HC Deb 11 July 1923 vol 166 cc1352-3

asked the Secretary of State for Air what proportion of airmen are burnt to death in aeroplane accidents as against violent death by defective engines, steering, or frame construction; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure an automatic detachment of petrol tanks and protection from fire in any case of enforced landing?

The SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Lieut.-Colonel Sir S. Hoare)

The information asked for in the first part of the question is not readily available in complete detail. I can, however, give to the hon. Member the following figures relating to fatal accidents to aircraft in the British Islands occurring between 1st July, 1920, and 30th June, 1923. The total number of fatal accidents was 57. The number of accidents in which death was found to be due to burning was two. The number of accidents in which fire occurred on impact is 13. As regards the latter part of the question, the Air Ministry, in conjunction with the Aeronautical Research Committee, have for some time past been giving very close attention to the investigation of various methods of preventing fire on impact. It is not at present possible to say in what direction the final solution of this extremely difficult problem may be found, but steady progress is being made, and the question of the use of detachable tanks and their location in aircraft has already been the subject of careful experiment. I shall be very glad to receive any information or suggestions which the hon. Member may have to make on this subject, and should he so desire, I shall be pleased to arrange an interview for him with the Department concerned at the Air Ministry.

Viscount CURZON

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it is possible to do anything to encourage the use of heavy oil engines in aeroplanes, as opposed to petrol engines?


I do not think that that arises here. If the noble Lord will put down a question, I will answer it.