HC Deb 30 November 1972 vol 847 cc611-2
16. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve the standard of flying safety in the Royal Air Force.

Lord Lambton

The standard of flight safety in the Royal Air Force is high and compares favourably with that of other air forces. It is the responsibility of the Service at all levels to maintain and improve this standard, making full use of the continuous research and analysis which is conducted in this field.

Mr. Cronin

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the increase in the number of accidents in the RAF has now reached an unsupportable degree? Apart from the risk to life and limb of the gallant young men who fly these planes, is it not the case that accidents involving RAF aircraft now total about £1 million a week?

Lord Lambton

No Minister will ever be satisfied as long as there are accidents. However, considering the number of new planes which have come into service. I do not think that the number of accidents is surprisingingly high. They are regrettable, but we must remember that in the last few years we have had new types of planes coming into service.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

Does my hon. Friend agree that there could be more openness about the causes of RAF accidents? Are flight recorders carried in any combat aircraft?

Lord Lambton

That is another question.