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Air Safety

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer given in the Official Report on 8 December, at column 65, on the Manchester airport tragedy, if he will outline the recommendations made between September and December 1985 inclusive by the air accident investigation branch concerning the safety of passengers.

The following safety recommendations have been made by the inspector of accidents conducting the investigation into the Boeing 737 accident at Manchester airport which occurred in August 1985:

  • 1. On 19 September 1985. Recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) urgently review the approval of the cabin configuration as it existed on G-BGJL, assuming that it conformed to a CAA format. In particular, it is strongly recommended that you consider the removal of all row 10 seats to afford reasonable identification of, and unrestricted access to, the overwing exits. Further, if access to the overwing exits on other types is similarly impaired, we recommend that those types be included in the above review.
  • 2. On 14 October 1985. It is recommended that consideration be given to revising the evacuation drill and — or providing an alternative tailored to the Manchester type of incident. It is further recommended that the drills of other 737 operators and where appropriate the drills on other types be reviewed in the light of the Manchester experience.
  • 3. On 4 December 1985. Recommended that the CAA reconsider the approval of the public address (PA) system which allows a single engine failure to dramatically reduce its usefulness and to review other aircraft types with a view to discovering if any other PA system would suffer in a similar way due to any single failure.
    • Further it is recommended that consideration be given to a requirement that the high gain setting be manually selectable so that it would be available for an emergency situation whatever the engine aircraft system conditions.
  • 4. On 23 December 1985. It is strongly recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority urgently give serious consideration to the early formulation of a smoke hood — mask requirement such that an effective level of protection is afforded to passengers under such conditions. It is additionally recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority endeavour to convince the Federal Aviation Administration of the continuing pressing need for such a requirement, which that body had the foresight to recognise in their associated notice of proposed rule making in 1969.