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Civil Aviation (Flying Boat "Cavalier")

Volume 345: debated on Thursday 30 March 1939

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asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) whether he will inform the House why his technical advisers, and the technical advisers of Imperial Airways, Limited, failed to take action on receipt of the report of the captain of the "Cavalier," dated 8th October, 1938, on the trouble experienced with engines failing during icing conditions; and whether he will consider immediately introducing new personnel into these two departments;(2) whether it is proposed to suspend the certificate of airworthiness of the Empire flying boats used in Europe, in view of the report by the chief inspector of accidents on the loss of the "Cavalier," until the necessary modifications to the carburettors have been carried out?

The report by the captain of the "Cavalier" was not communicated to the Air Ministry and no question can therefore arise as to the technical staff of my Department in this connection. I also cannot accept the implication that the technical staff of Imperial Airways were remiss in dealing with this report. I would draw my hon. Friend's attention to paragraph 5 (f), pages 14 and 15 of Command Paper 5975, from which it appears that the trouble experienced in this case was, after examination of the carburettor in England, attributed to a mechanical defect found in the carburettor.The receipt of the further report of 17th December indicated that the previous conclusion as to the cause of the trouble might have been incomplete. Further immediate research on carburettor-icing prevention problems for these engines was put in hand in conjunction with the engine designers and the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, with the object of incorporating an improved system of carburettor heating.Meantime, as I informed my hon. Friend on the 2nd March, Imperial Airways have issued instructions to their pilots to avoid flying through severe ice-forming conditions and to delay the service when such conditions are forecast and cannot be avoided by change of route.In these circumstances it is not proposed to suspend the certificates of airworthiness of the Empire flying boats in Europe.