Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Cargo Crash at Bagram

Old 12th Mar 2015, 22:08
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Loadmasters and mechanics have no duty time limits, sometimes they are on the planes for as long as 5 days (I have worked for several cargo outfits).
I have flown the smaller MRAPS. The problem these have (and you can see it in the pictures that after they are driving onto the pallets, only a relatively small stack of wood is placed under the differentials, then the tires are deflated and they are being chained down. With the weight now centered in the middle, the chains will start to bow the pallet and they will not move unless the middle is right overtop a pdu.
The large Cougar actually has 2 stacks on top of a piece of wood that spreads the weight a bit more, and another stack under the middle. Not many chains to hold it down though. After the accident vehicles had a lot more chains tying them to the pallets.

By center loading you strap / chain / net the cargo to a pallet, after that you use straps to attach to the load and into seat tracks or other tiedown spots.
After the accident I have seen new guide lines where straps can only be used for 75% of their rated capacity, 2G up / down, 1.5 G forward / aft. Angles come into play now too. If a strap is put under a 60 degree angle, only half of the force can be used horizontally, 90 % vertically. under a 45 degree angle it is a 0.7 factor. A 5000 lb strap X.75=3750 lbs x.5 (a 60 degree angle)=1875 lbs / 852 kg horizontally, and 1534 kg vertically. Most straps are angled, since it provides both vertical and horizontal restraint (stright up does not provide for horizontal). You can use a strap from the floor up, through a ring and back down into the floor. Now supposedly this one strap counts as 2, something I don't agree on. If this one strap breaks, you lose 2.

The flight crew on this flight most likely checked the load in Bastion. Eventhough it was not written in the manual, it was a common procedure. All these guys had a cargo background. The assurance from the loadmaster that he replaced a strap and re-tightened everything should have been enough for most flight crews.

When this plane rotated something broke, most likely the floor or a seat track, a piece of cargo slid back ripping the wires from the data recorders and knocking out the 3 hydraulic lines that come together at the same point. On the video there is a stream of fluid coming from the tail, clearly visible.
I would really like to see some info on how much force the seat tracks are able to withstand, and the how much force the attachment of the seat tracks to the floor beams can withstand. It is not just the weight of the cargo, also how much tension there is on the straps. Unless you run into serious turbulence, the cargo causes little stress on the straps, even at rotation. However all the tightened straps pulling up on a seat track mounted to a few floor beams might be something no-one has ever thought about.
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Old 13th Mar 2015, 15:57
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The assurance from the loadmaster that he replaced a strap and re-tightened everything should have been enough for most flight crews.
This is where I totally disagree. in 16 years of flying cargo, I have dealt with a wide range of loadmasters - from the very good ones to whom I went for advice, to the bad ones whom I could not trust to tighten a strap without checking afterward.

The fact that the crew had little or no experience with such loads should have raised their alert level, and they should have been asking a LOT of questions. A broken strap is NOT a common occurrence. A broken strap on an unusually large & heavy load is a red flag.

To merely replace a broken strap and re-tighten others would have NOT been a sufficient remedy on my airplane. I would have asked to see the load guidelines in the W&B Manual AND asked for additional straps rigged in the direction(s) along which the broken strap was rigged.
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Old 14th Mar 2015, 02:16
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INTRUDER

I think that most of us would agree wholeheartedly with that strategy..
Which is where the question of fatigue becomes important.. there are very good reasons for why we have flight duty limitations and the relevant agencies don't give nearly as much attention to them as they deserve. The idea that this crew could be legally flying simply because they have 'rest' facilities on board is an absurdity. Quality of the rest period is hardly ever given any consideration. The company I fly for here in Afghanistan will quite happily quote the regulations covering rest days if we fly with no days off by stating that we remain legal by taking the 90 day rules and stating that we comply by having our rest days while off rotation.. so we can work 7 days a week for the duration of our time here. Legal ? Yes.. is it in the spirit of what the FAA were trying to achieve by ensuring rested crews ? The H*ll it is.
What frame of mind were the crew of the crashed 747 in during the stop-over ? It sounds as though the arrival was not exactly text-book which might give us a clue.
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Old 16th Mar 2015, 17:48
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However all the tightened straps pulling up on a seat track mounted to a few floor beams might be something no-one has ever thought about.
Each seat track notch is rated for 5000lbs of tension. It does not matter how many straps are attached to the seat tracks, so long as no single strap generates more than 5000lbs of tension. Exceeding 5000lb may cause the individal seat track notch to fail. Each notch has a 25% margin designed in when new. But the seat tracks take a beating, so there is no guarantee the 25% margin is still there after several flights.

