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moo
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Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 11:23 am

In his verdict on the deaths of 14 British servicemen in 2006, a Coroner has said that:

Quote:

In his view the entire Nimrod fleet had "never been airworthy from the first time it was released to service" nearly 40 years ago, he added.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7416627.stm

Quite a claim, 40 years of unairworthy aircraft being operated?
 
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larshjort
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 11:36 am

Heres another link explaining why.

Quote:

The tragedy is believed to have been caused by fuel leaking in one of the plane's dry bays, then igniting on contact with a hot air pipe, the inquest into the deaths has heard.

The hearing in Oxford was told yesterday that a section of hot air pipe in XV230's dry bay seven was not lagged to protect it from igniting fuel in the event of a leak from a fuel pipe below it.

Although the hot air pipe is insulated in most parts of the aircraft, it remains uncovered in dry bay seven.

Andrew Walker, the coroner, said: "What we have here amounts to a serious design flaw, because we could have a single point failure (where just one fault could cause a serious problem)."

Martin Breakell, BAE's chief Nimrod engineer, agreed, although he stressed that this scenario would be unlikely.


http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news...serious_design_flaw_on_Nimrods.php
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N328KF
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 3:16 pm



Quoting Moo (Thread starter):
Quite a claim, 40 years of unairworthy aircraft being operated?

Perhaps he is suggesting that the Comet was a poor choice of platform to start...
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
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moo
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 3:48 pm



Quoting N328KF (Reply 2):
Perhaps he is suggesting that the Comet was a poor choice of platform to start...

I don't necessarily see that in his opinion - the problem that brought down the Nimrod in question was in no way shape or form related to the problems the Comet had, its 100% to do with the implementation of the conversion from Comet to Nimrod.

The pipe in question is related to the air-to-air refueling system, which would be a conversion addition rather than base Comet equipment.
 
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N328KF
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 3:56 pm



Quoting Moo (Reply 3):
I don't necessarily see that in his opinion - the problem that brought down the Nimrod in question was in no way shape or form related to the problems the Comet had, its 100% to do with the implementation of the conversion from Comet to Nimrod.

I think my point is that he probably knows about the Comet's history and has a tainted perception of the whole platform.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
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moo
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 4:02 pm



Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
I think my point is that he probably knows about the Comet's history and has a tainted perception of the whole platform.

Ahh fair enough then.
 
dl021
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 5:44 pm

What the hell does a coroner know about aerodynamics/physics and anything else to do with aeroplanes flying?

How many other airplanes have fallen from the sky like that?

Is a plane that flies for 40 years safely having an accident an indication of anything more than inevitability?
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FlyUSCG
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 6:04 pm



Quoting Moo (Thread starter):
a Coroner has said that



Quoting DL021 (Reply 6):
What the hell does a coroner know about aerodynamics/physics and anything else to do with aeroplanes flying

Bingo! I bet you can all imagine what we would be told if we walked into a morgue and started explaining cause of death for all the bodies in there. But hey, since when has the news let common sense get in the way of picking a interviewee.
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474218
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 6:28 pm

There is an old adage "if it looks good it will fly good". I don't think anything else needs to be said about the Nimrod!
 
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moo
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 6:35 pm



Quoting DL021 (Reply 6):
What the hell does a coroner know about aerodynamics/physics and anything else to do with aeroplanes flying?



Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 7):

Bingo! I bet you can all imagine what we would be told if we walked into a morgue and started explaining cause of death for all the bodies in there. But hey, since when has the news let common sense get in the way of picking a interviewee.

Contrary to belief on A.net (this exact view came up on another thread a while back), British coroners do not simply form opinions in a vacuum - during the process of the inquest, they hear evidence (just like a court) from many expert witnesses, people involved in the actual maintenance of the aircraft, people who built the aircraft, people who fly the aircraft, and significant amounts of written evidence such as the design blueprints, maintenance schedules, upgrade schedules etc etc.

This isn't an uninformed idiot blowing smoke up other peoples assholes, this is someone who just spent the past several weeks reaching this verdict with the help of many many others.

For example, the '40 years unairworthy' comment was made off the back of BAE head of airworthiness Tom McMichael saying it was likely that, if the evidence was correct, the aircraft had been flying in an nonairworthy state for 37 years.

Another BAE expert, Martin Breakell, BAEs chief Nimrod engineer, commented about the original Nimrod engineers failure to lag the pipe.

Two significant people making significant comments.

So no, don't think that the Coroner is uninformed or unable to make the opinion that he did.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 6):
How many other airplanes have fallen from the sky like that?

Is a plane that flies for 40 years safely having an accident an indication of anything more than inevitability?

Weirdly enough, that viewpoint doesn't seem to be valid in A.net CivAV whenever Concorde is discussed.
 
GDB
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 6:37 pm

This coroner has no power to implement his decision.
However, this is serious, you cannot expect the general public to see it any other way.

I agree that the problem stems from the very hurried conversion for AAR gear, with all the associated plumbing, during the Falklands War, allowing coverage of the S.Atlantic from Ascension Island.
Something done with this urgency is a lash up, there were plenty of these, however, these others were not still in use a quarter of a century later.
Even then, it seems another factor was the greatly increased tempo of AAR ops, in recent years.
Post Falklands, actual use of the AAR was rare, not really used for Nimrods primary role then, ASW in the Atlantic.
The odd deployment exercise, not much more.

