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Elf and Safety think a Spitfire seat is dangerous

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Daithi O Buitigh23/08/2012 11:51:06
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Elf and Safety gone mad. I remember this WW2 veteran being refused permission to sit in the cockpit of a museum Spit as the 'seat wasn't safe enough'.

However Matt Jounes at Boultbee decided to go one better - he took him up in the two seater

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

"A 91-year-old former RAF pilot, who was told it was too dangerous to sit in the cockpit of a Spitfire, has taken off once more, flying in the face of health and safety rules.

Eric Carter, the last surviving member of Force Benedict, a secret mission to protect the northern Russian port of Murmansk, flew Spitfires during the Second World War.

But he was shot down earlier this year when he wanted to sit in the cockpit of the plane at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery near Stoke-on-Trent.

Officials at the museum told him it would be a health and safety risk because the Spitfire did not have a proper seat.
However, a flying enthusiast came forward to help get Mr Carter back behind the controls of the iconic aircraft.

Matt Jones, of the Boultbee Flight Academy, arranged for him to fly over Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex, the Daily Mail reported.
"Amazing as it may seem, it all came back to me after about 10 minutes in the air," Mr Carter said.
"The firing button and all the controls were right there, exactly as they were when I last flew the Spitfire.

"I can only describe it as being like you jumping back into your first car and feeling at home."
Mr Carter trained as a pilot in Stoke before taking part in Force Benedict.

The clandestine operation remained largely unknown for decades because Stalin did not want to admit that he had asked for help from Britain, but Mr Carter is feted in Russia now and was even a guest of honour when the Queen made her first State visit to the country in 1994.

“Force Benedict was a very well-kept secret,” he said in January. “We were threatened with a court martial if we said anything.
“Murmansk was all rubble and the Russian soldiers didn’t bother to ask who you were — they killed you on sight if they didn’t like the look of you. We were issued with special passes and had to hold them in front of us as we walked anywhere or we would have been shot."

Mr Jones, who organised Mr Carter’s trip in the plane PV202, said: "I found it ridiculous that Eric wasn’t allowed to sit in a museum Spitfire due to inane modern health and safety rules.
"We were lucky to be able to right this wrong, arranging for him to not only sit in a Spitfire but to take the controls of one in flight once again."

Phil 923/08/2012 12:04:39
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Well Done Mr Jones

malcolm woodcock 123/08/2012 12:19:09
405 forum posts

It wasn't safe for him to sit in a Spitfire in a museum but it was safe enough when he had a 109 on his tail. My mind is truly boggled. Well done Matt Jones for you gesture towards a hero.

fly boy323/08/2012 12:21:02
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An Exellent gesture from Mr Matt Jones. He is to be applauded. Well done the Daily Mail for bringing this to our attention Cheers.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator23/08/2012 13:04:13
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Posted by fly boy3 on 23/08/2012 12:21:02:

Well done the Daily Mail....

Now there's five words you don't often see together wink 2

BEB

Congrats to Mr Jones - good on you. The Museum were of course absolutely correct, just a little behind the times that's all - Spitfire seats were very dangerous indeed, between about 1939 and 1945 I seem to remember!

Geoff Jackson23/08/2012 13:11:42
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As a practising Health and Safety Officer I'm inclined to think that this was more a fear of being sued if anything went wrong rather than health and safety concerns. Modern health and safety's main concern is preventing serious injury in the workplace and not leisure activities.

Prop Nut23/08/2012 13:42:04
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Posted by fly boy3 on 23/08/2012 12:21:02:

Well done the Daily Mail....

Now there's five words you don't often see together wink 2

BEB

 

I've NEVER seen 'Well done, the Guardian' (who didn't even see fit to report this story).

Edited By Hellcat on 23/08/2012 13:46:16

Alan Cantwell23/08/2012 17:25:02
3039 forum posts

signs on the MK14 in themanchester air and space museum state, DANGER, RADIOACTIVITY, that would be the luminous dials then, sit there for--oh, 30 years, and you may have a pubic hair fall out,

sorry for the gentlmen above whose job H&S is, but i have nothing but scorn for it, i am in the engineering industry, and see what goes on, its juts a money making charade, gawd, NURSE, im going off on one againsmile p

WELL DONE to the gentleman who got this brave veteran airborne again,

John Tee23/08/2012 17:33:32
877 forum posts
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It was probably more a case of elf and safety just getting him into the cockpit let alone sitting down.

John

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator23/08/2012 18:19:45
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To be fair to the museum here we are talking about getting a 91 year man into a Spitfire - without any equipment. As Goeff says the museum have looked at this and thought "What if something goes wrong and he falls, breaks a hip, get pneumonia and dies?" Result law suit and masses of publicity that make the above look like a positive enforsement!

As some of you know I'm responsible for a number of research labs - we have some very specular machine tools - some with start-up currents of over 200amps 415volts for example, very high power lasers and radiation sources - so masses of H&S issues. But I don't blame H&S, TBH most of what people like the factory inspectorate etc say is good advice and common sense.

Its the lawyers I blame - the "sue 'em" culture which has got every administrator terrified. As I remarked to a senor adminstrator in the university "what you're saying is you'd much rather we didn't do any research at all - in fact best of all would be if we'd didn't turn anything on - right" - he nodded!

