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Chinook Justice

Old 6th Feb 2002, 22:41
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NEO et al - The Lords Select Committee does not seek to explain why the aircraft crashed - it's remit was this: "to consider the justification for the finding of those reviewing the conclusions of the RAF Board of Inquiry that both pilots of the Chinook helicopter ZD 576 which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre on 2 June 1994 were negligent"

Neither the AAIB nor the BoI could reach a satisfactory conclusion one way or the other, and that is the whole point. The Gross Negligence accusation by Messrs Day & Wratten is based upon the assumption that the waypoint change 30 secs prior to impact proves that the flight crew were in control up until point of impact. I was there when it was said. I was also in the House of Lords when Tony Cable of the AAIB said categorically that it could not be established that the aircraft was serviceable at the point of impact.

The RAF Board of Inquiry says the following:. ."the possibility of the crew being distracted by a technical fault which had left no trace could not be dismissed". ." the Board could find no evidence that Flt Lt Tapper had not approached and prepared for the sortie in anything other than a thorough and professional manner.". ."The Board concluded that there were no human failings with respect to Flt Lt Cook.". ."The Board was unable to positively determine the sequence of events leading up to the accident"

The only possible conviction for Gross Negligence would be if it could be proven that the pilots had recklessly disregarded the safety of themselves and their passengers. The pilots (and many others) had expressed doubts about the safety of the Mk2, and had requested to use a Mk1 for the fatal flight. Surely this points to a culture of safety, not recklessness.

In the RAF' a Gross Negligence decision MUST be based on facts and evidence, not mere assumptions. This was not the case here, and this is why so many people have campaigned for so long to get the pilots' names cleared.

I should declare a slight vested interest here - I am one of the people who is campaigning for this, and we will continue to campaign until the MoD accepts that the pilots were not to blame.

Don't take my word for it - the evidence is all on the House of Lords website, and on the campaign's website (www.chinook-justice.org). There is also a petition on the site which calls for the verdict to be overturned, which anyone - military or civl, pilot or not - is welcome to sign if they wish.

[ 06 February 2002: Message edited by: Chocks Wahay ]</p>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 23:33
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To all those numpties who have come into this debate at the end of a long campaign and are now throwing in red herrings (You know who you are!) and trying to support the MoD argument, you are way off line.

The simple fact is that there are only two men alive on this planet who know "with absolutely no doubt whatsoever" what happened in the final moments of that tragic flight: Day and Wratten. Every other person whether pilot, navigator, engineer, software expert, AAIB inspector, sheriff, QC or retired law lord, having examined all the available evidence, have reached the conclusion that no-one except the deceased crew would ever know what happened. The cause of the accident could not be positively determined. Ergo, with even the tiniest smidgeon of doubt surrounding the circumstnces, the Chinook pilots could not be found to be grossly negligent. Two airships with their inbuilt "I know better than everyone else" attitude ride roughshod over the sound conclusion reached by this collective intelligence.

That is what the whole campaign has been about, not about trying to find the cause of the accident - we shall never know that.

Wratten and Day have been exposed as the arrogant ar*es they really are. They should both now do the honourable thing. A once proud Service would be well rid of the tarnish which they have brought to its reputation.

[ 07 February 2002: Message edited by: 1.3VStall ]</p>
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Old 6th Feb 2002, 23:47
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At last. Someone with the perception to see what is staring us all in the face. Well said Flap5.

What made me feel really ill was the sound on Malcolm Rifkin on the radio doing a U turn an oil tanker would have been proud of while covering his own back (must be a contortionist).

Surely W & D now in an untenable position.

RESIGN NOW. (Weren't you thinking about early retirement anyway?)
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 01:48
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Not Guilty.

So this is where all the non believers gravitated to. Where have you all been for the past 7+ years? Feel the need to speak up now the dirty and difficult work has now been done? Prove to me 'absolutely no doubt whatsoever' or shut up.

Enough has already been said in relpy, by those who can read. Thank you folks, for your support.

Brian. ."Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 10:20
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It would appear more than certain that the Air Blimps and MoD have well and truly "bent" the ear of PM Blair.. .Quote from The Guardian. . .<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4351201,00.html" target="_blank">http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4351201,00.html</a>

Blair resisted new Chinook inquiry . .Richard Norton-Taylor. .Guardian

Thursday February 7, 2002

. .Tony Blair became involved in the controversy surrounding the crash of an RAF Chinook helicopter in the force's worst peacetime accident, supporting a ruling by two air marshals blaming the pilots, the Guardian has learned.

A House of Lords committee on Tuesday concluded that the air marshals were wrong to blame the pilots for the accident on June 2 1994, which killed all 29 people on board, including the elite of Northern Ireland's security and intelligence establishment.

