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Chinook Justice

Old 6th Feb 2002, 12:17
  #21 (permalink)  
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Seriph

Your surname doesn't happen to begin with D or W does it?
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 12:18
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Perhaps you elect not to climb to Safety Altitude because the aircraft you're flying has been rushed into service without clearance to fly in icing conditions - conditions which you will undoubtedly encounter by climbing?

If your navigation system is unbounded (has no GPS or DME auto-correction) and has drifted without you having been alerted to the fact, if you think that you're exactly where the navigation system tells you that you are - and you see what looks like a small fog bank ahead, do you risk a short time in fog knowing that you'll be turning away from high ground shortly - or do you pull up into dangerous icing conditions?

And if your company has decided that it can't afford to fit ADRs or CVRs to your aircraft, let alone an accurate navigation system or a fully-tested full-authority digital engine control system, how will anyone know beyond any reasonable doubt whatever that any subsequent accident was caused by an error of judgement in accepting a brief entry into IMC which you've probably done many times before, or whether your navigation system has wandered, or whether your FADEC has glitched......or what on earth ever really happened? Simple - they cannot possibly ever know and all they can conclude is that the cause was not positively determined. All that can be concluded is that the aircraft flew into terrain - it can't be certain whether that was a CFIT accident or due to FADEC fault causing what was effectively a UCM.

I echo the comment regarding the decision to fly so many senior intelligence people in the same aircraft at the same time....WHY?

[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: BEagle ]</p>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 12:22
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Sirwa . .They were adhering to Draconian icing limits that the new Mark II was under at the time (+4 Deg C)

Seriph. .It all centres around a waypoint change about 30 secs before impact. The fact that they made the change on the nav computer suggests that they were working VFR and were planning on continuing to do so. If they were aborting they would have done so at c.3000'/min and c.80kts,no question about it. They didn't. Their climb was an inexplicable 1000'/min at 150kts, something even the Chinook doesn't have the power in reserve to do. The suggestions are a UFCM or an NR overspeed necessitating a climb to droop it back to 100% ot thereabouts. Neither are unheard of in the Chinook and at the time the new Mark II was particularly strange in the problems it was throwing at crews; you need to read the report mate.

Edited for dodgy typing. .[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: Hengist Pod ]

[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: Hengist Pod ]</p>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 14:07
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great news - and maybe we will now get another investigation into "Why" as we are no longer putting all the blame on the pilots. Don't hold your breath.

I trained with John Tapper on BFT and am delighted for his family, and that of Rick Cook that this shameful stitch up job has been exposed at last.

I was also in the Falklands when the first HC2s arrived and remember hundreds of pages of maintenance manuals being faxed down because the RAF didn't have the paperwork. The aircraft was sent south before the books arrived in the UK from Boeing and I never saw one airborne in the 4 months I was there.

As for why all those people were on one aeroplane, the answer must be stupidity. We make sure that the royal family are split up amongst a number of aeroplanes when they travel en-mass.

But another question is, why use a helicopter in the first place? Surely (and no disrespect to the chopper boys) a fixed wing transport or two would make more sense in terms of safety.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 15:20
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I quite agree with Seriph and Neo. The pilots were flying IMC in sea fog at high speed towards what they knew to be rising ground. Have done it myself now and then, for various reasons (one of which, incidentally, was when asked by . .some 'pongos' in the back to 'do a bit of low flying to give them a thrill').

I feel that the MOD would be right in sticking to their guns, however, Blair, being a politician, and politicians being spineless vote chasers, will inevitably overturn the MOD ruling in the end.

There are certain obligations on armed forces senior officers. And one of those is that you have to make hard decisions and then stand by them, however unpopular they may be. Its all part of leadership, and the 'loneliness of high command'.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 17:03
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What a load of toss!! I've flown Navy single and multi crew helicopters. I've "given the pongos a thrill" by low flying as well, I've even come close to a nasty once or twice when alone. The risks I might have accepted once on my own in a single crew helo were several levels lower than those I might have contemplated suggesting with another pilot next to me.. .I flatly do not believe that two military pilots together would blithely fly into fog at low level in that neck of the woods. The last poster should bear in mind that the last time they were seen, they were NOT flying low in fog, they were VMC. Following that, hands up everyone here who can honestly say they have had a computer runaway up or down when flying helicopters. (No FADEC in my day) I have, in both directions, and that was in far more technologically simple a/c than the HC2. There is no time to get the checklist out, with a runaway up, your prime consideration is preventing the whole rotor head going aviating on its own. Runaway down simpler - you generally have no choice but land!

