Was the RAF Chinook Helicopter crash an accident or sabotage?
by Peter Eyre on 27 Apr 2011 1 Comment
25 top terrorism experts were on-board

What really happened that terrible day in June 1994? Having worked with helicopters some considerable time both operationally and in Search and Rescue, I found this particular accident very distressing, especially as the crew – all deemed guilty (since overturned) – are not here to tell their side of this story.


On 2 June 1994, an RAF Chinook helicopter took off from Belfast Aldergrove Airport bound for a high level conference at Fort George, Nr Inverness, Scotland. Onboard were four very experienced crew members and 25 top level terrorism experts. The helicopter flew out over the sea in a north north-easterly direction towards the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, and crashed into the headland at approximately 1800 local time, killing all onboard. The tail number was ZD576; crew included Flt Lt Tapper (captain), Fl Lt Cook (co-pilot), with MALM Forbes and Sgt Hardie (crewman).


Since then, there have been years of speculation but no one ever looked at the possibility of the helicopter being sabotaged, which is remarkable considering that 25 high level terrorism experts were all onboard the same aircraft, a no-no in both military and civil aviation. In all, 29 persons died in the crash.


The timeline reads as follows:

-        June 1994: Chinook Helicopter departs Belfast and crashes at the Mull of Kintyre en route to Fort George, Nr Inverness, Scotland


-        1995: An RAF board of inquiry finds nothing to clearly indicate what caused the crash. Based on limited evidence, it says the wrong rate of climb was a contributory factor, although technical malfunction cannot be positively disproved. However, two Air Marshalls who review the evidence find Fl Lts Richard Cook and Jonathan Tapper grossly negligent


-        1996: A fatal accident inquiry leaves open the question of what caused the accident, but the sheriff recommends the immediate installation of cockpit voice and accident data recorders.


-        May 1998: The Commons Defence Committee reports that the helicopter involved in the crash was not suffering from “fundamental flaws”, but makes no judgment on the immediate cause of the crash.


-        May 1999: Computer Weekly publishes evidence - not available to crash investigators - that the helicopter’s FADEC engine control software was not reliable and may have caused the crash. Flt Lt Tapper is said by the magazine to have expressed concerns about the speed at which the Chinook’s “full authority digital engine control” was being put into service.


-        July 2000: Prime Minister Tony Blair promises to look personally at the circumstances of the crash, but stresses he will not reopen the inquiry.


-        November 2000: Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, backed by Mr Blair, rejects fresh calls for a new inquiry.


-        Weeks later, the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee presents a report disputing the original inquiry’s findings. It says there were repeated problems with the aircraft and the pilots should be exonerated, but the government insists the report is “superficial” and says “nothing new”. Angry campaigners call the response a cover-up.


-        April 2001: Peers vote in favour of a House of Lords all-party inquiry into the crash, after Government bows to pressure and allows the vote for a fresh investigation to go ahead. The move is welcomed by Mike Tapper, father of Flt Lt Tapper, who has been campaigning to clear his son’s name.


-        June 2001: Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, a former Scottish appeal court judge, is named chairman of a five-strong House of Lords committee to report on the crash early in 2002.


-        February 2002: The two RAF pilots are cleared of blame for the 1994 crash by Lord Jauncey’s inquiry.


With this overview, I will now discuss the contents of a conversation I had with an ex Intel Officer who worked for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Her name is Tara Andrea Davison, although we believe her full birth name to be Tara Andrea Biggs-Davison, daughter of Sir John Alec Biggs-Davison, Conservative MP, now deceased. She was once married to Peter Lilley’s brother, but is now divorced. She paid some visits to Iraq, carrying out other activities.


Ms Davison worked with the DTI for many years and had access to No. 10 from time to time. She carried out research on illegal arms dealing. Tara apparently left the DTI with many files appertaining to illegal arms dealings etc. which she hoped to present at the Sir John Chilcot Iraq Inquiry, but her house was raided by the Derbyshire Police in mid-January 2010, and they took all her very sensitive documents and many documents relating to the many fraudulent companies controlled by her. She was placed on bail which has since been extended to mid-May 2011.


By coincidence, I was then doing much media work regarding illegal arms dealings, conflicts /wars, the use of depleted uranium, and helping Gordon Bowden to expose his findings on massive fraud in the UK and overseas. Gordon and I decided to contact Tara in the hope we could help in her case, whilst gaining information to our advantage … We felt she was a very small fish as far as fraud goes but could help get the bigger boys.


On 4 August 2010 I contacted her regarding a possible visitation and we exchanged a few thoughts on Intel etc. During this conversation she mentioned the Chinook accident in the Mull of Kintyre; Tara said it was all done from her office. I asked her why would they do this, and she went on to say that things were not going according to plan, as Government expected, that there were a few problems; when such things happen, you remove the problem or the people.


