§ Lord Jacobs
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Following the inquiry into the crash of a Chinook helicopter on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1984, whether the way point change was made approximately 20 seconds before the accident; whether there is any evidence (a) that the helicopter changed direction; (b) that the crew decided not to change direction, but instead to overfly the Mull of Kintyre and (c) of when any decision not to change direction was made; whether the original flight plan showed an intention to fly over the Mull of Kintyre; and whether there were any advantages in terms of safety or of time saving in overflying the Mull of Kintyre rather than following the original flight plan. [HL3052]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
The flight plan indicated a route to the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse and then a course change to port on a track following the western shoreline of the Mull. The first way point or landmark the pilots entered on the on-board navigational computer was the Mull of Kintyre lighthouse. At 0.95 nautical miles, or about 20 seconds before impact, the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull and set it to indicate the bearing and distance to the next way point at Corran, 87 miles to the north.
There is no evidence of any significant change of course and none of the decision, if any, that the crew made. When the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull, the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were and, given the deteriorating weather and the strict visibility requirements under visual flight rules they should by that time already have chosen an alternative course. As they had not done so, they could—and, under the rules, should—have either 36WA turned away from the Mull immediately or slowed down and climbed to a safe altitude.