Web publication of "Macdonald" report on Chinook ZD576 crash

ZD576 the Chinook which crashed (reduced).JPG
[Picture is of Chinook ZD576, which later crashed notoriously on the Mull of Kintyre]

An impressive and extensively-researched report on the Chinook Mk2 accident, by three fellows of the Royal Aeronautical Society, has been published on the web today by The Guardian.

An excerpt: “… vital information relating to Chinook HC2 engine malfunctions was knowing kept from the various boards of inquiry by the RAF” and “known possible causal factors were ignored by the RAF’s own BOI”.

The fellows say that the views of RAF Boscombe Down test pilots and computer software specialists were ignored. The “aircraft was ordered into service before faults such as those found in the HC2 flight critical Fadec engine control computer software had been satisfactorily cleared….”

Since the crash of Chinook ZD576 on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994,”new information has been obtained from other Chinook operators ontechnical malfunctions that have resulted in fatal accidents or verynear accidents”. 

Macdonald report (April 2000)


In today’s Daily Telegraph Letters is a succinct summary of why the RAF’s decision to blame the two pilots of Chinook ZD576 for the crash on the Mull of Kintyre was wrong.

The summary is by Omar Malik, a former RAF pilot and British Airways captain.

Chinook evidence

“SIR- The RAF’s verdict on the accident to Chinook ZD 576 has been rejectedby experts of all disciplines ever since it was pronounced in 1995.Thereafter the RAF’s response to criticism has consistently displayedfive characteristics.

“1) It has carefully avoided mention of the required level of proof: “with absolutely no doubt whatsoever”.

“2)It has based its defence on assumptions of weather conditions which donot accord with the evidence of the best-placed eyewitness.

“3) It has represented no evidence of technical malfunction as evidence of no technical malfunction.

“4) It has cited its own supposedly expert analysis which it has been unable to offer for inspection.

“5)And, finally, it has alleged, with no positive evidence whatsoever,that the pilots were in full control of the helicopter and that theydeliberately flew into cloud.

“The letter (January 6) from the Chief of the Air Staff was a tired repetition of this tendentious position.

“Thesimple fact is that there is very little positive evidence of any kind.Those who oppose the verdict do not claim to know what happened. Whatthey affirm is that no one could objectively pronounce any verdict -let alone with absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

“The hierarchyof the RAF insists that its verdict is right. For the good name of thedead pilots and in the interests of serving RAF aircrew, the disputeshould be put to an independent High Court judgment.”


Ministry of Defensiveness – culture of denial over Chinook Fadec software flaws – IT projects  blog

Chinook software was positively dangerous – ComputerWeekly.com

Royal Aeronautical Society fellows doubt safety of Chinook software – IT Projects blog

Call for pilots to be cleared over air crash – The Kathryn Report

Chinook verdict cannot be allowed to stand – SNP Defence spokesman

Rifkind questions Chinook crash – Politicshome