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Nimrod XV 256 accident (1980)

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Nimrod XV 256 accident (1980)

Old 18th Nov 2020, 14:50
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Nimrod XV 256 accident (1980)

Yesterday, (17th Nov), was the 40th anniversary of the tragic accident involving Nimrod XV256. This was one of the first military accidents in Scotland that should have been covered by the 1976 Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Act, but no FAI took place. I don't suppose anyone informed the families of those that died that, according to Scots Law, their loved ones were not employed at the time of the accident and as such did not "die in the course of their employment".

I have been reading the official MoD Military Accident Summary, dated 3rd June 1982, and I am struck by two statements in the document that beg investigation by an independent legal body (inquest/FAI), had one taken place.

"Prior to every aircraft movement an airfield search for birds was made and on this occasion the search, made in semi-darkness, did not reveal any roosting birds"

"During the period 30 minutes before and after first and last light, take-offs and landings are not permitted unless operationally essential."

I have two questions that could have been put to MoD by an independent inquiry, (1) How effective did you expect a search in semi-darkness to be, bearing in mind that over 77 large Canadian geese were missed, and (2) If dawn was at 0719 hrs why was an aircraft allowed to take-off before 0749 hrs? N.B Sunrise was at 0804 hrs.

DV

Last edited by Distant Voice; 18th Nov 2020 at 15:01.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 16:21
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Please ensure correct information is used - the report says "the aircraft flew through a dense flock of sea birds..." and "After the accident 77 dead sea birds were found on or near the runway".
Sea birds are generally members of the gull family. There is no mention of 'large Canadian Geese' in the report. A search of the airfield would not have included fields outside the airfield.
Link to the report.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 16:45
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Originally Posted by Distant Voice View Post
Yesterday, (17th Nov), was the 40th anniversary of the tragic accident involving Nimrod XV256. This was one of the first military accidents in Scotland that should have been covered by the 1976 Fatal Accident and Sudden Deaths Act, but no FAI took place. I don't suppose anyone informed the families of those that died that, according to Scots Law, their loved ones were not employed at the time of the accident and as such did not "die in the course of their employment".

I have been reading the official MoD Military Accident Summary, dated 3rd June 1982, and I am struck by two statements in the document that beg investigation by an independent legal body (inquest/FAI), had one taken place.

"Prior to every aircraft movement an airfield search for birds was made and on this occasion the search, made in semi-darkness, did not reveal any roosting birds"

"During the period 30 minutes before and after first and last light, take-offs and landings are not permitted unless operationally essential."

I have two questions that could have been put to MoD by an independent inquiry, (1) How effective did you expect a search in semi-darkness to be, bearing in mind that over 77 large Canadian geese were missed, and (2) If dawn was at 0719 hrs why was an aircraft allowed to take-off before 0749 hrs? N.B Sunrise was at 0804 hrs.

DV
(1) They weren't geese and the search was SOP. (2) The take off restriction before and after first light wasn't in place at the time. it was a subsequent action.

Can't see the point of your post. Perhaps you ought to get rid of it or think of another way to stir up hurtful issues after 40 decades.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 16:46
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I don't suppose anyone informed the families of those that died that, according to Scots Law, their loved ones were not employed at the time of the accident and as such did not "die in the course of their employment".
How could the pilot and co-pilot be considered "not employed at the time"?

Please ensure correct information is used - the report says "the aircraft flew through a dense flock of sea birds..." and "After the accident 77 dead sea birds were found on or near the runway".
Sea birds are generally members of the gull family. There is no mention of 'large Canadian Geese' in the report.
Maybe he got his 'facts' from here: https://aviation-safety.net/database...?id=19801117-1
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 17:10
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I think perhaps the main point is being missed. An investigation is awaited into the deaths (as distinct from an Inquiry into cause of the accident), and I believe we await the first Fatal Accident Inquiry into Service deaths in Scotland. DV will correct me if there's been one in the last couple of years since he had the law changed. While I can't speak for them, I do know some families think the same.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 17:13
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How could the pilot and co-pilot be considered "not employed at the time"?
That's the ruling of the Lord Advocate and the Crown office, not mine. I got the FAI act amended in 2015 and had the stupidity removed.

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Old 18th Nov 2020, 17:17
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I think perhaps the main point is being missed. An investigation is awaited into the deaths (as distinct from an Inquiry into cause of the accident), and I believe we await the first Fatal Accident Inquiry into Service deaths in Scotland. DV will correct me if there's been one in the last couple of years since he had the law changed. While I can't speak for them, I do know some families think the same.
Nothing since the law was changed. In fact the revised FAI act will have issues because it has been link with 'active service' in Scotland, and I do not know of any.