The phone call lasted some considerable time; on completion I telephoned Gordon Bowden and explained what Tara had said; he was as shocked as I. Over the next two months, I embarked on my own investigations. In this period I noticed that one of the original civil investigators was Captain Ralph Kohn, a pilot I once knew… I contacted Captain Kohn by phone and then by email as I always prefer to have such events recorded in writing. Accordingly, after receiving some contacts from Ralph, I sent him an email (ralph.kohn@yahoo.co.uk, flipseal@hotmail.com) on 7 October 2010, wherein I said:


-        My background is airline operations, weather, search and rescue etc and have worked with two of the largest private sector companies i.e. BMA which is now BMI and also Bristow Helicopter etc... I was also in the Military working on Aircraft Carrier and many staff jobs including NATO HQ which covered a certain amount of Intel work etc


-        I happened to be talking to an ex civilian Intel operative about many topics and the Chinook crash came up in conversation [which] blows the whole current investigation right out of the window and therefore it is in your best interest to pursue this aspect. …..


-        [I have] noticed that in general the entire report from the military perspective was one big cover up... there was so many conflicting reports about the weather, transponder code, in flight communications, electro magnetic field interference, witness reports etc that made the RAF report almost a mockery compared to the civil report as compiled and edited by Ralph.


-        Areas that should have been covered were not covered and more should have been done with the onshore witnesses etc which again did not add up.... …


-        .... the other major aspect that I am very concerned about is that of aviation security and procedures and the fact that all this high profile guys all travelled on one aircraft is beyond common sense and for my part became part my input as this being an inside job.... I think the modern day term is “False Flag.” … …


-        This whole incident sounds so suspect it is beyond words and yet no one has looked at this....why?


End of communication


I continued to communicate with those involved. My friend Gordon Bowden was firm that it is my duty of care to report this fact to the police. We both decided to visit the Police HQ in Derby and make a statement, which we hoped would be under oath and fully recorded. This prompted me to send another email to the group who dealt with the previous investigation as follows: [excerpted – ed]



To: ralph.kohn@yahoo.co.uk, flipseal@hotmail.com, bigdee@blueyonder.co.uk, romac100@hotmail.com, dickhadlow@hotmail.com  


-        [Re] the call I had previously made to an ex Intel Operative some time ago.


-        My friend who is also ex RAF …. we will both go to the Police Station today to lodge a statement regarding my chat with this Intel Operative that, if true, implicates the authorities to this being an inside job. Either way we already know that the only reason this Chinook could have crashed was by some catastrophic event taking place at Waypoint A, rendering the crew unable to correct what was happening to them.


-        So my conclusion is one of two events took place:


-        The aircraft systems failed catastrophically and the crew were unable to override the problem manually resulting in the crash. Or


-        If my conversation with the Intel operative is correct then the aircraft was tampered with, controlled by and arranged by a Government Agency who deliberately wanted the passengers onboard this Chinook removed. It was explained that some of those deceased may not have been moving the peace talks [Northern Ireland] along the way the Government wanted and so such things can happen. The operative actually told me that the Chinook Incident was done from the operative’s office.


-        This caused me deep concern, knowing that the deceased crew and their families had gone through hell in trying to clear them of neglect etc. … …. ….


-        As an ex aviation professional in Airline Operations, Flight Planning, Search and Rescue and also having worked for Bristow Helicopters in an ATC/SAR role, I am now convinced that either of the above two were responsible for this accident.


-        I will get back to you all after I have been to the local police and I will have my friend with me as a witness to the event.


-        Would you all please acknowledge receipt of this email just in case something should happen to me or my friend


Best Regards

Peter Eyre     

End of communications


Captain Kohn acknowledged receipt of my email as per below:

From: Ralph Kohn ralph.kohn@yahoo.co.uk

Subject: RE: Chinook ZD576

To: PETER EYRE peter.eyre7@btinternet.com

Date: Thursday, 7 October, 2010, 14:23


I acknowledge your intention of reporting the matter you told me about as explained hereunder, to the Police.




Gordon (ex RAF) and I went to the Derby Police HQ on 7 October 2010, regarding my information that the Chinook accident was an inside job. Gordon’s interview was recorded under incident number 620 of the 07/10/2010 and commenced at 1633-1747. The interviewing officers were DC Cyples Shoulder Number 1772 and DC Rigby Shoulder Number 1134.


When my turn came they did not have time to interview me and said they would arrange for a recorded interview to take place another day and would be in touch.


The general mannerism of the Police was rather blank and they said they could not see us for a recorded interview unless the matter was of high importance... we both explained the risk to ourselves in raising this issue and that we want this visit recorded... That was done with Gordon and so the matter is now officially recorded. I do not know when I will get my interview as they didn’t appear too interested in the topic.