These guys were set up to take the rap for the mistake of assembling so many experts in one aircraft which then crashed. Nothing to do with the crash per se, just the appalling administrative procedure. Bill Wratten was always regarded as a political animal, and look where it's got him now. Now maybe if the pilots had been ethnic minorities, spoilt junior quasi royalty, children of politicians, asylum seekers....... then Tony's lip would already be quivering as he churned out the sympathy, the angst, the Royal Pardon.

Apology.......look at that pig reaching V2.

(and then blamed it all on the previous Government!!)

[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: Splot1 ]</p>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 17:10
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Seriph, Neo, and Percy.

I guess yesterday was a pretty bad one for you, and the disgraced theories you insist on clinging to. Look on the bright side, it was probably a much worse day for Wratten and Day. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for them knowing the truth is now 'out there'.

Yesterday, the reputations of these two pilots was unambiguously restored. The only reputations now at stake, are those of the Air Marshalls, and with them that of the Royal Air Force, and the Ministry of Defence.

Percy said, "will inevitably overturn the MOD ruling in the end." Here, here. Very well said.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 17:17
  #28 (permalink)  
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From today's Daily Telegraph

<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$1TW2V0IAABB4LQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2002/02/06/nchin06.xml&sSheet=/portal/2002/02/06/por_right.html" target="_blank">http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$1TW2V0IAABB4LQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/news/2002/02/06/nchin06.xml&sSheet=/portal/2002/02/06/por_right.html</a>

Lords inquiry clears Chinook crash pilots. .By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent and David Millward. .(Filed: 06/02/2002)

. .TWO pilots found guilty of "gross negligence" by the Ministry of Defence after the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook helicopter crash were cleared yesterday by a specially constituted House of Lords committee.

The Mk 2 helicopter was carrying 25 senior intelligence and security officers from Northern Ireland to a conference at Fort Campbell in north-east Scotland. Twenty-nine people died.

An RAF board of inquiry, an air accident investigation board inquiry and a Scottish fatal accident inquiry all ruled that they could not determine what had led to the crash.

But two RAF air marshals, reviewing the RAF board of inquiry, rejected its failure to accord blame and amended it to find the captain, Flt-Lt Jonathan Tapper and his co-pilot Flt-Lt Richard Cook, experienced members of the RAF's special forces flight, guilty of "negligence in the gross degree".

The House of Lords committee, chaired by a retired law lord, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, and including two QCs, Lord Brennan and Lord Hooson, dismissed the air marshals' conclusions.

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day, C-in-C Strike Command, who was then Air Officer Commanding No 1 Group, which is responsible for helicopter operations, was the first of the air marshals to review the board of inquiry.

As such it was he who initiated the allegation of "gross negligence". He was supported in that judgment by Air Chief Marshal Sir William Wratten, the then C-in-C Strike Command.

The committee said Sir John's conclusions "must be weakened by his reliance on matters which he treated as facts but which have been demonstrated to our satisfaction to be not facts but merely hypotheses or assumptions".

It pointed out that the RAF's rules on boards of inquiry at the time stated that only in cases in which there was "absolutely no doubt whatsoever" should deceased air crew be found negligent.

It concluded unanimously that the air marshals were "not justified in finding that negligence on the part of the pilots caused the aircraft to crash".

The crash has been shrouded in controversy, in part because of the nature of the passengers but more recently after the "gross negligence" verdict and problems with the Chinook Mk 2, in particular its FADEC computerised fuel control system.

The Lords committee heard that the Mk 2 had been introduced into operational service in November 1993 despite the fact that the MoD's aeroplane and armament experimental establishment at Boscombe Down refused to recommend its release because of the FADEC problems.

An independent contractor called in to review the FADEC software had stopped after finding 486 anomalies. The MoD in its evidence admitted that there had been five occasions when the equipment had malfunctioned during flight in the run-up to the crash.

Allegations that some pilots had refused to fly the Mk2 were "an over simplification", the MoD told the committee. But witness A, a member of the same special forces flight as the pilots, described problems he and his colleagues had experienced with the aircraft.

The committee also heard from the AAIB investigator that the evidence as to what had happened was "extremely thin" and it was impossible to rule out that the controls had jammed.

Both witness A and Sqn Ldr Robert Burke, who at the time of the crash was the maintenance test pilot for the special forces flight, gave evidence suggesting control jam was a possibility.

The truth was that no one would ever know why the helicopter had crashed, the committee concluded.

