§ Sir T. Kitson
asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the number of crashes of Provost training planes in recent months in North Yorkshire, whether the findings from inquiries will be published to reassure people living within the area that all the necessary precautions and safety requirements are being made; and if he will make a statement.
Three Jet Provost aircraft of the Royal Air Force have been involved in accidents this year. On 23rd January 1978 a Jet Provost from RAF Linton-on-Ouse crashed near Lower Dalby; the crew ejected and suffered slight injuries. On 1st June 1978 another Jet Provost aircraft from RAF Linton-on-Ouse crashed into Gouthwaite reservoir, killing the pilot, Flight-Lieutenant J. H. Fox. Most recently, on 28th June 1978, an aircraft from RAF Leeming which was carrying out a routine training sortie crashed shortly after taking-off from Dishforth. The pilot ejected after having experienced an engine failure. He suffered slight injuries and the aircraft crashed 217W into open fields near the A1 and suffered severe damage.
The boards of inquiry into the accidents at Gouthwaite reservoir and Dish-forth are still conducting their investigations. The report on the accident near Lower Dalby has only recently been completed. The findings of RAF boards of inquiry remain confidential to the RAF and are not published. I will consider making a statement when I have had the opportunity of studying the reports of the boards of inquiry. However, there are procedures by which boards of inquiry may draw attention to matters which in their view require immediate corrective action including restrictions on flying. Any evidence of a problem affecting an aircraft type in general would fall into this class.
In the case of the three Jet Provost accidents no such common problem has yet been uncovered. Although I cannot anticipate the findings of the boards, there do not appear to be any links between the accidents other than those of aircraft type and the area in which the accidents occurred.