§ 28. Mr. Bowden
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he is aware that the fire-tender engine at Croydon airport was unserviceable on 25th January when a Dakota aircraft crashed; if he will state at what intervals the fire-tender engine was started up; and if it is the practice to keep the engine running while aircraft are landing or taking off.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Lindgren)
The tender was promptly on the scene but the abnormally severe weather had resulted in the freezing of the water in the main water control valve preventing the production of the necessary foam. The carbon dioxide equipment, however, was immediately brought into use. The engine and the foam pump motor were run up and the pump itself turned by hand at hourly intervals and were serviceable at the time of the accident. In view of the regular test running it is not the practice to have the engine ticking over during landings and take-offs.
§ Mr. Lindgren
There was, of course, knowledge that the weather was severe. It is not the usual practice, and not part of the drill, that this valve should be tested. The difficulty arose from the abnormal weather, and the only satisfactory way of dealing with the matter is to have the engine housed in a warm shed.