And BTW, preloading a strap places a preload on the individual notch of the seat track, but does NOT preload the seat track to floor beam interface. The floor beams only see the maneuver/gust loads. Think of sitting in a chair and grabbing the seat bottom and pulling up. That places no additional load on the chair legs. The chair legs see only the load of the occupant's weight.
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Old 30th Jun 2015, 13:17
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FAA Fine Proposal

https://www.faa.gov/news/press_relea...m?newsId=19116

Saw this today and may be of interest to some of you.

......
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 09:15
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It seems to be the case of another "Mickey Mouse" operator getting away with a poor operation until a disaster strikes.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 18:33
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"getting away with a poor operation until a disaster strikes"??

Seems doubtful. This was the first time these vehicles has ever been airlifted using a commercial air freighter. No one "got away" with a "poor operation" because disaster struck during the FIRST operation. Or at least the second take off of the first operation.
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 20:11
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@KenV...

"The FAA alleges that during March and April 2013, National failed to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations while loading heavy military vehicles onto two Boeing 747 jetliners that the company operated. The jets were flown on seven flights while loaded with one or more Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), each weighing between 23,001 pounds and 37,884 pounds."

My point is that perhaps up to two months prior to the crash the FAA all already warned them so yes IMO they kept playing "Russian Roulette".
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Old 1st Jul 2015, 20:21
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Does the FAA advise DoD of these violations?

I wonder if DoD was advised of or had independent knowledge of the carrier's loading practices. If so, what did DoD or the US Army do about it?

I say this because back in my MAC C-141 days, our flight crew had to watch our straight-leg customers like a hawk when loading the airplane, even to the point or re-weighing pallets and such. Thank goodness we did, too.

In the haste that such loading and departures might be subject to (I don't know, wasn't there) its not hard to imagine some corners being cut or details overlooked.
No excuse, just saying.
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Old 2nd Jul 2015, 04:02
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This was the first time these vehicles has ever been airlifted using a commercial air freighter.

I was the first time the Captain and F/O carried MRAPs and the first time National had carried the 18 ton version but not the first time they were carried by a civilian cargo company.
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Old 2nd Jul 2015, 05:43
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The FAA condone the suspect practice of extended flight duty periods to keep their 'customers' happy. If this crew had arrived at the a/c well rested after a decent break would they have shown more concern regarding the cargo shift ? The landing prior to the accident was an indication that the crew may have been performing below par. We can only speculate but the FAA's hands are not spotless here.
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Old 17th Jul 2015, 23:17
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Bagram Update

Update on the Bagram Accident:

"
Today, we now know the probable causes that led to the accident. In an investigative report by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), we learn that on 29 April 2013, the five armoured military vehicles inside the Boeing’s cargo hold, weighing a total of 78 tons, were not properly restrained.
The NTSB’s investigation states: ‘‘These vehicles were considered a special cargo load because they could not be placed in unit load devices (ULDs) and restrained in the airplane using the locking capabilities of the airplane’s main deck cargo handling system. Instead, the vehicles were secured to centreline-loaded floating pallets and restrained to the airplane’s main deck using tie-down straps.’’ And found: ‘‘Strong evidence that at least one of the MRAP vehicles (the rear M-ATV) moved aft into the tail section of the airplane, damaging hydraulic systems and horizontal stabilizer components such that it was impossible for the flight crew to regain pitch control of the airplane.’’
In their report the NTSB points to several fatal errors on the part of National Airlines, amongst which: ‘‘National Airlines’ procedures in its cargo operations manual not only omitted required, safety-critical restraint information from the airplane manufacturer Boeing and the manufacturer of the main deck cargo handling system Telair, (…) but also contained incorrect and unsafe methods for restraining cargo that cannot be contained in ULD’s.’’ Also, that current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance for operators (and overseeing inspectors) for restraining special cargo loads is inadequate.
And finally, we learn that the person responsible for loading was trained by National Airlines and had just completed a straight 21-hour work period at the time of the crash. Following this investigation report, the NTSB has just issued six recommendations to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which includes the creation of an instruction manual for special cargo operators, together with training and certification for those responsible for loading, and a limitation of their working time."


Video - Inadequately secured cargo caused B747 Crash in Afghanistan - Aeronewstv


Note that the official NTSB Probable Cause has yet to be published.
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Old 14th Jan 2016, 14:48
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Final report link

Note that the official NTSB Probable Cause has yet to be published.
"3.2 Probable Cause
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was National Airlines’ inadequate procedures for restraining special cargo loads, which resulted in the loadmaster’s improper restraint of the cargo, which moved aft and damaged hydraulic systems Nos. 1 and 2 and horizontal stabilizer drive mechanism components, rendering the airplane uncontrollable.

Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration’s inadequate oversight of National Airlines’ handling of special cargo loads."


Final report link is here if not already in this thread.

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/A...ts/AAR1501.pdf
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