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Cargo Crash at Bagram

Old 30th Apr 2013, 19:53
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On some types, lowering the gear has an effect on your pitch. Is this the case on B744? Could the crew have lowered the gear again in an attempt to lower the nose and aoa?
No and no.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 19:56
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4 NTSB on the way

Originally Posted by Flightmech
Would it still be the NTSB?
A post under John Croft's name on the Aviation Week blog states that
The U.S. NTSB has sent a team of four investigators to help the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation investigate the accident.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 20:03
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for those who missed it. previous link wasnt working for me, found a different link
RAW FOOTAGE National Airlines 747-400 Plane Crash - Apr 29, 2013 - YouTube
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 20:26
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I see the gear was still down at impact. That could mean that they experienced the problem early, (shortly after rotation) and were concentrating on control
From my view it looks like they are re-extending the gear. It is hard to tell around the 21-22 second mark whether the camera frame speed is making the gear look half extended or if the gear is actually extended.

Short of a load shift/CG problem the only other possibility would be runaway trim/incorrect trim.

I have watched the video several times and still sit here trying to mentally hold the damn plane up in the air until they get control.
Tough to watch.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 20:26
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The internet is full of plane, car, bus crashes for children to look at.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 20:49
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VFD, extending the gear after it had been selected UP would be the last thing on any pilot's mind at that point nor is it a procedure to ever do anything on takeoff with the gear except to retract it.

If a load shift caused this crash it probably happened as the aircraft rotated and left the ground. At that point the nose would have continued to rise beyond the 11-1/2 to 12 degrees of normal pitch and at a much more rapid rate of pitch increase than is normal.

The PF would have attempted to arrest the increasing pitch rate and increasing pitch attitude with as much forward pressure on the yoke as he could muster as well as applying nose-down trim.

Most likely, the PNF would immediately also help by trying to push the nose down and possibly applying nose-down trim as well.

There would have been no time, no free hand and no thought of extending the gear in this tragic and preventable situation.

These guys were fighting to get the nose down and avoid stalling the aircraft. It looks like they tried valiantly.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 20:53
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I pity the investigator who has to listen to the CVR once it's located and subject to it being usable. Very harrowing video.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 21:07
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The pitch angle of the a/c was seen to increase beyond even what we normally witness until it could only be described as extreme.. the left wing was then seen to dip slightly before the role was countered followed by a role to the right causing the right wing to drop.
Looking at the youtube clip (that does not have the graphics on screen which obscure the first 5 seconds) it appears to me that the right wing dropped ahead of the above description. Note that windscreens can distort the image and create subtle anomalies.

RAW FOOTAGE National Airlines 747-400 Plane Crash - Apr 29, 2013 - YouTube

What was the rate of descent on impact?

Last edited by mickjoebill; 30th Apr 2013 at 21:23.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 21:28
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High AOA, one wing starts to stall 2nd stalls hard. Loadshift makes sense. Only the DFDR will tell if there was a pitch over command to fight an un controllable stall due to load given the high aoa.

I remember FineAir Miami, drug the tail prior to rotation due to load shift and went in tail first. on a DC8 you can not walk the deck to do a lock inspection, the 744 is quite different
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 21:41
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Small picture, but its the only one I could find showing the MRAP locked and strapped into position.

As previously mentioned, they use upwards of 70 straps for each MRAP.

To my knowledge World was the only operator that after some clever thinking managed 6 MRAPs per -400BDSF.

And as confirmed previously, the aircraft involved in the accident was carrying 5.

Picture below is of a atlas -200F

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Old 30th Apr 2013, 22:15
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Re, "I was wondering if a video like that is of actual use in the investigation, or would it just roughly corroborate"

Video is always helpful in an investigation. But how helpful in this accident depends upon the condition of the flight recorders, (DFDR & CVR) and also if all the required parameters were functioning correctly.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 22:19
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Re, "on a DC8 you can not walk the deck to do a lock inspection, the 744 is quite different "

Yes, I used to fly freight on the DC8 and was always wary of the locks. Even on passenger a/c, the load sheet would verify that 'all locks were up', meaning boarded pallets couldnt' slide fore or aft in the non-occupied positions.

I wasn't aware though that one could inspect the locks on a that the case?
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 22:51
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yes it's true, even more so on the military config, there is about a two space laterally down the center. a person can walk the entire length of the ship and see all the locks.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 22:55
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On the B744 freighters I flew, (pure freighter, not BCF), it was possible, in most cases, to walk down the port side of the a/c and look at the cargo carried.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 22:56
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checking the main deck before departure

You can walk around the freight on the main deck of a 744F/BCF, depending a bit on the size of the pallets. I'm pretty skinny and can almost always do a complete round. Heavy size guys have trouble in the front and rear.
We check the main deck before departure; it is especially important with a partial load to check if the freight is in the proper position, and securely locked or strapped.
You can see the locks between the pallets from the side.

