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  #1  
Old 05-09-2009, 08:04 AM
Anders
 
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Wheels-up C-17 crash caused by pilot error

I wonder how many hours the pilots had flown in the past month?

Wheels-up C-17 crash caused by pilot error

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Friday May 8, 2009 16:45:17 EDT

Pilots of a C-17 Globemaster failed to lower the transport’s landing gear, forcing them to make a crash landing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, an Air Mobility Command investigation concluded.
None of the six onboard were injured; the repair bill for the $200 million aircraft, however, totaled $19 million.
Flying the Globemaster were aircraft commander Capt. Anthony J. Mione and co-pilot 1st Lt. Chad M. Dugie. Also in the cockpit: a second co-pilot, 1st Lt. James A. Linnehan, sitting behind Mione; and an airman riding as a passenger sitting behind Dugie. Loadmasters Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Conn and Airman 1st Class Kylor R. Eutsler were below in the plane’s cargo bay.
The aircrew was assigned to the 16th Airlift Squadron and 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. The pilots have been grounded pending a command review of the accident investigation report, an AMC spokesman said.
Rumors that crew members hadn’t lowered the landing gear have circulated since the Jan. 30 crash after photographs from inside the plane’s cockpit showed the landing gear controls in the up position.
Mione and Dugie knew each other well, having flown 34 sorties together since deploying to the Persian Gulf, the report said. Minoe had logged 826 hours in C-17s and 751 hours in C-21A executive jets. Dugie had just 149 hours in C-17s, logging 96 of those hours in the previous three months. Linnehan was only slightly more experienced, with 248 C-17 hours.
While the pilots were distracted by a series of minor problems as they approached Bagram in the dark, the aircrew could have avoided the crash by following checklist procedures, a basic Air Force rule.
“Had they lowered the gear, the mishap would not have occurred,” concluded Col. Richard D. Anderson, accident investigation board president.
The automated “ground proximately warning system” that would have instructed the crew to lower the wheels was apparently accidentally turned off, said Anderson, who is qualified as a C-17 instructor pilot and serves as vice commander of the 621st Contingency Response Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
The crash marked the second time in fewer than three years that the crew of a large Air Force jet forgot to lower the landing gear before skidding down a runway.
In May 2006, a B-1B Lancer bomber touched down wheels up on a runway at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The crew had turned off a landing gear warning system before touching down.
Normal flight until landing
As the C-17 neared Bagram, the flight was uneventful, the report said. The jet left Kuwait City International Airport about 6:30 p.m. with 21,000 pounds of cargo and one passenger.
For most of the flight, co-pilot Dugie flew the plane. Mione, a new instructor pilot, assisted him.
When the pilots made radio contact with Bagram air traffic controllers, the crew learned the airfield’s approach radar was not working and they would need to land using visual flight rules. The requirement meant they needed to focus on their plane’s speed and altitude and to watch for other aircraft.
To help spot mountain ridges surrounding Bagram and other aircraft, the pilots put on night-vision goggles.
The crew also went through the descent checklist and approach checklist.
About 10 miles from Bagram and flying about 250 mph, the crew extended wing slats and lowered flaps to slow down the plane, the report said.
As the plane was about three miles out, the pilots removed their night-vision goggles and aircraft commander Mione radioed “short final” to prompt the control tower for clearance to land. There was no response from the tower.
The crew continued to gradually lower the flaps, slowing the jet.
With 28 seconds left until landing, Mione took control of the jet and radioed the tower, “short final.”
The tower controllers answered this time, clearing the C-17 to land. The controllers failed to make the required reminder call — “Check wheels down.”
As the plane passed below 300 feet, Dugie didn’t announce the required alert “300 feet.”
Now, the plane was also flying at 172 mph, 42 mph faster than approach rules called for.
If Mione had followed correct procedures, he would have aborted the landing because of the high speed and made a second approach, the report said.
Instead, Mione continued to descend. The three pilots didn’t realize they missed the “before landing checklist.”
With the landing gear still up, the plane’s ground warning system should have sounded out “too low gear.” The alarm didn’t activate because the pilots accidentally turned off the system, Anderson concluded.
Mione and Dugie claimed the ground warning system must have malfunctioned, but there was no evidence the system wasn’t working, the report said.
As the jet lined up on the runway centerline, the plane touched down at 150 mph, 21 mph too fast.
With the landing gear nestled inside the wheel wells, the jet’s aluminum alloy belly ground into the concrete runway. The plane slid in nearly a straight line for 4,528 feet before coming to a stop. A fire broke out on the plane’s rear left side but was extinguished by firefighters minutes later.
Moving the grounded jet took two days and the efforts of more than 200 people and a 120-ton crane. The team moved the jet by using the crane and airbags to lift the plane high enough to lower the landing gear.
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:09 AM
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“Had they lowered the gear, the mishap would not have occurred,” concluded Col. Richard D. Anderson, accident investigation board president.

