15 November 2011

Video of July 2010 C-17 Crash in Alaska

The Air Force released a video that showed the flight, prior to the time of impact, of 28 July 2010 crash of a US Air Force C-17A Globemaster III at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, AK.

According to a summary of the Air Force accident investigation, the aircraft was practicing maneuvers for an upcoming air show at the base. After the initial climb out and left turn, the pilot executed an aggressive right turn. As the aircraft banked, the stall warning system activated to alert the crew of an impending stall.

Instead of implementing stall recovery procedures, the pilot continued the turn as planned, and the aircraft entered a stall from which recovery was not possible. Although the pilot eventually attempted to recover the aircraft, he employed incorrect procedures, and there was not sufficient altitude to regain controlled flight. The four crew members; two pilots, a loadmaster, and a safety observer, were all killed, and the $185 million aircraft was destroyed.

The video below starts just before the takeoff of the accident aircraft and ends shortly before impact.

The head of the military accident board found clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the mishap was pilot error. The pilot violated regulatory provisions and multiple flight manual procedures, placing the aircraft outside established flight parameters at an attitude and altitude where recovery was not possible. Furthermore, the copilot and safety observer did not realize the developing dangerous situation and failed to make appropriate inputs. In addition to multiple procedural errors, the head of the board found sufficient evidence that the crew on the flight deck ignored cautions and warnings and failed to respond to various challenge and reply items. The board also found additional crew behavior and organizational factors contributed to the crash.

This was the first fatal crash involving the C-17. In two previous incidents, a C-17 sustained engine damage after being struck by a surface to air missile in Iraq in 2003, and a 2009 gear up landing in Afghanistan.

04 November 2011

Two gear up landings in October and November 2011

Gear up landings involving large jet airliners tend to be spectacular affairs that result in no injuries. Typically, crews are aware af the problem well in advance of the landing, giving ample time for both the airport authorities and anyone with a camera to get into position. Two recent gear up landing events in October 2011 in Tehran, Iran, and November 2011 in Warsaw, Poland certainly fit this pattern.

In the first event, the crew of an IranAir 727 on a flight from Moscow to Tehran had to land with its landing gear, in this case the nose landing gear, still retracted. As was the case with the LOT 767 landing, because of the skill of the crew, this event was spectacular, but not tragic. There were no injuries among the 94 passengers and 19 crew members.

The second event involved a LOT 767-300 on a scheduled international flight from Newark, NJ to Warsaw. The flight was uneventful until shortly before landing when the crew was unable to lower the landing gear. The crew continued to fly and burn off fuel for about 90 minutes, giving emergency crews time to foam the runway, and allowing the authorities to dispatch a pair of F-16s to inspect the LOT aircraft. The crew executed a successful gear up landing that resulted in no injuries among the 220 passengers and 11 crew members.

The first video is a summary of both events from the Conversation at AirSafe.com podcast, and the others are individual videos from both events.

Gear up landings in Warsaw and Tehran

Audio: MP3 | Video: YouTube | Download M4V

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