Britain’s Cover-Up of Inside Job in Fatal RAF Chinook Crash

Evidence points to liquidation of British counterinsurgency team to trick Irish republicans into a defeating political process – Published on Global Research.ca, by Finian Cunningham, November 23, 2011.

For 17 years the British authorities have lied about the fatal RAF helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in which 25 senior counterinsurgency personnel were killed. Now Global Research reveals new evidence showing that the loss of life was an intentional act of sabotage … //

… But what Kennedy’s analysis shows is the following:  

  • 1. Flt Lts Tapper and Cook had meticulously planned their trip to include a known landing zone (LZ) at the Mull. A waypoint (A) recorded on the computerized flight plan shows this intention. The recorded directions taken by the Chinook indicate that the pilots were intending to touch base at the Mull, either by actually landing or by homing in on the LZ before proceeding to the destination further up the Scottish coast at Fort George. Both pilots were familiar with the LZ at the Mull, situated some 300 metres from a lighthouse. Says Kennedy: “The inclusion of an element of flight testing in itineraries is normal procedure for all RAF transport even when the transport is for senior personnel.”
  • 2. The pilots had been keeping strictly on track until they made a deliberate right turn close in to the Mull. They had been referring to the navigation computer up until that right turn; they were not contravening Visual Flying Regulations, as alleged by the official inquiries.
  • 3. Barometric and radar altimeter settings recovered from the wreckage of Chinook ZD576 were consistent with a landing on, or close pass over, the LZ at the Mull.
  • 4. The power settings were matched at intermediate level, consistent with the helicopter coasting horizontally towards the LZ and fully under control of the crew. “They were slowing down, letting their speed ‘wash off’, not performing a climb,” says Kennedy. Note the official version claims that the pilots were attempting an accelerated climb over the Mull, which could not be the case if the power settings were matched at intermediate level. Local sources, in particular the lighthouse keeper who was familiar with helicopters landing, also said that the engine noise from the Chinook moments before the crash was steady – again indicating that the aircraft was under control at that time and not climbing.
  • 5. The Chinook navigator had the course set that would have taken them “handrailing” up the coast of Islay/Jura – it was obviously their intention to cross back over the sea in a north westerly direction to use this safe, clear route after touching base at the Mull, not to fly over the Mull, as the official version claims.
  • 6. From the lateral position of the Chinook fuselage at the crash site, it appears that the pilots were attempting a “quick stop” manoeuvre in which they abruptly steered the big-bodied aircraft sideways to drastically reduce speed and take it into a vertical lift. Says Kennedy: “Not only is there is no evidence of control problems as the official account claims, but the final manoeuvre attempt showed meaningful control and expert airmanship in the circumstances. What the ‘quick stop’ attempt shows is that the pilots were surprised by their proximity to the ground. They were not flying negligently.”

Comments Kennedy: “The most obvious scenario is that the helicopter crew were approaching that known landing spot at waypoint A on the Mull; it had a safe exit, or “wave-off” option, as there was plenty of room at the elevation of that spot for a moderate turn around the lighthouse back out to sea – it was the optimum spot to aim for, given the turning radii available to a Chinook at high speed, for a turn around the lighthouse.

“One of the lighthouse keepers pointed out to me the approach line that military helicopters had previously taken in the past to achieve that manoeuvre – and the heading would have been 035 magnetic north (035M), which was as found on the Chinook handling pilot’s course selector on his main navigation display.”

Kennedy, who attended the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1996 and who has gone through the transcripts of all the inquiries, noted that none of these recorded findings and testimonies were cause for further questioning or elaboration. “At the very least, it was apparent that previous inquiries had not had the potential value of the available data made clear to them. Indeed, it seems that it was detracted from at every opportunity. No-one at these inquiries putting questions to the RAF or Ministry of Defence seemed to have any avionics background. Their focus was on narrow legalistic issues, such as: ‘Was it appropriate or not to ascribe gross negligence to the dead crew?’. When technical questions were put, they were easily obfuscated. But anyone familiar with the technical details can see that the official explanation of what happened is demonstrably at odds with the facts.”