To gain attention from anyone related to this inquiry, I sent a detailed email to key members of the Royal Aeronautical Society [excerpted – ed]: on 9 October 2010. In my capacity as an Aviation Consultant-Senior Airline/Helicopter Operations-SAR Coordinator, I said that the original conclusion by Senior RAF Staff who found the pilots caused the accident by flying into high ground through gross negligence had many grey areas; there were conflicting conclusions between the civilian investigation team and the military investigation team.


-        This particular type of Chinook (HC2) had a long history of problems which were known to the authorities and in particular Boscombe Down immediately prior to the accident. The ZD576 itself had encountered serious problems prior to the day of the accident. It is a common understanding that ZD576 was not a serviceable aircraft in the true sense and had this been a civilian Chinook, it would never have been allowed to depart. In civil aviation we have in our operational manual what we call allowable deficiencies. This basically is a list of go or no-go items. 


-        The weather was typical coastal type weather with some hills shrouded in cloud or mist and it was obvious from the account of Mr. Holbrook (boat skipper) that visibility at sea level was reasonable. From my experience, the cloud/mist on coastal hills is continuously swirling around with a fluctuating cloud base. The fact that the lighthouse keeper did not have good visibility is because he was at a higher level and in a totally different position. Mr. Holbrook could see the surrounds of the lighthouse and the approaching helicopter.


-        As an expert in aviation security, it is not normal for such people as Royal Family, VIP, and CEO / Directors to travel on the same aircraft in number for obvious reasons. Why was such a high profile group allowed to travel on one helicopter?


-        The Chinook departed Aldergrove as a VFR flight and transited the northeast part of Northern Ireland before its sea transit to the Mull of Kintyre without incident. The crew would have selected on their SatNav (whilst still at Aldergrove) their first waypoint which was A, and also programmed in their second waypoint B etc. As the crew visually monitored the approaching Mull of Kintyre headland they would have been extremely alert and ready to call ATC with a position report i.e. waypoint A and at the same time selected waypoint B.


-        A call to ATC was made, but no response was given, though this was a very special flight and the RAF would have been carrying out flight following procedures. One would also assume this was a position report and at that time would have selected waypoint B having also gone visual with the lighthouse. 


-        One can therefore only assume that at this moment something catastrophic occurred that took away the ability of the crew to control the helicopter. There can only be five possible causes - Catastrophic Failure of the control mechanism - Contamination of the Hydraulic System - FADEC failure - Interference to the aircraft by either outside or inside persons - Crew Error.  


-        It is common knowledge that the Mull of Kintyre is in itself a very secretive location used as a testing ground for advanced (next generation) high tech military aircraft as well as US Navy Seals. One would therefore assume the area was monitored continuously by both the RAF and the US with their usual array of sophisticated tracking systems and radar etc.


-        There would have been other fishing boats around. What efforts were made to obtain witnesses, how was screening done and were all witnesses taken to their location on that day to display and explain what they saw or heard etc.


-        Why wasn’t the possibility of sabotage or external control of the aircraft looked at more deeply? The status of the passengers should have made this mandatory. There are so many other grey areas to discuss but the above would be my initial concerns.



My collective email did not go down too well and I received a curt response from Mr Simon Luxmoore (simon.luxmoore@aerosociety.com), Chief Executive of the Royal Aerospace Society, stating that the wide distribution of my email concerning ‘Chinook’ was causing significant concern within the Society. He sought my background and information regarding the crash.


On 12 Oct 2010, I replied by email, that a friend and I were attempting to bring the matter into the public domain as we noted a distinct lack of motivation to accept that the information passed to me during a private conversation could be factual. As the informant previously held position as a government intelligence officer, I believed she was telling the truth. I added that as the aircraft wreckage is still under lock and key, it can be re-examined.


Luxmoore responded arrogantly (dirscl@mobileemail.vodafone.net) on 13 October 2010:

-        Mr Eyre, Can you tell me who you are and what authority you believe you have to communicate with the Society’s members on this or any other issue. This clearly has become vexatious both to the Society and its membership. Simon Luxmoore


I replied I would email all organisations or individuals in the industry, selected political figures, and other third parties, to collectively apply pressure so that the original informant is interviewed and the truth revealed. The fact that very senior and well respected civil aviators disagreed with the military panel is of great concern, and as the crew were originally charged with gross neglect, since waived, and Government forced to re-investigate the crash of Chinook ZD576, the true cause of the crash must come to light.


What is more, this particular model of Chinook and the FADEC system had been causing major problems for crews flying it and the Test Pilots at Boscombe Down had grounded this type just before the crash. …. …..


-        Simon Luxmoore was unfazed (dirscl@mobileemail.vodafone.net) and insisted that I “cease contacting our membership further….”


