On this page I intend to put some opinions and requests, not confined to Aviation!




Not clear what happens to our aerospace industry if we leave the EU.


Couldn't resist sending letter below to the Times to-day 6th July but know it is most unlikely they will print it,




Your leader this morning, Saturday, infers that voting for Johnson as PM will unite the Country and prevent Corbyn being PM. The latter may be true but uniting the Country is palpably absurd. The Brexit referendum was  flawed with misleading information promoted by Johnson, Farage and many others, also possibly by the Russians, and anyway that was three years ago. The electorate is a lot wiser now and the only fair way to try to unite the Country, as many Labour MPs, but not apparently their leader, are well aware, is for there to be another referendum voting on the best deal we can get. To even consider proroguing Parliament to force a Nodeal Brexit would be a disgrace to the UK democracy and if it were carried out would result in the break-up of the UK.


The Tory Brexiteers have already consigned the Conservative party to the wilderness, probably for many years, and the best the Country can hope for is the Lib Dems preventing the Labour government  having a majority at the next election.


What I find truly amazing is that so many of the Tory MPs don’t realise what they are doing; they seem to think that allowing the Brexiteers to rule their Party will increase their chances of being re-elected, ignoring the fact that a no-Deal Brexit will almost certainly ruin the Country.


3. Falklands Campaign


As those of you who have read Nimrod Boys will know I was very disappointed not to get a first hand account from a crew member flying  from San Felix island Chile. If anyone who was there   feels like writing an account I can give them the MoD address to send it to to see if it can be cleared. I think it is very important to have first hand accounts of this operation rather than historians writing third hand accounts. The account if cleared I would incorporate in one of my books.


2. Help please. I'm hoping it is possible to write a book about the Bristol Blenheim bomber with first hand  accounts of some of it operations. If anyone has knowledge of where I can find some accounts please let me know on tony@blackmanbooks.co.uk

 Accounts, regardless of the nationality of the country of the operator, would be very welcome.






1.Boeing 737 Max. I sent the following letter to Aviation Week 4th April which was published 22nd April with some slight editing.


A long time ago I was chief test of Avros in the UK, one time technical member of the UK Civil Aviation Authority also a member of the UK Air Registration Board. Commenting on the very sad MCAS story, I believe as test pilots we would never have agreed to a such a powerful device as the MCAS relying on a single Angle of Attack indicator. The problem we always had then, and I suspect that nothing has changed, is that we were always under terrific pressure from the firm if we found anything wrong which would delay certification and delivery. Our views would often be challenged and accused of gilding the lily. In the case of MCAS it will be interesting see what the investigation will show but it is difficult to believe that the Boeing Flight Test Department did not query the single AOA decision.


I'm surprised that there hasn't been some whistle blowing from inside Boeing. 

Boeing published a statement 5th May trying to justify the safety of the MCAS modification. What I find so amazing  was that even after the first accident they thought the modifcation was safe.  https://boeing.mediaroom.com/news-releases-statements?item=130431 which includes this remarkable extract:-

IIn December 2018, Boeing convened a Safety Review Board (SRB)* to consider again whether the absence of the AOA Disagree alert from certain 737 MAX flight displays presented a safety issue. That SRB confirmed Boeing’s prior conclusion that it did not. Boeing shared this conclusion and the supporting SRB analysis with the FAA

Consequently I've also just sent the following letter to Aerospace which I hope will be published:-



          The tragic Boeing 737 Max accident situation has many dimensions. As an ex test pilot and later as a  regulator on the Board of the Civil Aviation Authority I am at a complete loss to understand how Boeing thought it was acceptable to connect anything as powerful as the MCAS elevator system to be controlled by a single Angle of Attack (AOA), not a particularly reliable device by modern standards. As a firm’s test pilot we would never have concurred with the design despite any objections our employer might have had and equally I am absolutely sure the UK’s regulator at the time, the Air Registration Board, would have refused to certificate the system. What happened within Boeing we may never know but I find it hard to believe that Boeing’s Flight Test Centre didn’t object. As a result of these two accidents the FAA procedures for delegating certification requirements to firms will surely change as will the automatic acceptance by other national regulation agencies of FAA certification.

With regard to Boeing’s statement after the first accident, trying to justify what they did emphasises their complete misjudgement  of risk and safety requirements and in my view could only have been due to commercial pressure. It is such a terrible shame not only for the relatives of the bereaved but for the high safety standard of world aviation.


Boeing admitted in the statement 5th May that they had intended that a AOA disagreement display warning should have been on every 737 MAX aircraft but as it was not connected to inhibit the MCAS operation the accidents would still have happened.

Perhaps I should add that Boeing's hope that pilots would recognise the MCAS fault immediatly was cleary unjustified and adding the tiny AOA display warning could hardly make any difference.

*SRB It would be interesting to know who was on the Safety Regulatioon Board and how much commercial pressure there was.


I've just sent another letter to Av Week




Looking at all the articles on 737 MAX MCAS it is hard to understand why Boeing chose to make the desired function of MCAS rely on a single Angle of Attack indicator (AoA) when Boeing could have made it rely on both AoAs and inhibited its function if there was a disagreement. Furthermore with the introduction of the Angle of Attack disagreement warning Boeing could have at the same time inhibited the function of the MCAS instead of expecting the pilot to recognise the AoA warning failure and inhibit it. The latest proposal for recertification seems to include simulator training which is strange since it is vital for MCAS to be inhibited immediately and not rely on crew action. It is interesting that at no time has Boeing tried to explain the justification for using just one AoA when two were available; instead the firm just state it was a reasonable risk. Could market pressures have been a factor?


Addition 18 June 2019

Boeing CEO apologises for Angle of Attack, AOA, display warning being wrong. Presumably to avoid admitting that the fundamental mistake was relying on one AOA.