RAF Aircraft (Accidents)

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th April 1972.

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Photo of Mr Michael McNair-Wilson Mr Michael McNair-Wilson , Walthamstow East 12:00 am, 20th April 1972

asked the Minister of State for Defence what was the accident rate per 100,000 flying hours for Royal Air Force aircraft between 1962 and 1971.

Photo of Viscount  Lambton Viscount Lambton , Berwick-upon-Tweed

It is not the practice to publish information of this kind.

Photo of Mr Michael McNair-Wilson Mr Michael McNair-Wilson , Walthamstow East

Is my hon. Friend aware that between 1962 and 1971 529 military aircraft were destroyed or severely damaged and that 440 RAF aircrew lost their lives? Does he consider that the accident rate is now of such an order that continuing official secrecy is doing more harm than frankness? Will he also tell the House whether flight data recorders are being installed in front line military aicraft.

Photo of Viscount  Lambton Viscount Lambton , Berwick-upon-Tweed

I think my hon. Friend is being a little pessimistic. It is true that there was a small upward movement last year, but over the years there has been a downward trend in accidents. No Defence Minister could possibly be satisfied as long as there are accidents. Everything possible is being done to minimise them. My hon. Friend's point about flight data recorders is another matter.