Charter Cargo B747 Crash At Bagram

No sign of enemy action, in spite of what the Taliban may claim. Some reports of a load shift changing the center of gravity. That fits the video, but it is hardly conclusive. Other issues could include a faulty configuration for take-off or crew error.  The B747-400F normally has an operating crew of 2, but this aircraft has 7 souls on board. All were lost.

[Update: Welcome, Ace of Spades Morons- Poke around a bit.]

[Update 2- Welcome Hot Air readers]

Here’s the Aviation Safety Network post with some background on the incident aircraft, carrier, airport and the incident itself.


21 thoughts on “Charter Cargo B747 Crash At Bagram”

  1. XBrad, was working yesterday when this happened.

    I talked with the airfield manager, who saw the crash, and he said it was definitely a stall. This is the first time I’ve seen any video and that was one hell of a stall.

    Airfield ops resumed within 30 mins because the crash site was a couple of miles off the side of the runway. I only had 1 C-17 have to divert to Kandahar.

    All early signs point to loading/CG issues. The only other thing I can think of is a flight control failure (ie Pitch trim runaway), but the 747-400 has no history of that being a chronic issue.

    It was an ISAF contracted mission, so I didn’t have C2 of it. Operator was National Air Cargo. Prayers go out to the families…

    1. Phat,
      I’m a retired C-5 LM and can’t fathom how a load (vehicles, I hear) could shift (due to bad restraint) with such good ATOC crews and presumably military or civilian load-planners and loadmasters being involved somewhere in the loading process. Can you try to explain how this might have happened at such a main air-hub like Bagram?

      1. Parts fail, people get fatigued and make errors.

        I’m not rushing to judgement. And even if I were, it wouldn’t be with a sense of smug superiority. Lord knows I’ve done things wrong before.

  2. Like I said over on the Moron Blog, I would hate to be that Loadmaster if he/she was not on the bird. I spent a few years in Army Aviation (Intel Birds) and have lived through that can of Investigation.

    1. Yep. EVERYONE is gonna get interviewed.

      Speaking of intel aviation, I also owe a post on the MC-12 that went down the day before.

  3. As a pilot, I can tell you that this looks like a classic stall caused by a too-steep angle of attack. What caused that could be a load/CG issue or it could have been a flight control failure. All the new jets have computer controlled flight controls and the failure rate of those systems are almost non-existent, which suggests mechanical failure. The altitude and shifting wind direction could be contributing factors. The video was hard to watch.

  4. What is odd is that there is no reaction from the person videotaping it at all. No OMG or WOW or anything. Bizarre.

    1. The same thing occured to me Bill Mitchell, I thought it was very odd. Can someone explain it?

    2. As the turret rotates, there is a squeal that I’m pretty sure is a sob that leaked out despite his efforts to contain it.

    3. The squeals were a dog that got stepped on or kicked or something. You can hear the guy calming the dog right afterwards. My dogs did *not* like that sound.

      You can also here a couple of “oh fuck”s in there too.

    4. Think about it. A K-9 unit on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. He was most likely a Military member. He obviously handled himself very well. I would not call it bizarre. I would have to categorize that as professional.

    5. I was thinking that too, but then after thinking about the one time I saw an aircraft crash, it took a little while to even process what I had just seen because that just doesn’t happen. At first, he’s quiet. After a little while there’s a sigh, (here I suspect he’s beginning to wrap his head around what he’s just seen) and after he stops, and has the incident with the dog, and gets going again, you hear an under-the-breath ‘oh, fuck’, resignedly. He knows there’s nothing to do but watch it burn, but he then also seems to decide to move forward to check just in case. Could also be a Security K-9 perimeter patrol, and he doesn’t want the dog to get uneasy, so he restrains his emotions.

      How do we know how we’d react if we were there. I made an exclamation when I saw it, but I knew I was watching a video of the crash. He didn’t know that he was going to see that.

  5. And I apologise for not saying how sorry I am about this. Prayers to all the families and God bless all the brave men and women who fly cargo in and out of Afghanistan. Our Military is always amazing, but there are some incredibly brave and talented civilian pilots doing a dangerous job.

  6. Bill and PirateRoberta,

    If you’ve ever been deployed to A-stan you’re very used to stuff blowing up DAILY.

    2-3 mortar attacks per day at Bagram and Kandahar is not unusual and represents a bit of a lull in the routine. The base boundaries are pushed out pretty far, so it is very rare that an attack would threaten an aircraft.

    I think what you’re seeing is a person who is used to things going tits up on a regular basis.

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