Well, duh!
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2009, 08:45 AM
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Don't they have warning lights and buzzers for them darned things, man........guess they found a source to the white powder they grow in abundance in those parts.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:45 PM
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Four people in the cockpit plus a controller who's supposed to issue a reminder and all five of them managed to forget about putting the gear down. Wow.
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Old 05-09-2009, 01:59 PM
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The three pilots didn’t realize they missed the “before landing checklist.”

Oops.

The alarm didn’t activate because the pilots accidentally turned off the system, Anderson concluded.

Oops.
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2009, 02:07 PM
Anders
 
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CRM

So much for cockpit resource management.

Those careers are toast as well they should be. Good thing they had a long runway and were not flying wounded to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
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Old 05-09-2009, 03:09 PM
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Thats a career limiting mistake right their!
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2009, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurkha View Post
Don't they have warning lights and buzzers for them darned things, man........guess they found a source to the white powder they grow in abundance in those parts.
In the article...

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersbenz View Post
...The automated “ground proximately warning system” that would have instructed the crew to lower the wheels was apparently accidentally turned off...
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:06 PM
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Wow. I have ridden jumpseat on many a takeoff and landing, and I our guys ALWAYS have that checklist out. And "our guys" are frequently 0-4 minimum, and often full bird Colonels. EVERYTHING is by the book.
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WVOtoGO View Post
The three pilots didn’t realize they missed the “before landing checklist.”

Oops.

The alarm didn’t activate because the pilots accidentally turned off the system, Anderson concluded.

Oops.
My step father flew C140 transport during Nam and he said at one point they fell asleep and when they woke up were flying at an altitude of 2500 ft. AGL scared the living crap outta them and there wasn't a problem getting back to where they needed to be. The alarm didn't go off....pilot fatigue was a problem during the war.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:26 AM
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Not to let these guys off the hook but I am continually amazed at how capable I am of committing boneheaded errors.
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
Not to let these guys off the hook but I am continually amazed at how capable I am of committing boneheaded errors.
Agreed, but when it's millions of taxpayers dollars, and a few souls to boot, on the line, I think I'd make a habit of deferring to the checklist every time. Now, if I were scrutinized for my daily moves out in the garage, I'd be awfully red-faced!
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  #13  
Old 05-12-2009, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cscmc1 View Post
Agreed, but when it's millions of taxpayers dollars, and a few souls to boot, on the line, I think I'd make a habit of deferring to the checklist every time. Now, if I were scrutinized for my daily moves out in the garage, I'd be awfully red-faced!
No kidding. Its like putting the lights on in a car at night....you would think its just 2nd nature to do so.


(On this model is it a fairly large lever to lower the gear or a random switch somewhere?)


This story is quite the opposite of the ones where the gear doesn't lock and the crew are in the bowels of the plane with a poll trying to manually get it into place.
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2009, 12:56 PM
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It’s all about the flight crew “Bathtub Curve”.

With time comes complacency.
With complacency comes an early death.

Also related to why women make better pilots.
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:02 PM
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Sounds right to me. Over-confidence, complacency, -- nasty business. I have to keep reminding myself that the struggle will not end. I don't think there's much coasting in my future. Probably just as well cuz then I'd just get weak in a hurry.
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