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Wed, Jan 06, 2010

New Evidence Points To Software In 1994 RAF Chinook Crash

British MoD Placed Blame On Pilots

Computer software may have been a factor in the crash of an RAF Chinook in 1994 that killed all 29 people on board the aircraft. The official report indicates that the aircraft was airworthy, and "gross negligence" on the part of the pilots caused the crash.

But the BBC is reporting that it is in possession of Ministry of Defense documents that indicate there may have been a problem with the FADEC software on the Chinook Mk 2s 9 months before the aircraft went down. The internal documents describe the FADEC system as "positively dangerous."

The father of Flight Lieutenant Johnathan Trapper says his son told him he was forced to fly the Mk 2 Chinooks after expressing serious concerns about the airworthiness of the aircraft. Mr. Trapper said when the official report placed the blame on the pilots, he was "shocked."

Subsequent investigations by the British House of Commons and the House of Lords found the evidence to be "inconclusive", and not able to sustain the theory that the pilots were at fault.

File Photo

"The hazard analysis of Chinook Mk 2 … identifies the software in the engine FADEC as safety critical and states that 'any malfunctions or design errors could have catastrophic effects'," the report obtained by the BBC states. "Twenty-one category one and 153 category two anomalies have been revealed. One of these … is considered to be positively dangerous." The report was not included in the official inquiry. 

The MoD maintains that since that crash, the Chinook Mk2 has been a "remarkably safe" aircraft, and that the report does not constitute "new evidence" since it was available at the time of the initial inquiry.

FMI: www.mod.uk

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