18 October 2009

Crash of "Czar 52" B-52 at Fairchild AFB on 24 June 1994

Every accident is an opportunity to learn about what caused the accident and what can be done to prevent them in the future. Often the cause is partly due to technology, and sometimes the causes are due entirely to human nature. In the case of the crash of a B-52 (call sign Czar 52) at Fairchild Air Force Base in 1994, which occurred during a practice run for an upcoming air show and killed all four crewmen on board, the human failings were in the cockpit, in the organization, and in the larger community around this military unit.

The videos and photo in this posting are dramatic, but the case studies and other material associated with this crash are even more fascinating.

Video From a TLC Show About the Crash

Longer Version of the Accident Flight

Czar 52 Just Prior to Impact

The object near the tail is the hatch cover that was blown out during the copilot's unsuccessful ejection attempt.

Aerial View of Flight Path and Crash Site

Darker Shades of Blue
An excellent overview of the social dynamics and failures of military leadership that led to the accident is Dr. Anthony Kern's Darker Shades of Blue: A Case Study of Failed Leadership. This was an extensively researched case study based on publicly available information from 49 individual testimonies from the USAF aircraft accident investigation board transcripts, or through 11 personal interviews conducted by Dr Kern.

Other Resources
Wikipedia Entry on the Crash
Accident Overview from Check-Six.com
Accident Overview from Wapedia.mobi


Anonymous said...

thats not the flight path douche

Anonymous said...

Actually that is the flight path, just the last seconds of it. It's called an approach [generally]. And what the hell do you know? Besides douches?

Rupert Butler said...

The first Anonymous is right.

Both the reports and the YouTube video show the aircraft in a continuous turn at various steep angles of bank from leaving the line of the runway until impact.

If the aircraft had straightened out on the runway reciprocal, it would still not have been so close to the runway as the diagram shows. The diagram is more misleading than helpful.

Anonymous said...

1st Anon is right. That flight path pictured when too far down the runway before the turn. In this crash, the plane began its left hand turn right about where the word "of" appears in this picture

Anonymous said...

First Anon was right. This pictured flight path goes way too far down the runway before the turn. The turn was approx centered around the control tower. In the diagram used in this picture, the turn began about where the word "of" appears

Anonymous said...

I was there on the flight line watching. I was a KC-135 Boom operator at the time. Geoff Potter, Chris Sellars, both boom operators, also from the 98th ARS were both standing next to me when the 52 crashed. The location of the "yellow" highlights are WRONG. The plane did not crash and come to rest anywhere near that location depicted in the map above.