The Papa Mike Air Crash Mysteryresulted from The Lanfranc Boys. In October 2011 Helene Bjørntvedt wrote to Rosalind Jones saying that she had an idea as to what might have happened to Papa Mike, but needed information used for the book. Rosalind was pleased to help. Books had been sold to specialist Aviation Bookshops and one of these book sellers sold a copy to a retired airline captain and crash investigator. He wrote to Rosalind Jones and said he wanted to solve the ‘mystery’ because in his view there was no ‘mystery’ that couldn’t be solved. Thinking it would be relatively easy to discover reasons for the crash he enlisted the help of another airline captain to help him. But - it wasn’t easy or straight forward at all! A breakthrough came when archived files of documents from the original investigation were accessed from The National Archives at Kew. Research was undertaken as a part-time project to which further aviation experts added their knowledge and expertise. Theories were propounded and evidence for them gathered. Helene Bjørntvedt joined the team, helping by discovering bits of vital evidence the others missed, whilst working to prove her own theory. Eric Tarrant provided archived material, advice, and corrections – where needed. From all the archived material, including much from Norway, Rosalind chronicled the original air crash investigation. It was an eye-opener. The two teams of original investigators had, seemingly, not solved the mystery. Would the new ‘detectives’ succeed? Throughout five years of research thousands of emails were exchanged and from this Rosalind compiled and wrote a ‘Diary of Detection’ to form the second book in a double volume which included the ‘Original Investigation’ and was to be called ‘The Papa Mike Air Crash Detectives’. Unfortunately, just before publication, the two airline captains claimed privacy. ‘The Papa Mike Air Crash Detectives’, a fascinating book which recorded the twists and turns, coincidences, and surprises encountered when unravelling the mystery, was not to be published. It could have been a shattering blow. Instead the author, determined to complete her work, changed the title and wrote a new second book – supplying all the facts they had discovered and involving the readers as ‘detectives’ themselves.
All the information is provided in the new book, including the original investigator’s reports. For more than half a century the victims of Papa Mike were thought to have been ‘wasted lives’ and that nothing was learnt from the crash. This, like so much else to do with the crash, was untrue. Improvements to air safety were implemented but never publicised. There was, however, a 40th victim. His story is told, whilst the need for understanding co-lateral victims is noted.
The Papa Mike Air Crash Mystery reveals possible last flight paths of Papa Mike, it uncovers long hidden political secrets, it offers possible hazards that may have contributed to the tragedy, almost de-mystifying what happened, - except for one element. What happened in the cockpit can never be known.