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.

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