DV

Last edited by Distant Voice; 18th Nov 2020 at 17:29.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 17:33
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The take off restriction before and after first light wasn't in place at the time. it was a subsequent action.
So the risk was not ALARP at the time of the accident. What happened to the runway bird scarer?

DV
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 17:38
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Please ensure correct information is used - the report says "the aircraft flew through a dense flock of sea birds..." and "After the accident 77 dead sea birds were found on or near the runway".
Please see
https://aviation-safety.net/database...?id=19801117-1


DV
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 19:52
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How could the pilot and co-pilot be considered "not employed at the time"?
Back in May 2016 I wrote to Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who was Lord Advocate between Jun 1979 and Nov 1981, and asked him why FAIs were not undertake for a number fatal military accidents during his time in office. He told me,

I remember these accidents as I remember discussing them with a senior RAF officer when we met at a service in Glasgow.
I have no memory of discussing an FAI and since I got your e-mail it has occurred to me that members of the Armed Forces may not have been considered as employees and if so the Act would not apply. Yours sincerely James Mackay
I have another letter in which it is made quite clear that the MoD was not prepared to consider service people as employees as such a status would have implications far beyond their rights under the FAI act.

My post is not about "stirring up hurtful issues of after 40 (decades ?)", but filling in important gaps so we can learn from mistakes by exposing flaws in the way we operate. In fact that is one of the prime purposes of an FAI. I believe that it is also important for families to be presented with a fuller picture of what happened on that day, and the events which followed (or didn't follow)

DV
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 20:01
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I think the distinction being made DV is that the site you link to contains a narrative that is not from the official report, together with an extract from the official MAAS report.

I've no idea who wrote the unofficial narrative but it lost me with the "aircraft came down on the relatively soft tree-tops of a forest of young pine trees" bit. They were pretty big pine trees, of that there is no doubt.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 20:29
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Just This Once: I suspect that narrative (link) and the Accident Summary are based on the official BOI report, for which I can not find a link.

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Old 18th Nov 2020, 20:34
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I very much doubt that the BOI report would include the formation being used by the birds at impact or anything about soft tree-tops. Looks like the opinion or hazy memories of a single individual. In no way does it look like the typical language used in BoI reports.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 20:37
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Sandyparts provided a link to the front page of the official report in post #2.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 23:06
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Sandyparts provided a link to the front page of the official report in post #2.
That is just a non technical summary, prepared by MoD, for parliament. It is not the official BOI report

I have all four pages of the summary, not just the first page.

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Old 19th Nov 2020, 00:09
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Originally Posted by Distant Voice View Post
That is just a non technical summary, prepared by MoD, for parliament. It is not the official BOI report

I have all four pages of the summary, not just the first page.

DV
So you have the full summary, you have read it, but you chose to cite the ASN over the MoD summary for bird types?

I guess you must have your reasons.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 02:30
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The copilot and I joined the RAF on the same day and were good friends. We went down our separate paths at the end of BFTS. His loss was tragic (not forgetting the tragic loss of the aircraft captain).

The original accident report definitely said the birds on the runway were gulls; this is the first reference to geese Iíve ever seen.

Aircraft routinely do take off in the dark!
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 10:09
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From the Haddon-Cave Nimrod review :-

2.38.1 Nimrod MR2 XV256: The first Nimrod to be lost in an accident was Nimrod MR2 XV256 on 17 November 1980. Shortly after take-off from RAF Kinloss, the aircraft flew through a dense flock of seagulls. Ingestion of a large number of birds into the engines caused a significant loss of power and the aircraft crashed in woods close to the airfield. Although, tragically, both pilots were killed in the accident, their skill in crash landing the aircraft ensured that their crew survived.
From 'RAF Commands.com' :-

1980 Nimrod Crash, Info wanted[RAFCommands Archive]

When I was at Kinloss in 1989, the crash of this particular a/c was still fresh in the memory. It is worthy of note that the crash site was still plainly visible in the trees at the time. It is my understanding that, after power was lost, the pilot attempted to ditch in the sea but never made it. I was also informed that a crew member ran quite a distance from the aircraft with a broken femur and that (if memory serves) 126 dead birds were found in the wreckage.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 10:43
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As far as I can see, this thread is simply Distant Voice using the anniversary of the accident to bang his drum yet again. The facts of this tragic accident seem to have been all too clear at the time, and it is in my view wholly inappropriate for DV to assert that the takeoff was in violation of a curfew which did not exist and that an incidence of birdstrike must mean that the airfield search was inadequate simply to promote his argument.
In so far as he has a point, it has already and repeatedly been made elsewhere.
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Old 19th Nov 2020, 11:16
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As far as I can see, this thread is simply Distant Voice using the anniversary of the accident to bang his drum yet again
And what drum is that?
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