HC Deb 25 February 1931 vol 248 cc2114-5

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the recognised procedure whereby the instructor engaged on instructional flying in the Royal Air Force aircraft is in command of the machine, regardless of the executive rank of the pupil being possibly senior to that of the instructor, is made known to all ranks; and whether, in view of the recent flying-boat accident, he will consider republishing this in the form of an Air Ministry Order?


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the evidence given at the inquiry into the recent disaster to a flying boat at Plymouth, he will consider a revision of the discipline of the Royal Air Force so as to provide for the absolute control of ail such craft during flying exercises being in the hands of pilots experienced in heavy seaplane work, notwithstanding the presence aboard of inexperienced persons of higher rank?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, and to the question put by the hon. Member for Newcastle, North (Sir N. Grattan-Doyle), my Noble Friend is considering whether any expansion or clarification of the Regulations is desirable. Since the hon. Members clearly have in mind the recent most regrettable accident to a large flying boat at Cattewater, I think it my duty to inform the House that it has emerged quite clearly from the court of inquiry that this accident would not have occurred but for direct disobedience of orders on the part of an individual officer. I may add, since there has been considerable misconception on this point, that it has also been established that the officer concerned went up simply to act as marker for gunnery practice, not for flying instruction.