“I believed back at the time the original verdict of gross negligence against the pilots was so premature before sufficient exploration of so many issues that it had to have been politically motivated, that the authorities wanted to avert public disquiet by saying that it was ‘undoubtedly pilot error, no sabotage, nothing to see here, move along’.”

Technical ‘smoking gun’:

  • Kennedy’s investigations reveal one further crucial detail that has been denied or obfuscated by RAF officials and the British government in all inquiries so far into the crash. And it is this technical “smoking gun” that points up the malicious aspect of what happened on the Mull of Kintyre and how it could have been perpetrated.
  • The avionics expert has obtained confirmation that Chinook ZD576 was equipped with a landing device known as a Covert Personnel Locator System. Officially, this is denied, but trusted RAF contacts have unofficially confirmed to him that ZD576 was fitted out with the system on that journey. “All the movements of the helicopter as it was approaching the Mull point to the fact that the crew were coming in for a landing or a near landing and that they were using a CPLS to achieve this. I predicted the use of the CPLS from their movements at the Mull. That has now been confirmed to me by RAF sources. This revelation of a CPLS onboard Chinook ZD576 is grounds enough for another inquiry to be opened,” he says.
  • The CPLS, explains Kennedy, is a precision guidance system that is intrinsically reliable. It is often used by American and British military helicopters to pinpoint special forces who are trapped behind enemy lines. The system’s various manufacturers describe it as being used for “an all-weather approach to assault zones, landing zones and drop zones”.
  • What makes the CPLS particularly useful is that it operates by a portable handset on the ground that sends an Ultra High Frequency radio signal to the receiver onboard the helicopter. Basically, the operator on the ground guides the helicopter to the landing zone and because the helicopter crew are following a unique signal there is little need for the pilots to have external visibility. They are relying on the ground operator to bring them safely to the LZ.

Chinook crew misled by operators on the ground?

  • On the evening that the pilots flew ZD576 into the fog at the shoreline of the Mull, the instrument settings show that they were preparing for landing. From their experience, they knew that the approach terrain was relatively low lying towards the LZ. Kennedy believes that the operator group on the ground was out of position and that instead of being directed to the LZ, the crew of the Chinook were misled into a “vertical corner” of nearby mountainous terrain. “Because the pilots believed they were approaching the LZ, the lower power settings they had selected would have made it nearly impossible for them to conduct a successful emergency manoeuvre at the last moment to avert collision. The Chinook is normally an agile aircraft despite its bulky size, but without the thrust power, the pilots would have had no chance of negotiating the vertical corner.”

Would the operators on the ground not have been in danger from the incoming Chinook?

  • Near the crash site on the Mull, on the aircraft’s track and at about the right distance inland to have caused their over-run of the shoreline, is a large fissure – a natural granite rock trench. Kennedy himself has inspected it. “Anyone hiding in that trench would have had protection from a crashing 20-ton helicopter.”
  • “Whether the CPLS operators on the ground were out of position wilfully or not is for another inquiry to ascertain,” he adds. “Had the operator on the ground been half a mile or so up the slope from the landing spot where the pilots expected him to be, all that is known about this crash is explained.”
  • Kennedy is adamant that Chinook ZD576 with all those onboard was deliberately brought down. “From the very beginning, this has smacked of a cover-up. The official account is demonstrably not true in light of the flight and instrument data. Given the strong political motives, there is powerful reason for why it could have been sabotage. And now there is evidence of the technical means by which this sabotage could have been carried out.”
  • If that is the case, then senior people within the British military and political establishment made a call on the lives of those who perished.

Why were 25 counterinsurgency personnel put on one helicopter?

… (full long text).

Links:

A Conversation with Finian Cunningham about Bahrain, the Lack of a Return to Normalcy and the U.S. Role in the Revolt, on The People’s Voice.org, by Timothy V. Gatto and Finian Cunninghan, June 16, 2011.

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