The committee, chaired by a former law lord, based its judgment partly on new evidence not considered by the two RAF officers.

In letters written between 1999 and 2001 to a relative of one of the victims and the former MP Martin Bell the prime minister upheld the verdict blaming the pilots.

The letters were written after new evidence seen by the Lords committee - notably about the weather conditions and mechanical problems which had been affecting Chinooks - was publicly available.

However, Mr Blair insisted no new evidence had emerged to justify reopening the inquiry. "I have looked personally into the case," he told a relative who does not want to be named. He assured her that any new evidence would be examined "thoroughly and sympathetically".

He told Mr Bell: "We do need fresh evidence to justify re-opening this issue".

The letters, obtained by Computer Weekly magazine, contradict the findings of the Lords committee. They appear to be based on briefings Mr Blair received from the Ministry of Defence, which yesterday continued to insist no new relevant evidence had emerged since the air marshals in 1995 overruled the RAF's board of inquiry which found insufficient evidence to blame the pilots.

The prime minister's official spokesman said yesterday that the Lords report would be studied in detail before a "full response".

The Lords committee, which included three QCs and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, unanimously concluded that the air marshals' finding of negligence against the pilots was "not justified". . .It looks like a long campaign ahead!
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 11:43
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Hectorus

I think the spin doctors are spinning a web that Blair is going to regret.

Don't forget Blair and his good lady are both lawyers. Even Blair knows how the law decides cases on negligence. You don't assume guilt and wait for whoever you accused to be prove they were not negligent. Day and Wratten chose the pilots.

If one pursues their warped thinking why did they not chose Boeing or the equipment maker or the person who decided to pack the 29 in one helicopter?

Blair knows that you have to prove that someone was negligent.

The lack of new evidence approach is a knee jerk reaction that the spin doctors and some of the defence ministers came out with.

We know, because we have read the report that there was new evidence. We also know that the question the select committee considered was whether the finding of gross negigence was justified.

I was going to quote from the conclusions in the Lords report to Percy. I gave up as every paragraph in the conclusion tears the findings of two men totally apart. It would have meant quoting all the conclusion.

Concentrate on directing Blair to the simple question considered by the Lords. If he persits then ask him to explain how his approach to negligence is so different to that of everyone else.

[ 07 February 2002: Message edited by: slj ]</p>
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Old 7th Feb 2002, 13:03
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slj,. .Yes I suspect that he may have been too quick on the draw for once.

Q1 Why has nobody been made to own up to the decision to introduce the Mk2 before it was ready?

Q2 Who was responsible for tasking such an operation, and putting literally all their eggs in one fragile basket?

Q3 Why has nobody had a valid answer to the basic query of "Why would 2 highly qualified SF pilots wilfully put themselves and their passengers in grave danger, when so very shortly before the impact they had been flying VFR in VMC conditions"

If any of the "luddites" can provide a simple answer to Q3 please direct the answer to the 4 investigations which DID NOT FIND THEM GUILTY OF WILFUL NEGLIGENCE.

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Old 7th Feb 2002, 15:56
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Sir kitt braker asks "not proven or not guilty ?"

It is my personal feeling and opinion that it should be not guilty however due to the lack of evidence i think that if i was sitting in a court of law I would have to go with not proven despite my reservations.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 05:39
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The thread running on the military forum has more. At risk of incurring the Captain's wrath, this is a bit of what I've said there.

For the love of God, Ingram and everyone else seeking new evidence, will you please get into your thick heads that that is simply not the point. It needs no new evidence to find, as their Lordships have, that the finding of gross negligence, which required proof beyond any doubt whatsoever, was unsafe given the evidence available at the time,(and since) and must be overturned. Again, for the slow on the uptake, their Lordships said:

"In carrying out our terms of reference, we have considered the justification for the Air Marshals' finding of negligence against the pilots of ZD 576 against the applicable standard of proof, which required "absolutely no doubt whatsoever". In the light of all the evidence before us, and having regard to that standard, we unanimously conclude that the reviewing officers were not justified in finding that negligence on the part of the pilots caused the aircraft to crash."

To the few who think the MOD is right, I would ask them to read the whole of the two threads in the military forum before going off half cock

Blair will of course have a skewed view, as only the powerful MoD lobby have his ear. Write to him, as I and many others have done, and your letter will not pass before the great man's eyes. It will be shuffled off to some minion in the depths of the MoD for a standard reply.

Sir Kitt, No one in the campaign has said that negligence was not a possible cause. We simply hold that it has not been and cannot be proven to the degree required. No one will ever know with 'no doubt whatsoever' what befell ZD576 in 1994. That is the whole point. I feel that Jon and Rick are 'Not Guilty'. With no proof either way I'd accept 'Not Proven.

