Letter: Chinook debate

STEUART Campbell (Letters, 19 July) deftly misrepresents the words in my letter of 18 July in the hope of starting and winning an argument.

I concluded by asking: "Was it all a simple but shamefully unjust equation: 'accident plus no evidence of technical malfunction equals pilot error?' and 'In my opinion, it is undeniable from the evidence that seriously defective flight and engine control software could have flown the helicopter into the ground.'"

I clearly did not "conclude that the crash was caused by an unspecified technical problem" as Mr Campbell erroneously alleges.

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Mr Campbell is a sufficiently experienced writer of letters to the editor to use the device of ignoratio elenchi in the hope of winning a debate by falsely claiming that his opponent has advanced the ground on which his attack is launched only in the hope of scoring. The 29 deaths in the Chinook tragedy merit accurate comment.

Lord Philip was the last in a line of ministers, QCs and others who believed that the two Air Marshals, who substituted on review of the RAF Board of Inquiry their opinion that the pilots were guilty of gross negligence, should not have done so.

That is the essential point which cannot be wriggled out of ethically.

(Major) Michael Hamilton (Rtd)

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