HC Deb 28 April 1954 vol 526 cc1609-10
25. Mr. Beswick

asked the Under secretary of State for Air how many Royal Air Force jet aircraft have been totally damaged by accident over the two years to the most recent convenient date; if he will state the number of accidents in each of the three main categories of accidents; and how many accidents are held to have been caused by the disintegration of the engine.

Mr. Ward

In the two years ended 28th February, 1954, 416 Royal Air Force jet aircraft were totally destroyed in crashes. It would be contrary to the established practice of successive Governments over a long period to publish an analysis of the causes of these accidents, but I can say that only a very few were caused by disintegration of the engine.

Mr. de Freitas

Can the Under-Secretary say how this rate compares with that for piston-engined aircraft of a comparable type?

Mr. Ward

I think I gave the figures to the House recently, and, of course, they compare very favourably indeed, but the question of the disintegration of the engine does not come into it.

Mr. Beswick

As the hon. Gentleman is now saying that he gave some figures a short time ago, why cannot he give some closer idea of the number of these accidents caused by engine disintegration?

Mr. Ward

What I gave was a comparison between the fatal accident rates for jet aircraft and piston-engined air craft. The House will remember that I said then that the fatal jet accident rate was about half the fatal accident rate of the Spitfire.

Mr. Hobson

The Question deals with the disintegration of engines. Will the Under-Secretary give instructions to the Royal Air Force establishment at Farnborough for research on disintegration of jet engines to have priority?

Mr. Ward

As I have said, the number of accidents caused by disintegration of jet engines is very small indeed.