatory regimes will be flawed to a degree. The RAF/MOD one at the time of the MoK clearly was. Hopefully lessons have be learnt and applied. The FAA clearly has its issues. As for regulation and compliance within the CAA and EASA, I think that's a *****ing joke, as demonstrated by any number of recent high profile accidents. But I think maybe I've made my point and its time to move on.

Thanks for the discussion...seasons greetings one and all.

Chugalug2 12th Dec 2019 20:46

Ah, the ever popular moral equivalence tag; the FAA, CAA, EASA, and MOD/MAA all suffer accidents. Ergo they are all as bad as each other.

I remind you of Tuc's reply to you above in post #143. Only one of them, AFAIK, ignored a warning that an aircraft was positively dangerous by the professional test centre responsible for discovering such things. It was still positively dangerous when it killed all 29 SOB. Guess which one...

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