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 1st May 2013, 08:20
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I wanted to remind that human factors is the most common cause of accidents. I do not blame anyone. For us here, things seem to be much more clearer and obvious than for the actual pilots in the cockpit. Thus we tend to think mostly about pure technical causes of the accident. Of course, this is the place for rumors and speculations, but I see a trend here with underestimating human factor. We are mere humans. Mere humans.
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Old 1st May 2013, 08:36
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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He did. Just took a moment for the shock to clear and what he saw to sink in.

It's highly likely the driver is either ex or current military and has seen death first hand before.

Last edited by LiveryMan; 1st May 2013 at 08:36.
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Old 1st May 2013, 08:50
  #103 (permalink)  
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It's interesting how the mike in the humvee failed to pick up the sound of the impact/explosion.. it was loud, very VERY loud.. even from our vantage point approx mid-point on the 12000ft runway.
For the sound....here:


Last edited by Farrell; 1st May 2013 at 08:56.
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Old 1st May 2013, 08:55
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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It is as clear as day. Extreme angle of climb causes cargo to shift that can clearly be seen as the a/c passes the antenna, watch the tail, change of attitude, then stall, game over.

Now the focus will be on the radical departure. Pilot or Company? Dead men cant tell tales.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:00
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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It's interesting how the mike in the humvee failed to pick up the sound of the impact/explosion.. it was loud, very VERY loud.. even from our vantage point approx. mid-point on the 12000ft runway.
Mungo P, from your knowledge of the perimeter road, how far do you think the camera was from the crash?

It looks like there was a small hill or it crashed in a ditch, so this would have also reduced the sound wave, also you were downwind?
The camera was upwind and (probably) in a sealed car (sound of the horn is faint as is truck passing by..)

Also Mics on cheap cameras are notoriously crap and in this case the auto level control pulled down the "noise" level so as it rose it was pulled down (too far) and muffled.

Unlike similar views from Humvees in Afghanistan this explosion (a deflagration rather than a detonation) did not have a shockwave travelling faster than the speed of sound.

I agree that it was bazaar that the person filming did not even gasp???
Sounded like a Brit(?) on an airport perimeter road in Afghanistan, it may be that he was dog handler in a security role, trained and "switched-on" to keep his utterances under control, good control of voice commands is a pre requisite for dog handlers.

Interesting that his dog apparently needed calming down yet he was pretty cool, perhaps the kind of reaction a parent would have if a child was the car?

He stopped and had the car in reverse before it had hit.

Last edited by mickjoebill; 1st May 2013 at 09:09.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:10
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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He stopped and had the car in reverse before it had hit.
Yes, definitely a lot more clued in than the two monkeys driving the vehicles closer to the crash. They continue pressing on until a huge fireball is in their face.

This guy's SA is definitely in war mode, good for him based on where he is located. You can definitely hear mobile interference right after the crash, probably the guy trying to get a hold of somebody.

Quite a disturbing video. I wonder if the cargo shift was bad enough to make it irrecoverable. Will be interesting to see what the investigation turns up.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:12
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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I agree. just because we would say "holy crap!" does not mean everyone would. Good point also about the dog. I know a few canine handlers and they are the same- very careful about being controlled and not shouting when working with the dog.

It's also quite possible he was not even looking in that direction- how many of us drive a familiar route while looking out of the side window? I imagine this would be more important in a hostile area as well, rather than driving happily along only looking out of the front window. The camera was facing forward- driver may not have been.

Also sounds as though a text was being sent or received- I know that sound can just result from the phone picking up a signal, but drive rcould also have been distracted by the phone which could explain why it took him some time to react.

You just don't know how you will react. I was once in a situation where you would expect anyone to shout/scream/make a noise... apparently all I said was quietly "oh sh!t" and stood there for a second or two before moving. So no, an immediate reaction is not always there. Especially, as someone mentioned, for someone experienced to operate in a war zone where exclaiming loudly could get you killed.