Ironically, one day we got the following headlines:

Royal Aeronautical Society fellows doubt safety of Chinook software



Then, on 21 October 2010, Captain Ralph Kohn (ralph.kohn@yahoo.co.uk) decided to take interest in my activities regarding Chinook ZD576. Kohn specifically inquired about the response from the Police. He said he had informed the Ministry of Defence regarding Chinook Mark 2 Airworthiness failings in December 2009, but never received an answer until he resent it to the new Secretary for Defence Dr Liam Fox.


On 22 October 2010, Ralph passed me contact details for the new board of inquiry ordered by Dr Liam Fox, to be headed by Lord Philip, Privy Counsellor. Other members of the Mull of Kintyre Accident (Independent Review) panel included three Privy Counsellors, viz., the Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP, the Rt Hon the Lord Forsyth of Drumlean and the Rt Hon the Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke. The board invited informed persons to write to its Secretary, Mr Alex Passa, at The Mull of Kintyre Review, 1 Melville Crescent. Edinburgh EH3 7HW



I sent a letter, hand delivered, with all details known to me to the new board of enquiry and obtained a formal receipt.


Meanwhile, DC Ahmed at Derby Police HQ advised me he had now handed over the case regarding Chinook to the Ministry of Defence.


I also discussed the matter with Chris Williamson MP at two surgeries and in other correspondence (chris.williamson.mp@parliament.uk), but to no avail. My last communication with him on this topic was on 6 April 2011:


-        You will also recall the discussion regarding the Crash of the Chinook in the Mull of Kintyre killing all 29 VIP passengers and the RAF Crew (who were initially blamed).


-        Some extremely senior Military, Police and MI5 were all onboard the same one helicopter as well as a very experienced special operations crew. In reality this would never be allowed at either Military or Civil level and is in itself extremely suspect... not to mention that possible sabotage was never looked at in the initial inquiry. ... ….


-        I have also spoken a few times to the head of the original Civilian Inquiry, Captain Ralph Kohn, whose team disagree with the MoD’s original verdict. … ……


-        Had this flight involved VIP’s from the political sector one would assume that the inquiry would have been swift and accurate... [this] certainly gives rise to the possibly of being an inside job, which is what my informant told me.


-        I did ask the question why did they die?... the response was that the Government were unhappy that the Northern Ireland Peace Talks were not moving along at the pace that they were seeking at the time..... when you have a problem you remove the problem.... hence the death of 29 VIP’s involved in the NI process and the RAF Crew!!



What I found suspicious and distressing were the words of Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, Leslie Sharp, just hours after the crash:

-        I make it clear that there is no reason whatsoever to suspect that we are dealing with anything other than a terrible tragic accident.”


The Prime Minister at the time of the crash was John Major and the President of the Board of Trade was Michael Heseltine (now Lord Heseltine); both were very keen to wind up the Northern Ireland Peace Talks after pressure from the United States.




On 13 April 2011, I sent an email to the Mull of Kintyre Review Board with Cc to others (enquiries@mullofkintyrereview.org.uk) recording my findings regarding the loss of RAF Chinook ZD576, its crew and passengers on 2 June 1994 on the headland of the Mull of Kintyre Scotland. I urged them to arrange for Ms Tara Andrea Davison (Nee Tara Andrea Biggs-Davison) to be interviewed under oath and recorded at the earliest opportunity and her testimony made public in the report.


More disturbing, as I pointed out to the Review Board, was a (timely?) release by BBC which stated: “Newly discovered Ministry of Defence documents have cast further doubt on the cause of the Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre in 1994.The papers, obtained by the BBC, suggest there were official concerns over the airworthiness of the RAF’s fleet of Chinooks two years earlier. It is understood they were never shown to the officer in charge of signing off the aircraft’s airworthiness.”


One fears the release of this information could be a ploy to distract from the possibility of the crash being an inside job i.e. the interference of and aircraft/sabotage. It might be in the Government’s best interests to accept a lesser charge of FADEC failure rather than be accused of an internally arranged sabotage. Hence the recording of the testimony of Ms Tara Andrea Davison is imperative.



The Secretary for Defence at the time was Malcolm Rifkind (now Sir Malcolm Rifkind) under PM John Major. Currently he is Chair of the The Intelligence and Security Committee under PM David Cameron (very convenient). The President of the Board of Trade at the time of the crash was Michael Heseltine (now Lord Heseltine). It goes without saying that these two astute gentlemen have much information hidden within the corridors of Westminster that may never be revealed, but with Sir Malcolm at the helm of Intelligence and Security what chance do we have of having an open and transparent review?


Peter Eyre, a former British Naval officer, worked at NATO headquarters, and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and South East Asia as a petroleum consultant; he lives in the UK and writes regularly for the Palestine Telegraph; his website is www.eyreinternational.com

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