C-17 gear up landing in Bagram: images

Feb 09 2009 - 42 Comments

On Jan 30, a C-17 Globemaster 96-0002 made a “gear up” landing at Bagram in Afghanistan. I just received the following interesting pictures that show that the aircraft, assigned to Charleston AFB, S.C., was extensively damaged. The crew escaped the aircraft safely and the emergency resulted in the temporary closure of the runway. Air operation resumed on Jan 31. Thr pictures show the gear lever was in the UP position, meaning the pilot did not command the gear extraction.
This accident was the second bad C-17 landing in Afghanistan during the past two months: on Dec 23, another C-17 overran at Kandahar after landing. A similar accident occurred on Aug. 6, 2005, when a C-17 Globemaster
rolled off the runway damaging its nose and right main landing gears. The runway was closed for just 30 hours before Air Force and Army engineers were able to make it fully operative again.

  • Globesmasher

    Hey propwash – get over yourself.
    Accept the fact you’re redudant and now surplus to requirements.

    The C-17 has done a lot of “off airport work” as you call it. I’ve landed at FOB Rhino several times. Not much asphalt or concrete there. Did some airdrop over Bashur as well.

    It cruises just fine at Mach .76 with a very full load – 18 pallets – up at 37,000 feet. Done McChord to Frankfurt more times than I can remember or care to count – but usually grabbed gas over Maine from the NE tanker task force. Done KCHS to Frankfurt, Rota or Moron without stopping many, many times. I have no idea where you get the idea about the C-17 not being able to make it across the pond – you are sadly misinformed.

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 6,500 hours on the C-130 E and H and my 2,700 hours on the C-17. Never flown the 141 or the 5 though. However, I do know you would have a hell of time trying to fit 18 pallets into your 141. (I know, 36 for the C-5, when it’s not broken).

    However, rest assured, the day and age of the FE and the Nav have come and gone.

    Get over yourself and get used to it.

    Do some “real” research on the C-17 as well while you have the spare time. Don’t just grab disinformation from your disgruntled FE friends.

    • Bud


      I flat-ass love it when a ‘newbie’ to the world of flying (Jeez, who would have thought that you could have checked out in a C-130…and then, WOW, learned how to fly a C-17 without ever experiencing the C-141 and C-5 world) has to prance around and defend some ‘dork’ C-17 crew who can’t even remember to lower their landing gear…WHAT, no checklist…no practice in the simulator or the airplane? How about, no-brainer.


      We want to talk about the C-17’s ability to “fly around the world”, do we???
      I just also flat-ass love to hear about that airplane’s ability to fly long distance. C-17s—the answer to a career in the KC-10. WOW!!

  • GY

    Anyone heard anything more on the “gear-up” at Bagram? Been out of the Air Force for a while and just found out about it today. The guys in the cockpit must feel sick. As someone mentioned, a few careers down the drain.

    As far as the debate over Flight Engineers, Casper mentioned the C-141 that landed gear-up and had two experienced Engineers on board. A better question might be “How many accidents/incidents have been/will be prevented by having an FE as part of the crew.” Of course, it’s unknowable. The C-17 was not designed with an FE as part of the crew, but had it been, this probably would not have happened. The checklist would probably have been read by the FE, and he/she also would have been required to look at the gear indicators. I don’t think that was the case with the C-141s.

    The first fatality on the C-17 occurred because it was NOT designed with an FE position. If memory serves me correctly, a Jumpmaster was catapulted out of the door while the acft. was on the ground because it was pressurized on the ground. If designed with an FE, pressurization would have been a primary duty and the indicators, etc. would have in an easily viewable location.

    I don’t think you can dispute the statement that more deaths would be prevented, and fewer accidents would occur if acft. were designed with FEs, as opposed to more deaths and accidents happening because of having Flight Engineers.

    Propwash, I think Casper is a Loadmaster.

    Tower Controllers are not responsible nor should be responsible in any way for making sure the gear is down. They issue a reminder. “Check wheels down. Cleared to land.” They usually do take a look at the gear. Unfortunately not this time.

  • Ron

    That C-17 is back in Charleston now. My son in law is stationed there and showed me some pics of the patchwork done so it could come home. Lots of funny stuff, like a very large sign pointing to the gear controls.

  • Rob

    If it really landed gear up, why are the gear doors open? Easy for someone to go in the cockpit and flip the lever up for a “funny” photo…

    I say they dropped the gear and it collapsed inward…

  • Wayne

    Will we ever know anything about this, or does the military keep these investigations internal? As a private pilot I take an interest in these sorts of things and read the abbreviated NTSB reports via AOPA when incidents occur in civilian aviation.

  • As I wrote here: http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/c-17-gear-up-landing-investigation-results/
    investigation results have been released.

  • Victor

    Just give me an old C-119.
    Reliable and safe.
    I do feel sorry for the C-17 pilot though. You make one gear up landing in a jet and the AF won’t let you play with the toys ever again.