ETA: posted same time re: phone. Pretty safe bet he was trying to get ahold of someone. You can also hear the hazard lights clicking on and off...

Last edited by givemewings; 1st May 2013 at 09:14.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:14
  #108 (permalink)  

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It's interesting how the mike in the humvee failed to pick up the sound of the impact/explosion.. it was loud, very VERY loud.. even from our vantage point approx mid-point on the 12000ft runway
Dash Cam mike is probably inside the vehicle and aimed back towards the driver. I know mine does not pick up much from outside the vehicle at all - even loud noise are muted.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:26
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It's pretty sad , supposedly the first officer had got married 2 weeks ago.
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:34
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It's pretty sad , supposedly the first officer had got married 2 weeks ago.
He did - Pilot who married in Detroit two weeks ago among dead in Afghanistan crash | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
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Old 1st May 2013, 09:36
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Audio levels

I do know about cameras and audio equipment. Critically, the camera here is mounted INSIDE an armoured vehicle. You can see the armoured glass of the windscreen. 7mm armoured glass cuts out pretty much all sound.

Then there's the matter of the recording equipment. The mic on a GoPro or similar dashboard cam will be set to automatically adjust sound to the same level all the time. So the driver's breathing and dog whimpering are recorded at the same level as the detonation. And as mickjoebill remarked there is no supersonic shock wave from a fireball. So no sharp "crack". You can hear the engines surging on the aircraft as it falls, then the automatic level control "clips" the audio level, and by the time of the impact the levels are reduced almost to zero.

I would expect that the decibel level of the surging engines at this distance would be about the same as the decibel level of the explosion - 130dB? Something like that? (that's a guesstimate, by the way). So the audio rec circuit would have already compensated for the increasing audio level as the aircraft fell.

In addition, as noted, the audio record quality is notoriously poor on a cheap camera. You can try it yourself on your camera phone - alternately whisper and shout and see what you hear.

The audio you hear when you watch a movie is totally unlike what is recorded by the microphones in real life. It's all overlaid, edited, with multiple layers of sound added to make the explosion sound more "real'.

I've filmed incoming artillery rounds, and a B-52 dumping a full load on Serbian positions in Kosovo, and land mines detonating, and IEDs; and even with full professional kit, when you play back the recording they sound fake and tinny.

Another point - No one gets into Bagram without being in some way connected to the military. From the little evidence we have, this guy is almost certainly a Brit with the K9 patrol unit. He will probably be an ex Royal Military Police dog handler, and he will know how to react to critical situations, having almost certainly served with the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's almost certainly seen plenty of stuff go bang, and seen much more graphic and disturbing sights.

He kept his cool. That's all. Good man.
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:43
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NADPS?

Can't help wondering which rulemaker/desk pilot insists on ANY NADP in what is still an active theatre of war?

Surely the crews operating to such locations have more pressing and vital methods of operating to try to ensure their a**e isn't shot off by the locals?

Alas it may have been the touted load shift as a cause of this ghastly accident, but I fear for the cargo moving community as the comparative lack of negative publicity and lack of pressure on the operators will change little, as it was "only crew casualties" and not 300+ SLF.

So carry on operating large aircraft, without separate firewatch crewmembers, ferrying large quantities of Li-Ion batteries and whatever else lethal cargoes are out there making money for the operators.

If special restraints are necessary for these vehicles in a C17 and other mil aircraft, who decided that it was acceptable to strap them into a civilian cargo aircraft, and 6 instead of 5 as may be the case?

The inmates are running the asylum............................
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:44
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Gob, the fact that it's a civilian aircraft possibly? Or that it's not every day you see something that size appear to 'fall' out of the sky? Military or not, it would be shocking. Just because the reaction (to us) may seem understated doesn't mean it wasn't shocking to (military) witnesses... ?
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Old 1st May 2013, 10:49
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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@Farrell - harsh. I seriously reject your automatically labeling me as nut job and conspiracy theorist. I was simply asking a few questions regarding the authenticity of the video, is that so wrong? If you got the video from a buddy, reliable source, fine. If just found it on youtube well... (Flying like a bird | part 14/14 - YouTube). Do you believe everything you see on YouTube immediately? I am scientist and as that used to question things. That doesn't mean I don't accept it as correct with the right answers. And I don't label other people who ask critical questions. BTW - what conspiracy would that be!

