HL Deb 18 October 2000 vol 617 c89WA
Lord Jacobs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they believe that the pilots in the Chinook crash in June 1994 were aware (a) that they were headed directly for the Mull at a height of about 400 feet and (b) that they needed to climb to a height of 2,400 feet if they were to overfly the Mull safely. [HL4052]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

At 0.95 nautical miles, or about 20 seconds before impact, the crew released the on-board navigational computer from its fix on the Mull of Kintyre. At that point the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were. At 15 to 18 seconds before impact, the aircraft's height was only 468 feet as recorded on the tactical air navigation system. The pilots would have seen the same information on their radar altimeter, but even so at that point the aircraft was still climbing only gently.

Evidence from the pilots' pre-flight planning shows they were fully aware of the safety altitude required for each leg of the route under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). If the pilots' intention was to overfly the Mull through cloud, under IFR, they should have established flight at least 1,000 ft above the height of the Mull. This is why the Board of Inquiry concluded that the selection of an inappropriate rate of climb to overfly the Mull safely was the most probable cause of the accident.