  • Ex C-17 Pilot

    Well, there have been zero fatalities in C-17 mishaps it almost 20 years of flying, millions of hours of flight-time, and seven years of wartime op tempo. I’d like to see any aircraft match that. Here’s a C-119 site with a couple of photos of accidents:


  • Kyle

    Actually there have been fatalities related t the C-17. After landing the co-pilot forgot to check to see if the aircraft was fully depressurized. In auto mode the system usually fully depressurizes if the WOW (weight on wheels) system is functioning. After taxing and parking the load master attempted to open the door but could not. By then the ground crew that assisted in parking had approached the aircraft and was attempting to open the door from outside. He also could not open the door. The co-pilot frustrated that the inept load master was having trouble decided to assist. After applying enough force they finally got the door to unlock and open with 1PSI of pressure pushing against it. The grounds crewman was killed when the door with the equivalent of 2600 lbs of force plunged down upon him. 1psi x 6 ft x 4ft x144square inches = 2592lbs.

    This happened at Charleston AFB where is was station for 4 years.

    The stupid FE debate..
    The C-17 does not, nor will it ever, need an FE. Useless for such a technically advanced airframe. 500 Million dollars worth of advancement ( for the first 21 ) means no FE. If you are a FE, I appreciate your need to feel appreciated for other airframes, but not this one. You are either a pilot, a load master, or a passenger, there is no in-between.

    About me.
    Sr Airman Thomason
    2A565 Electro-Environmental Journeyman
    Charleston AFB 1995-1999
    “If it has a wire, or a duct, it belongs to me”

    Acronyms that I can’t seem to forget

    WAP – Warning and Annunciator Panel
    WOW – Weight on Wheels
    ASBTM – Anti-Skid Brake Temperature Monitoring
    GAC – Guidance and Control
    LOX – Liquid Oxygen
    LIN – Liquid Nitrogen
    TO – Technical Training Order
    Brings back memories!

    • Bill G.

      Where did you get your aerospace engineering degree, Mr. 3-striper? I look forward to reading your human factors engineering report.

      You think you’re all that and a bag of chips because you work on ECS (you’re right in there with the guys who inflate tires)? Give me a break.

      • John

        And what do you know? Please bless us with your intellect…

  • Thomas Frost

    Comment 21 GLOBEMASHER… I gotta comment on the FEs get over yourself. What you all need to realize is that as an FE, my primary function is to be the systems expert on the aircraft. When things work fine, the C-17 works fine (even though you have had to add a 3rd pilot), but when things go to hell in a handbasket ya’ll have fun. I was at Little Rock AFB when a C-130J had a gear problem…. know what that pilot wanted more than anything in the world??? A FRIGGEN FLIGHT ENGINEER. Say what you want, military transport aircraft should have an FE, if you are doing airdrops, you should have a nav. A lot of problems happen when you start messing with the CREW on the aircraft. I am the enlisted babysitter up front, the little voice in the back of the pilot’s head that says “I wouldn’t do that $hit if I were you sir!” If GLOBEMASHER doesn’t get that, get a job flying F-16s.

  • Ray

    What kind of gear problem? Be more specific please.

  • Walter nkawtg Callahan

    FE’s don’t save airplanes anymore than the rest of the crew.
    There have been many gear up landings in both C-135, C-141, and C-5 aircraft where there were navigators, boom operators, or flight engineers present.
    Crew discipline and coordination are the primary factors of safety of flight and not the crew position.

  • John M. McAllister

    Man, for an old Jarhead, it’s kind of refreshing to hear AF guys yelling at each other. Hey, I only ever hitched a ride because y’all were kind enough to provide it, but if having a FE in the cockpit has a better than average chance of making the flight safer, don’t you think the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines you’re dropping into harm’s way deserve it before they’re actually getting shot at? Can y’all get over yourselves and quit arguing about the equipment (C-130 vs. C-141 vs. C-17 vs. C-5 –I’ve ridden in them all) and realize that you’re providing an incredibly valuable service to our country! God Bless all of the Pilots, FE’s and Ground Crew who keep our Air Force flying as well as your brother and sister soldiers, sailors, and Marines.
    And most of all in this day and age, God Bless America (We need it). I’m from a long line of military, some enlisited, some commissioned, all proud. Semper Fi!

  • Alpha Zero 6

    KYLE……… should not speak of things he has no clue about nor was there. I testified on the FEB (Flight Evaluation Board) for this incident. Not only is your story about 70% wrong it is not in your business to be commenting on such matters. Nobody from the ground crew was ever harmed in this incident. A loadmaster and a Navy seal were ejected, killing the navy seal. They landed in close proximity of Engine #2.

    This incident happened in another country and that is all I’ll say about that.

  • Pingback: C-17 Wheels Up Landing Pictures | All Wheels Blog()

  • matt

    @ KYLE Yeah from what I heard when I was in training, the LM couldn’t get the door open, so the seal manhandled the door and managed to get it open, depressurization pulling him out and killing him. That’s why they put a pressure gauge above the crew doors.

  • jay

    Nice to see the C-17 was finally shaken out. I was a supervisor with Douglas Acft when they started production. They were lucky to have “merged” with Boeing.The straight-out fraud and shortcuts to meet milestones was crazy. Douglas seemed to have an on-the-fly attitude to making schedule. One thing which got done was “transferring” unfinished work as “discrepancies” to other work packages. Screwed up work needing repair got moved this way too . Training on things like wing tank sealing was a joke. Mechanics sometimes stole handsoap from the toilets to scrub bulkheads prior to sealant. The first plane pissed fuel all over the place at Edwards AFB, and no wonder.