BEB

Dale Gibson23/08/2012 19:55:15
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Well, it's about time something good has come out of this ridiculous world of H&S...... Mr Eric Carter has had the chance to fly in a Spit again.......very well done to all involved.

Dale.

Alan Randall23/08/2012 21:36:15
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Much that is done today on the grounds of health and safety has nothing to do with health and safety but everything to do with fear of litigation. Fear of litigation is a result of the blame anyone but yourself culture. The law used to consider common sense and the views of the man on the Clapham omnibus, but sadly this is no longer the case.

Terence Lynock24/08/2012 23:07:30
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The radioactivity didnt bother Bill Masey or Duncan Smith who worked tirelessly from 1978 up into the 90's on that FR14E in Manchester and it took years to bring it back from the dead, it was originally gate guardian at Cosford until it was brought inside for preservation and because of its poor condition.

Her Griffon 65 had long gone to the fire dump when she was stuck up the pole, Bill and Duncan removed every bit of internal equipment and repainted the inside of the fuse and wing bays after clearing out long dead birds and old nests, then they lovingly restored every bit of gear before refitting it.

Bill and Duncan worked on the aircraft every sunday and some saturdays for well over ttwelve years, then when it was in pristine condition except for the missing engine Hendon robbed the museum and sent it up to Manchester where it has no significance at all.

Bill Massey sorry to say passed on some years ago but Duncan now in his 80's is still with the museum society. He was a very handy lad to have around as at 5 foot tall and built like a Whippit he could get into parts of airframes nobody else could reach.

Mark Powell 225/08/2012 07:53:06
430 forum posts

Alan,

'fear of litigation' you are totally correct.

There is another thing too. 'Predictive placement of blame'. That is how I see it, anyway. Why do trucks, vans, etc. now have a 'reverese warning' alarm? Easy, to warn pedestrians. Wrong. It is the drivers responsibily to look where he is going, 100 percent of the time. If he is going backwards and can't see he should either not do it at all or get someone to look for him.

An alarm is there so they, or their insures, can attempt to place some of the 'blame' on the pedestrian for not paying attention to the alarm, thus reducing the damages. Nothing to do with safety whatsoever. Any safety enhancement is purely incidental.

Peter Miller25/08/2012 09:10:26
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Talking of litigation. Did anyone notice on the program "Jet. When Britain ruled the air" that when John Derry's Dh 110 crashed into the crowd at Farnborough killing dozens and injuring hundreds they made the point that no one sued anyone over the results of the crash.

Can you imagine that today?

Mark Powell 225/08/2012 12:37:09
430 forum posts

I noticed that too. A friend in the pub the next day brought it up, totally unprompted by me.

In our local aviation museum we have a nice Spitfire. A visiting MP on an 'official' (whatever that is) visit took exception to the guns. Whole lot of use it would have been without them.

The world is getting dafter and dafter.

Fun Flyer25/08/2012 14:32:44
314 forum posts
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A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Smithsonian Institute. Not to be missed if you're in the area. The Spitit of St. Louis is on display there suspended from the ceiling. I got into conversation with one of the guides who told me that not long before his death, Lindberg himself arrived one day unannounced and said he wanted to sit in his cockpit. This being the USA a long ladder was sent for and the great man climbed up, unaided, and just sat there for the best part of an hour. Then he climbed down, bade them all good day and left.

Peter Miller25/08/2012 19:35:27
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Posted by Mark Powell 2 on 25/08/2012 12:37:09:

I noticed that too. A friend in the pub the next day brought it up, totally unprompted by me.

In our local aviation museum we have a nice Spitfire. A visiting MP on an 'official' (whatever that is) visit took exception to the guns. Whole lot of use it would have been without them.

The world is getting dafter and dafter.

Some should have said to that MP. "If it wasn't for those guns, you would be talking German now"

Phil 925/08/2012 20:43:33
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Posted by Mark Powell 2 on 25/08/2012 12:37:09:

I noticed that too. A friend in the pub the next day brought it up, totally unprompted by me.

In our local aviation museum we have a nice Spitfire. A visiting MP on an 'official' (whatever that is) visit took exception to the guns. Whole lot of use it would have been without them.

The world is getting dafter and dafter.

I hope this MP never gets the job as Minister of Defence they will end up sending lads to Afgan armed with nothing but a winning smile

Ian Jones25/08/2012 21:53:01
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3225 forum posts
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It's not easy getting into a spitfire, there's no floor as such and the feet have to be placed on bar like the top of a half former. This is a short distance in front of the seat and nearly as high. Having done that it's necessary to squat into a seated position before taking the feat off the bar and placing them on the rudder pedals. I can see why officials may consider that a risky thing for a 91 years old chap to do.

I haven't seen it mentioned but is the spit in question generally available for the people to sit in or had Mr Carter made a one-off request. In the case of the latter maybe the musuem didn't feel they were competent to asses and provide an assistance that might be required - even for someone much younger.

The other side of the coin though is that Eric Carter will have done this many, many times and would therefore know what is involved. He would therefore be the better qualified to judge his ability to do it again than any other person on earth and it seems to me that this where the musuem has slipped up.

Personally if I had a spit on display then I wouldn't let anyone in it; except in the case of the likes of Eric Carter. In his case my thinking would be "How can I make this work?".

Edited By Ian Jones on 25/08/2012 21:54:34

Edited By Ian Jones on 25/08/2012 21:55:13

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