All this changed in recent years, with the type now doing largely overland work, in the recce/ELINT/C3 role, often needing to be on station for extended periods, so much more use of AAR.
Not only in Iraq, as we saw from this terrible loss, over Afghanistan too, I'd bet the distances from base here meant even more AAR, with gear quickly assembled/fabriacted way back in Spring 1982.

Could it also be the case that support levels declined, what with these new, challenging tasking, while the RAF lost people, had reviews, changes, helped worsen the situation?
Plus let's face it, the aircraft was aging.
Then perhaps the final act in this tragedy, the severe delays to the replacement, the Nimrod MRA.4.
Had that kept to schedule, very likely this accident would not have happened, since that airframe would not have been flying, in that mod state at least.

MRA.4 is effectively a new aircraft, hence conversions getting new serial numbers.
But, to get it past the Treasury in 1996. making it a conversion of existing airframes was proposed, they'll think it's cheaper by default, can say we have not funded a brand new ASW type now the USSR has gone.
But they clearly did not take on board that each MR.2 to MRA.4 only left the original fuselage pressure shell, everything else was new, inside and out.
Clearly, a new production MRA.4 (which BAE said they could do), would have been quicker, cheaper, since the main delays to MRA.4 have, it seems, in areas like re-joining new wings to the original fuselage.

During this period, as costs escalated, the Nimrod MR.2 fleet was reduced further, meaning each remaining airframe was used more, as these new missions emerged.

Since Nimrods are still being used over Afghanistan, but AAR has been suspended, it could be that they are being supplemented by some of those UAV's the RAF has got quickly under Urgent Operational Requirements, supplementing the formal 'Watchkeeper' procurement.

What to do now? Could it be possible to rush newly completed MRA.4's into service, albeit fitted for the Afghanistan mission, leaving equipment for the main ASW mission until the fleet builds in numbers?

Finally, this must be hellish for those loved ones of the ill fated crew, they have every right to be angry on the broader aspects to this case, never mind specifics we can talk about safely here.
While understanding the sentiments, I could not though agree with one of them who stated that Nimrod should be grounded whatever the effects for the troops on the ground.
Since the danger the troops face is in another league, if the MoD are right in that they have identified and corrected the main risk factors and have increased maintenance schedules to account for the issues raised by the accident-only if that really is the case though.
 
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moo
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 6:50 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 10):
Clearly, a new production MRA.4 (which BAE said they could do), would have been quicker, cheaper, since the main delays to MRA.4 have, it seems, in areas like re-joining new wings to the original fuselage.

Hell yes, I read in one journal that BAE was having huge issues because they discovered that there was actually no production standard across the entire Nimrod fleet - each and every Comet was basically hand crafted and then each and every conversion to Nimrod was hand crafted, so there is no single standard that BAE can produce parts to for the MRA.4 body - every single aircraft is unique.
 
Arrow
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 7:03 pm



Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 7):
But hey, since when has the news let common sense get in the way of picking a interviewee.

This is a stupid comment. These stories cite expert opinion presented as evidence at a coroner's inquest, and the coroner's comments and conclusion based on what he heard. You're making it sound like some sensationalist attempt by the news media to concoct a good story out of nothing.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 6):
What the hell does a coroner know about aerodynamics/physics and anything else to do with aeroplanes flying?

Did you actually read the stories? Some telling excerpts:

This week a senior engineer from defence and aerospace firm BAE Systems told the inquest that his predecessors, who made the Nimrod some 40 years ago, failed to fit a fire protection system on a key area of risk on the aircraft. And the firm's head of airworthiness Tom McMichael said that if the evidence heard was correct, the Nimrod planes had, at the time of the tragedy, been flying in an unairworthy state for 37 years.

Sounds to me like the coroner nailed it.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
GDB
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 7:09 pm

Funny you should mention that Moo, since when we did the Concorde return to flight conversions, we found that each set of fuel tank liners had to to made for each aircraft-after we tried to do G-BOAF with standard sized ones!
We'd known they were hand built of course, since this was seen in more routine work.

The Coroner-could he be applying civil aviation criteria to Nimrod?
If so, is it appropriate for a military aircraft.
And losses or not, could it be that other military aircraft could potentially fail this coroner's definition of airworthiness?
 
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moo
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 7:17 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 13):
The Coroner-could he be applying civil aviation criteria to Nimrod?
If so, is it appropriate for a military aircraft.
And losses or not, could it be that other military aircraft could potentially fail this coroner's definition of airworthiness?

I hope so - while I believe that the definition of airworthiness should be lower for military aircraft than civilian ones (for obvious reasons), I don't think it should be much lower and there should be an independent body with the ability to conduct checks and balances.

I wonder if its possible to get a copy of this Coroners report, and see exactly how they are defining 'airworthy'.
 
jutes85
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RE: Nimrod "has Never Been Airworthy"

Fri May 23, 2008 10:35 pm

While I was in CFB Comox during Ex Fin Castle, or something like that, there was a visiting Nimrod from what I'm guessing Britian. I think it flew twice and was grounded the rest of the ex due to maint probs. I didn't know it was that bad.
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