But in this case, with large vehicles, the strapping and locks would have been easily visible.

I understand a (the?) loadmaster was among the crew. It would be surprising if he didn't check the load, that he probably loaded himself. Perhaps one vehicle got loose somehow and took the others.

Sad day for the freight community.

Last edited by Mariner; 30th Apr 2013 at 22:57.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 23:01
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It is always hard to see fellow pilots die in the line of duty.
I sure hope that this video may help NTSB finding the causes for this accident. Until the last second I can only imagine them fighting against the odds...
But another thing calls my attention: have you noticed that the guy inside the car filming these dramatic events, never made a sound or even an exclamation during the whole process, except for quietening his dog? Odd, very odd.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 23:17
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I pity the investigator who has to listen to the CVR once it's located and subject to it being usable. Very harrowing video.
I cannot tell you just how mind boggling horrific it is listening to some of those tapes can be. Very, very sobering and makes one want to go the bar at the first chance.

We were required to listen to some CVR tapes while I was in accident investigator's school. I'll not list the the accidents we listened to out of respect for the families and friends of those lost in these tragic accidents.

But every time I listened to those tapes, I thought, "But for the grace of God..."

Makes one very humble and thankful to have completed a 42 year career without having others listen to a tape of me in such a situation.

And don't think that I have not thanked God for allowing me to screw up on occasion and never put a scratch on any aircraft I ever flew.

The video will provide some valuable information to the NTSB investigators I'm sure, but I suspect that the CVR will provide the best clues.

Last edited by con-pilot; 30th Apr 2013 at 23:19.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 23:36
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This is what I know, after all I had a hand in the transportation of almost 200 of those MRAP's to Afghanistan some years ago.

It is highly unlikely that they were carrying any thing more than 5 MRAP's as the addition of the 6th would have required substantial ballast in the forward of zone F (the upper deck barrier) or a significant amount of ballast fuel in the center tank.

That was the primary reasoning behind the military scrubbing any further trips with 6 as they did not have sufficient cargo to transport at the time and carrying 25000kgs of ballast fuel plus was not considered feasible at the time.

The key question here is what else was being carried as with with only 5 MRAP's the aircraft would have been outside of the aft center of gravity envelope so generally the support equipment was used to balance the aircraft to within trim, occasionally additional ballast was required.

IF the MRAP's were secured in the best possible manner the were loaded on top 22 military pallets joined with a T2 coupler and shored on 4 specific build shoring blocks that distributed the weight evenly and then secured with chains to the pallet. Locks were then relocated within the Cargo Loading System for the best possible alignment in the center of the aircraft both forward and aft of the pallet. They were then treated as floating pallets and secured to the aircraft structure using straps. The number of straps I don't recall offhand but it was close to 50 per vehicle.

Using this method of securing them would render the probability of any load shift remote at best.

However I am not sure if this was the method used to transport the vehicles as some carriers opted to utilize the industry standard 16 or 20 foot pallets and shifting the MRAP's towards the aircraft center line to allow space for other cargo.

There is also one factor that no one that I have seen mentioned yet, on the newer type of converted freighters they have done away with the "Big Wheel" type of Power Drive Unit that were used in the past and moved to the smaller tray mounted retractable units. The only problem with those is that IF you have a shift in load those units do not offer any friction and the cargo is free to roll in either direction.

my 2 cent's worth.
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Old 30th Apr 2013, 23:41
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mariner...after I saw the video, the first thing I thought of was load shift, stall/spin. thank you for your first hand insight.

but who really knows...and , I guess I will be a tiny bit sceptical about the video.

it did look like the nose came down...too close to the ground though.
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Old 1st May 2013, 00:03
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If a part of the load broke loose, what are the chances of the next item behind it holding it, at least for some time? I know polyester straps are rated to a certain load, but having run a test rig in the past certifying polyester webbing slings (testing to destruction), they are easily capable of some incredible overloads before total failure. I used to test webbing safety harnesses with both the harness and webbing rated for 1000kg, to well over 2000kg before total failure.
Also, if the rearmost cargo shifted, is there a rear bulkhead that would stop it's movement and if so, how close to that rear bulkhead would the load carried by this aircraft have been placed to that bulkhead?
I understand that load shift seems most likely, and there was probably a cascading effect if one of the forward vehicles broke loose and broke the strapping of vehicles behind, but I wonder if initially trim was incorrectly set and the subsequent pitch up started the cascading failures? I would guess it's unlikely and would assume this aircraft and crew have carried this load many times before.
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