To Brian, Messrs Tapper and Cook and all the other campaigners, a hearty 'Well Done'. We must not let the b*ggers get away with trying to sweep this under the carpet again.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 14:50
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Firstly, my thoughts go to the families of all those killed in this tragic accident and in particular to those of the pilots (because of the claims of gross negligence). What must concern many of us is how the military can convene a board of inquiry, which having reported its verdict, is then overturned by senior officers. My understanding is that in the absence of FDR or CVR data that is not possible where the pilots are deceased.

I believe the perception of the general public is that the MOD are blaming deceased airmen who cannot defend themselves. The real question now is why cannot the MOD simply accept that the precise cause cannot be determined and overturn their verdict?. As one journalist said it should be easy for a Labour minister to pass the buck onto the previous administration. Until this happens the MOD will quite rightly be seen as abusing its authority in a way that would be unacceptable in a civilian investigation. Should it decide not to then we will have to assume that they have an agenda unconnected with flight safety.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 15:17
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The reason that the MOD will not budge one inch on this issue is that top officers in the air force and top civil servants do not change with goverment and they have some thing to hide.

I can only speculate that if they can keep the lid on this for long enough then they will be safely drawing fat pensions befor the full truth about the introduction to service of this mark of chinook comes to light.
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 23:56
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The Military brass may well be independent of the politicians, but they are not above the law. Their continued refusal to accept the judgements of numerous courts may well eventually place them in contempt in the legal sense, as well as currently in the moral sense!. .HectorusRex

[ 08 February 2002: Message edited by: HectorusRex ]</p>
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Old 8th Feb 2002, 23:57
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Would some kind person, still in the Service, let me know what flying experience the two Air Marshals claim in their logbooks?

I can remember in my days at least one Air rank officer pontificating on flight operations with only 1500 hours experience on obsolete equipment.

Please accept a very humble "well done" to all of those serving aircrew who fought to have this verdict overturned. It makes me proud to have been one of you.
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 00:03
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I can't quote flying hours, sorry.. .Air MArshal Day was an experienced helicopter pilot.. .Air Marshal Wratten wasn't.

Brian. ."Justice has no expiry date" - John Cook
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 00:08
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Flying Hours aren't an important issue here - what's lacking is simple Common Sense if you ask me.
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Old 9th Feb 2002, 03:51
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I do tire of reading that the RAF BOI concluded "gross negligence", it did not, it found that the cause could not be positively determined given the EVIDENCE available. This finding was changed by the Air Officers using that "special" insight that only they possess.

The Lords have considered the EVIDENCE and the BOI rules in force at the time and have quite correctly stated that the finding of "Gross Negligence" was wrong. The reputations of 2 fine aviators should now be officially restored by MoD.

The only people who really know what happened on that day are sadly no longer with us, may they rest in peace.
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Old 10th Feb 2002, 17:54
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I concur with Mr H N High.

Unfortunately, the 2 officers concerned are in a. .time warp and believe that their rank makes them. .righter than their subordinates. Even if those. .subordinates have much greater knowledge and. .skills in such things as software engineering, as. .just one example.

Their position is just untenable and, due to the. .openness afforded by the Internet and this BB,. .visibly makes the MoD ridiculous.

Both of them, in my opinion, are causing huge. .damage to the country and to the Royal Air Force.. .How many retired aviators will encourage their. .kids to join the services now?

And how many disillusioned aircrew are taking. .their options to leave because of this crass. .disloyalty to subordinates?

They are heaping infamy on themselves and on. .the service. It also affecting the other. .arms - I have heard it being discussed by Army. .personnel in a pub - they were not happy!

Justice must be served and we, the ordinary people. .of this nation, must see it being served.

Moral courage? How about the courage to do what is. .best for the service at the expense of ones own. .ambitions?

Judgement? They have both greatly misjudged their. .own powers of logic and they have both greatly. .misjudged the willingness of their 'lessers' to. .roll over and take this kind of thing.

Qwin
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Old 11th Feb 2002, 12:48
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[quote]Sir kitt braker asks "not proven or not guilty ? <hr></blockquote>

If Not Proven then absolutely Not Guilty!.
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Old 11th Feb 2002, 13:13
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First class letter in the Times today by Stewart Birt (Ex MD of International Helicopters, who had the contract to train the RAF Chinook crews on the Aberdeen simulator). Read it if you can. It backs up the MOD decision. Quite rightly, in my view.
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Old 11th Feb 2002, 15:08
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<a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,59-204811,00.html" target="_blank">Chinook Letters in the Times</a>

Above is a link to the letter by Mr Birt referred to in the above post. Seems to be an intermittent processing error on the webpage clicking refresh a few times seems to overcome it.

In my opinion Mr Birts letter offers precious little proof for the 'absolutely no doubt' burden of proof.
 

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