Relatives of the pilots welcomed the report which, they said, effectively cleared them and called on the MoD to reverse its verdict.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 17:17
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Incidentally, it never ceases to amaze me just how far from the established facts (few though they are) those seeking to justify the charge of negligence, allow themselves to stray.

Do try to appraise yourselves of the details of the case before revealing your ignorance. (perhaps that is why you find the current state of play so difficult to accept!
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 17:20
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So what is the concensus of opinion here then?

"Not Proven" or "Not Guilty" ?
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:00
  #31 (permalink)  
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Not guilty. . .And in future, the culture of "it's not the machine which is at fault, it's the man" which appears to exist within the higher echelons of our armed forces needs to be rectified.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 18:53
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I think that the politicians will overrule the MOD in the end, incorrectly in my view, but on the grounds that there could have been some remote possibility of a technical failure which prevented the pilots from extracting themselves from a dangerous situation that they had placed themselves in in the first place. The likelyhood of that really having being the case, in my view, would be in the region of about a .01% probability. However, as his Tonyness is a master fo 'spin' I think that he will probably use that line of reasoning to pacify what he believes is the 'public view'in the case.

My own feeling is that the MOD should stick with their decision.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 19:04
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In that case PD I suggest you read the transcripts. .here <a href="http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldchin.htm" target="_blank">http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldchin.htm</a>

You are in for a rude awakening. There is doubt everywhere in those - therefore NO gross negligence. While you are at it read the posts over on the Military Forum.

Right now the brush I am holding paints a pretty picture of you as an AM!! Very tacky!
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 20:49
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NOT GUILTY - and never were!. . <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0"> <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 20:50
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Sir Kit Braker

The answer to your question is not guilty.

The conclusion in the report (link above) will show you how fragile the case was against the two pilots and how it was supported by supposition that do not stand up to scrutiny.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 21:03
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Sir Kit Braker

If you can only read the conclusion of the Lords report you will see how fragile the case was against the two pilots and how the assumptions (not facts you will note) that led the two AMs to their conclusion were so effectively demolished.

Percy

I hope the calculations you make in your day job (see your profile) are more realistc than your calculation in your last posting.

However, I accept you may not have read the report.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 21:32
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slj,

I guess PD would probably recommend Equitable Life to his clients, on the basis that the senior management had to make hard decisions and then stand by them, however unpopular they may be!

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Old 6th Feb 2002, 22:32
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Percy,

From one of your Posts - "There are certain obligations on armed forces senior officers. And one of those is that you have to make hard decisions and then stand by them, however unpopular they may be. Its all part of leadership, and the 'loneliness of high command'."

I quite agree with you that the AMs have certain obligations.

Firstly, they are obliged to set an example to their subordinates by following their own rules, in this case regarding "burden of proof". The BoI did this but the AMs chose to overturn the decision for whatever reason(s) they had. No-one has managed to unearth any evidence which irrefutably points to negligence. Even you grudgingly admit there is a "0.01%" chance that it was something else. That is why the AMs were in error attributing blame as they did.

Secondly, Leadership is all about weighing evidence and having the courage to admit that you may have got it wrong. IMHO, the AMs have another hard decision to make in the light of the numerous Investigations/Reports. It is time they demonstrated real courage and honour and agreed that they 'may' have made a mistake and that there will always be some doubt as to what actually happened on that fateful day.

Leadership requires Credibility. Dictatorship does not! At present, the Government, the MoD and the two individuals concerned (1 retired) are a bit short in the Credibility stakes. But keep digging guys. Anyone with any common sense now knows the two Pilots have effectively been cleared of the charge of Negligence - their honour restored. The only question left for the AMs, MoD and Government, 'Can you restore your credibility in the aftermath of these shambles?'. . . <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 22:41
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I'd hope that any pension considerations are also sorted out for the dependants of the deceased pilots now that their Lordships have decided that Wratten and Day got it hopelessly wrong.

And I'd just like to rub it in a little more -

Wratten and Day, you were completely out of line. You tried to blame two other officers to cover up for all the other ballsups made over the Chinook, over this trip, etc. etc.

Now is the time to come clean and admit you were wrong, that the original findings of the BoI were right, and that you had no business imposing your own verdict over that of a properly-constituted enquiry.
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 23:04
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Angry

So why did the Air Marshalls find the pilots grossly negligent when the evidence was clearly not overwhelming?

Was it anything to do with the fact that the pilots were unhappy about flying the Mk2 Chinook with the test pilots at Boscombe Down refusing to fly it till the software problems were sorted out and yet senior officers ordered them to fly it with valuable passengers on board? Now that would be serious for certain senior officers and would explain the gross negligence finding.
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