Recently-posted images which show salvage activities performed after a landing mishap involving a US Air Force C-130J tactical transport in Afghanistan sent me searching YouTube for footage of a slightly different approach once taken by the UK military with one of its combat-damaged examples.
In the case of the USAF aircraft, a recovery team was able to remove 250 components with a combined value of more than $20 million, the service says. The aircraft had been extensively modified during a mishap at forward operating base Shank, in Logar province, in early June.
Clearly, conditions on the ground were more favourable than when Royal Air Force C-130J ZH876 suffered major damage when an improvised explosive device exploded as it landed at a rough strip in Iraq’s Maysan province in February 2007. Worth around £45 million ($72 million), it was put out of its misery after the location was deemed too dangerous for a salvage activity to be performed. If you haven’t seen this clip before, Flight International‘s classic terminology for a mention in the magazine’s Straight & Level section might well have been: “A bit heavy on the explosives, Hoskins”.
Incidentally, the recent USAF excursion wasn’t the first time that such an incident had happened at FOB Shank. In January 2012, a C-17 crew ran up a roughly $70 million repair bill, after they “failed to identify that the landing distance required to stop the aircraft exceeded the runway length.”