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Accident Reports

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he has analysed the first six accident reports issued since arrangements were made to make the reports available quickly to the public and listed as B.E.A.C., near Oslo, 7th August, 1946; Scottish Airways, at Northolt, 19th December, 1946; B.S.A.A., at Bathurst, 7th September, 1946; A.A. J.C., at Speke, 16th August, 1946; Scottish Airways, near Renfrew, 27th September, 1946; B.O.A.C., near Stowting, 11th January, 1947; and what action has been taken by his Department or the corporations concerned to eliminate the causes leading to these accidents, as these inquiries have established that in each case the airline organisations themselves were fundamentally responsible for the errors and omissions established in these reports.

Yes, Sir. Reports on accidents naturally receive full and careful consideration as soon as they are received. As regards the second part of the Question, I must not be taken as accepting the implication in the last sentence. In most accidents there are a great many contributory factors, and it is not possible within the limits of a Parliamentary reply to analyse the causes in these six cases or to give details of the action taken by the corporations and Ministry. It is, of course, the regular custom of the corporations and this Ministry immediately after the occurrence of any accident, or, I may add, any incident which might have been dangerous, to make a preliminary inquiry at once and any action which appears necessary to prevent a recurrence is taken without delay. Further action is, of course, taken as may be necessary as soon as the cause is determined.

Does my hon. Friend realise that in these accidents 43 people were killed, apart from those who were injured, and in one case, that of B.S.A.A. at Bathurst, the pilot was found to be inexperienced in the type of aircraft he was flying, having had only 3 hours, 52 minutes in command by day and r hour, 3 minutes by night, and had never done a full load take off in similar conditions? In another case, B.O.A.C. were blamed for bad crewing—

May I ask if any action is intended in view of this very serious state of affairs?

Yes, Sir. My noble Friend took steps soon after he took office to have accident inquiries in public, and to have the reports published. I think it is appreciated in every sphere of the industry that that action enables all concerned—corporations, pilots and everyone—to take notice of the primary and root causes of accident and to take such action as is possible.