HC Deb 29 October 1945 vol 415 cc3-4
6. Mr. Montague

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production if he is aware that there are grave risks to the lives of the pilots of the Meteor jet-propelled aircraft in making the proposed attempt on the world's record air-speed under obsolete height conditions designed for aircraft of much less speed; and does he propose to take measures to safeguard the pilots.

Mr. Wilmot

I myself had the same misgivings as the hon. Member and early last week I gave instructions that the flight was not to be made until I had had a discussion with the pilots and with my technical advisers. This I have now done. The pilots have themselves assured me that there is no greater risk in flying at the height required by the international regulations than at higher altitudes, and that for various reasons they would, in fact, prefer to fly under the international rules. I have, therefore, accepted this advice.

Mr. Montague

Does my right hon. Friend realise that at these speeds and altitude a hair's breadth of error means disaster, and that quite a number of experienced people take a different view—for instance, the Association connected with aircraft, the exact name of which I just forget?

Mr. Wilmot

I have gone into this matter very thoroughly with the best technical advice available, including the pilots themselves, who say that they would prefer, on safety grounds, to fly at this altitude for greater accuracy of observation and other reasons, and I think I did right in accepting their advice.