The captain was blamed -
The Aviation Ministry having delayed and prevaricated for two years were suddenly very swift to improve the regulations and enforcement once the dust settled. It was an incredibly convenient verdict and perhaps some breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Nothing was illegal. Nothing was reckless. Luck should not play a part in aviation, but occasionally it does. In hindsight, actions may have been highly inadvisable, based on today's procedures, but our current attitude only came about from experience, and that was formed in part by accidents like this. Perhaps the best guess is that a combination of the forecast, the local deterioration in weather, a conscientious crew trying to get their passengers home, lack of working ground navigation aids and pressure from management to operate the service on the limit of prudence came together in one fateful moment to put a loaded passenger aircraft headlong into a hillside.
The modern attitude is to say it was an accident waiting to happen -
However this leaves a question we are unable to answer -
Why were loaded passenger planes even attempting to use Portsmouth or any other airfield in the conditions known to exist, when fundamental issues regarding safety and navigation facilities had not been resolved and had been sidelined by the Ministry of Aviation while they dealt with bureaucratic matters , despite acknowledgement and full awareness of the potential for a major disaster.
That was never satisfactorily answered -
While the Ministry were too busy with operator licensing to follow up a known and urgent safety issue, a small independent airline , no doubt trying to juggle costs, revenue and passenger convenience were trying to land a plane full of delayed holiday makers at a fogbound airport owned by a local authority where the operator had paid for a new passenger terminal yet the Council couldn't find the funds for a basic two way radio set, let alone ground approach radar. Perhaps that is the essence of the tragedy.
Maybe other information that might point the finger towards a different conclusion was never made public by those who feared jeopardising their career. Perhaps the crew were overwhelmed by some massive problem, or they may just have made a mistake.You will have to make up your mind, because the physical evidence died with the crew on that foggy hillside. You may wonder if some public employees were secretly relieved that it had.
It is perhaps fitting to quote the RAF Manual of Flight Safety AP3207 Chapter 8.
"Only in cases in which there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever should deceased aircrew be found negligent".
|Radio Hams Raise the Alarm|
|An Alternative Theory|
|Pressure On Crews|