The Herald on Sunday
Why are they running scared of a full investigation into the Chinook tragedy?
REGARDING Steuart Campbell’s letter (June 13), commenting on Neil Mackay’s article (“Could new mobile phone link solve mystery of the Chinook tragedy?”, June 6), as the author of the book in question (The Inconvenient Truth), I wish to respond to Mr Campbell’s points.
Mr Campbell claims the effect of mobile phones could not have contributed to the accident. He does not say why he disagrees with the MoD’s admission that they could cause serious problems with the automatic flight control system, fuel computers, navigation and communications systems. To make this clear, the article reproduced the MoD’s statement in full.
Mr Campbell claims the pilots broke the safety rules. In fact, I believe it was the RAF air staff who broke the most basic safety rule – they declared the aircraft airworthy when it was not to be relied upon in any way. In 2011, Lord Alexander Philip, in his Mull of Kintyre Review report, confirmed this was “mandated” upon the RAF. Those on board were sent to their deaths on the back of this false declaration. Had they known this, would they have boarded?
Mr Campbell claims the crew made a navigation error. In fact, the evidence shows they knew where they were, how high, how far from the lighthouse, and how long it would take to get there. (Primarily because they received a one-minute alert on their navigation computer, and were flying clear of cloud and in sight of the surface.) The navigator selected the next waypoint, and left his navigation system in a mode commensurate with remaining in visual meteorological conditions. The pilot’s instrument settings confirmed he had no intention of going near the high ground. In 2012, the MoD finally admitted that an undemanded flight control movement could occur when the intended turn away from the lighthouse was attempted; for example, turning right when commanded to turn left, accompanied by changes in altitude. The book provides examples of other fatal Chinook accidents caused by this.
These known facts were concealed from the fatal accident inquiry in 1996, a deceit I believe crucial to Lord Philip’s recommendation that the findings of gross negligence be set aside.
The key question today is why the Lord Advocate has refused to order an investigation into (a) 29 deaths on Scottish soil, and (b) his inquiry being misled. Is the truth inconvenient? David Hill, Yate, South Gloucestershire.
I SINCERELY thank Neil Mackay for his excellent and well-researched article about the RAF Chinook accident that ended the lives of my husband and his brave colleagues in 1994. I am always amazed that so many remember that day as vividly as myself and my family. Strangers still tell me: “We always felt something was not right with that flight.”
I’m saddened to read Mr Campbell’s nonsensical letter condemning both the article and the most recent book, The Inconvenient Truth by David Hill (a highly-qualified ex-MoD engineer). Mr Hill has spent much of the last 20 years researching air accidents, supporting families and publishing factual highly technical evidence for no personal gain. Each of his previous books illustrates yet more overlooked, ignored and damning faults/system problems with the Chinook. When technical people work from the their heart and soul for no personal gain one knows there is great injustice – one that blamed qualified RAF special forces pilots for an obscene 17 years. When Mr Campbell records the families of those brave men exhibiting “unseemly jubilation” in the 2011 hearing that their names had been cleared, he displays a serious lack of compassion and understanding. I myself cried tears of relief for the pilots’ families on that day.
My tears were rapidly followed by frustration that further investigation seeking the real cause and culpability was to be refused into the 29 deaths on the Mull of Kintyre on that tragic day in 1994 that changed my family’s life forever.
One must ask: is the truth too shocking to legally and correctly uncover ?
Dr Susan Phoenix, widow of Det Supt Ian Phoenix, Dorset.
Britain is not racist
ASHLEY Banjo accepted the Bafta award for “The Must See Moment “and promptly told us that the 27,000 who had taken the time to complain to Ofcom, and who were ignored, were all racists. We had complained because the Diversity dance routine on Britain’s Got Talent depicted a ghastly event in Minneapolis, 38,00 miles away, in a foreign land with an appalling record of racial history, as if it had been enacted by white English police. Woke Ofcom justified the routine as it “promoted social cohesion”. This was doublethink of Orwellian proportions.
How are we, as the people of Scotland (that equal partner in the Union, remember), to view this? Scotland has the lowest recorded racial crime since 2004 at a time when folk are correctly more willing to report it. Yes, Glasgow had tobacco barons but no slave ships sailed from Scotland and, in the late18th and early-19th century, slavery was the dominant moral issue. Today, four per cent of Scots are non-white. We welcome proportionately more refugees than anywhere else in the UK. Our bestpaid Scots are those of Chinese and Indian origin. Glasgow made Nelson Mandela a Freeman of the city when London called him a terrorist. The SNP Government has made diversity and anti-racism a cornerstone of its administrations. Scotland does not have an anti-immigrant party.
Are we really living with a dystopian racist nightmare to our south? I don’t think so. Major recent European and British academic research has concluded that the system is no longer deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities. Ten of the 11 co-authors of the recent English research were from an ethic minority background, and their 258-page report offers informed research, not the divisive rhetoric of Mr Banjo.
Since the ghastly events in Minnesota, BLM protests in England have stirred up the worst racial tension seen in a generation, while a minority see racism in every scenario. Government minister Kemi Badenoch has said Britain is one of the best countries in the world to be a black person. European research has similarly remarked that the UK is a beacon as a successful multicultural community. Yes, racism must be stamped out and tackled where it exists; though the deplorable Brexit violence against Poles and Czechs was not racist. Today, geography, family, socio economic and social class backgrounds have far more impact than racism. John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.
The curse of myopia
WE are all familiar with the phrase “fine words butter no parsnips”. We have now had two good examples of that saying within one week and both are pretty galling.
Sir Kevan Collins, appointed by the PM to come up with a policy which clearly would need funding to bring pupil levels of education back up to normality, resigned his position as education tsar when he saw how little the Treasury would lend to executing his catch-up programme.
Then the G7 talked big about nobody being safe until everybody was safe and
then promised to provide by the end of 2022 a derisory one billion doses of the vaccine where 11 billion would be needed to flatten the pandemic.
Such insouciance or blindness to the practicalities suggests that the UK Government is treating the educational deficit imposed upon a large cohort of students rather lightly and the seriousness of the Covid situation has not registered fully with the fat cats of the richer countries.
Until our leaders get their ducks in order, we in Britain are going to reap the whirlwind of neglect in relation to the failure to hand over sufficient funds to remedy the shortfall in education while globally there will be constant and continuous exposure to new variants which will weaken the efficacy of the vaccination programmes being rolled out in our more affluent areas.
Why is myopia the curse of our Western democracies?
Can’t they see that they need to be more proactive and energised to defeat the march of this blight upon the lives of those affected in both those sensitive areas?
Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.
THE problem with vaccinating the world’s population will be the inability of many countries to organise and implement the process.
It is therefore critical that this task is supervised by the United States and European countries, otherwise planeloads of vaccines will simply expire in storage due to failed distribution or lack of refrigeration.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.