Last edited by grimmrad; 1st May 2013 at 11:22.
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:12
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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Mungo P, from your knowledge of the perimeter road, how far do you think the camera was from the crash?

I don't drive the perimeter road that often, usually only when practicing on the range but I'd guess only maybe 300+ mtrs..
I was hoping for an educated response from someone familiar with audio equipment and RCSA supplied that.. thank you.

As for people witnessing some horror or other out here, keep in mind that there are maybe 30,000 personnel on the base.. a small town.. and that less than 10% of any military contingent ever see any form of active service, they may wander around the base varying M4s and side arms but that's more part of the uniform. 90+% are support staff working at various tasks, never leave the base and have no idea of conditions beyond the walls. As pilots we're more fortunate.

I've been back to the sight since to try to clarify whether we saw 5 or 6 MRAPS but the security people are preventing anyone from loitering.. we only had a brief opportunity to assess things on our first look so I can't be adamant about whether we saw 5 or 6.. don't wish to mislead anyone.

The video checks out in every way what we witnessed. No conspiracy theories please. Extremely lucky that as far as we can tell nobody on the ground was injured.. the a/c banking right saved a number of lives.. there are many people working to the left of the runway overrun at that location.
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:34
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You can hear the explosion in the video, just need to apply a bit of a high cut filter. The sound of the gearbox and (what I would guess to be) wheel slippage on the shoulder of the road while reversing the vehicle masks it.

The offset between visual/audio of the event is about 750 ms, assuming a speed of sound of 344 m/s that would put the camera around 250 meters from point of impact.

Looking at loudness, not knowing many of the specific parameters, assuming 170 dB at 1 meter distance (now this is a bit of a thumb suck), that would decrease to around 110 dB at a distance of 250 meters, 8 mm of bullet proof glass would probably give an additional 30 dB or so of attenuation.

All under correction of course
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:35
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What happens with regard to accident investigation in this context? Is it more important that it was civil, or that it was in a military context presumably doing military transport work?

In other words, can we ever expect to see a public report?
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:42
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..... as nut job and conspiracy theorist. I was simply asking a few questions regarding the authenticity of the video, is that so wrong?
Not picking on you here at all but just using that text to make a point - I have had a video camera in my cars for the last couple of years. I can set the time & date but give the sodding things a couple of weeks and they reset themselves so the date is quite incorrect. I've given up trying to fix it and I'm very comfortable in saying that is exactly what's happened with the date/time stamp in the crash video. Nothing sinister at all, just someone getting fed up with modern technology making life harder instead of easier.
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Old 1st May 2013, 11:49
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NTSB are on their way..
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Old 1st May 2013, 12:04
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Barking:
It is as clear as day.
Extreme angle of climb causes cargo to shift that can clearly be seen as the
a/c passes the antenna, watch the tail, change of attitude, then stall, game
over.
Now the focus will be on the radical departure. Pilot or Company? Dead men cant tell tales.
???
Barking, what if a load shift (or something else in flight control system) led to nose higher than usual? I am not sure how you come to that conclusion about what caused what.

Some of the other pilots, who have posted here, and who fly that freight aircraft, do not agree that a "radical departure" is a common method.
Do you have inside information?
If so, the NTSB may wish to hear what you have to say.

agua:
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.
At 1:`14, he says, with some feeling, "Ah, fcuk!"
FWIW, the accent doesn't sound British to me, sounds more American, but it's very brief and the above noted "lousy mics" on cameras may have influenced that. Agreed with the folks above that this gent seems to have kept his cool very well.

Thanks to those who explain how the load system works.
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