USAF releases C-17 crash report, video

The cause of the only fatal crash of a Boeing C-17 is pilot error. That is according to both the accident investigation report (see story) and a newly-released, US Air Force video showing the entirety of the roughly 60-second flight on 28 July at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Read the executive summary of the report here.

I note a strong resemblance to the 1994 crash of the Boeing B-52 at Fairchild AFB, which occurred under similar circumstances. The C-17 crew was practicing for an airshow. The B-52 was performing for a small crowd witnessing the retirement ceremony of one of the officers onboard. Deja vu?


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38 Responses to USAF releases C-17 crash report, video

  1. John 11 December, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Reminds me of the B-52 crash in 1994. same basic crash for same basic reason.

    • sandy 22 August, 2013 at 2:52 am #

      I’m an USAF pilot (separated) and I’m troubled by this video seemingly showing a C-17 in a bank and then nosing downward with then no apparent movement to level wings before ground impact.

      If there’s no airspeed to level the wings then why does it appear that there should be airspeed to level the wings? -The plane appeared to be moving forward at a significant speed. So why the crash?

  2. Stephen Trimble 11 December, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    Yes, I, um, mentioned that. It’s only 2 paragraphs people! Why does everybody always skip to the video? (Sigh.)

  3. puppethead 12 December, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    Stephen, if it’s any consolation, I also immediately thought of Fairchild while watching the video (from the original article, not the blog), and was going to comment on the similarity but then noticed you’d beaten everyone to it!

    What was the strange effect near the engines right at the end (58sec mark)?

    • Patrick 9 August, 2013 at 4:00 am #

      That was when the wing tip went through the power lines near the ground. They all shorted out upon contact with the wing.

  4. aeroxavier 12 December, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    video of the crash without the crash ….

  5. Thad Beier 12 December, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Yes, it is the ’52 crash all over again. Note that the pilot is desperately trying to roll the plane — the ‘top’ spoilers deploy, but if he’s unloaded the wing (a reasonable thing to do in a spiral dive) spoilers aren’t going to make a whit of difference.

    Pilot error maybe, but I can imagine that hundreds of hours of flying a plane where the computers make you think that the spoilers act like ailerons, doesn’t prepare you for when they don’t.

  6. Ian 13 December, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    Early reports indicate the pilot had flown the Thunderbirds support aircraft the previous year. When they came to Misawa (where I’m stationed) last year, the C-17 flight demo was uncomfortable for me, a long-time mobility guy, to watch. No, I’m not a pilot, but it was pretty aggressive for a cargo aircraft. I have wondered since if it was the same pilot. It seems we have another example of “what not to do” to study in SOS and ACSC now. Will be interesting to see if the same leadership failures that accompanied the Fairchild crash occurred in this one as well.

    My heart goes out to the families and friends of those affected.

  7. Bob 13 December, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    What effect are you referring to?
    It seems that the plane turns a bit towards the camera at the end, therefore the engine inlets are visible. Is that what you mean?

  8. puppethead 13 December, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    (Embarrassed grin) on closer examination I realised it was YouTube’s ring of eight circles that comes up at the end of all their videos – just happened to be focussed right over the engines. This is what comes from surfing in the middle of the night…

  9. MZ 13 December, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Here’s a good report on the B-52 crash.

  10. Ex-Airman 14 December, 2010 at 2:16 am # says the impact was deleted from the footage out of consideration to crew’s families. Good call.

  11. rp 14 December, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    The C-17 doesn’t use spoilers instead of ailerons. They are completely different flight controls and are activated differently.

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