The purpose of this book is two-fold.
It is intended as a prequel and companion to Their Greatest Disgrace (David Hill, 2016), which described the successful campaign to clear the deceased Chinook ZD576 pilots of the gross negligence findings against them, but avoided the plethora of theories as to cause. Discussing them in that context would have detracted from that aim.
Also, we hope to stimulate debate about an unsolved accident in which 29 died, but about which their employers, government, and legal authorities have shown no interest since MoD’s position was proven to be unsustainable in 2011. The pilots have been cleared, but the files have been closed. Why?
This case is all about money, protecting reputations, and timing of events.
Ø In 1987, the RAF introduced a policy of savings at the expense of safety, the aim being to generate funds to compensate for willful waste. The subsequent and inevitable failure of MoD’s Safety Management System led to a series of fatal accidents, in unairworthy aircraft.
Ø To protect the RAF’s corporate reputation and that of Boeing, the probability of technical failure was ignored. The immediate focus was on airmanship, and a theory was constructed that the RAF and MoD hoped would fit their desired outcome.
Ø The Prosecution must establish the timeline of events, to prove guilt. There must be a clear start and end to evidence; and it must match the conclusion. As each of its ‘facts’ were debunked, the RAF constantly reinvented the timeline and moved the goalposts. This was perpetrated by those with most to lose if the truth emerged; who were allowed to act as accuser, judge, jury and executioner.
These are known facts, articulated in, for example, the 2002 House of Lords Select Committee report and sworn evidence to the ZD576 Fatal Accident Inquiry. We accept them in full, and do not debate them in any way.
Throughout the campaign, MoD and successive governments consistently said they would study any ‘new evidence’; deliberately missing the point that the RAF had not met the standard of proof in the first place. But the true meaning of MoD’s words went largely unnoticed. New evidence is that which subsequently becomes available; whereas fresh evidence is that which existed at the time of the initial Inquiry, but for various reasons was not put before it. MoD was taunting the families. Show us the evidence we refuse to release, have destroyed, or spirited away.
The challenge was met. When given this fresh evidence, MoD said it was not new, as it was available to the Board of Inquiry - which was correct. But while available, it was not made available; and the members of the Board of Inquiry either did not know to ask, or failed to ask.
Always follow the lie. MoD constantly lied about what we set out here.