US Civilian Cargo Plane crashes after taking off from Bagram, Afghanistan

On the afternoon of Monday Apr. 29 a civilian Boeing 747 cargo plane taking off from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, crashed killing all on board.

The doomed B747-400 cargo plane was operated by National Air Cargo and thought to be the example carrying registration N949CA (unconfirmed).

The aircraft had been contracted out by the U.S. military and had arrived at the base the previous day. Eye witnesses said that the 747 had taken off normally but once it had reached an altitude of around 1,200ft the nose pitched up violently leading to a subsequent stall.

There are rumours that radio frequency monitors heard the crew report that the load had shifted just prior to the crash: the heavy cargo plane pitched up past the point at which the crew could not recover; the resulting drop in airspeed made the aircraft stall and that close to the ground there was nothing the crew could do.

National Air Cargo made a statement to Reuters by phone stating “We did lose all seven crew members,” although their nationalities have not been released.

The Taliban released a statement saying that they were responsible for the crash but ISAF (NATO’s International Security Assistance Force) said that there had not been any insurgent activity around or near the base when the incident took place, therefore it would seem the Taliban tried to use this as a bit of a publicity stunt.

The tragic event comes only few days after a U.S. MC-12 military surveillance aircraft crashed in bad weather.

Richard Clements for

Bagram crash

Image credit: Albert Ramirez via AvHerald

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  1. The nationality of one guy was “world’s coolest uncle” to my kids. A sad day for us.

  2. David, there are videos up on Liveleak and Youtube of the crash now. It’s surreal to see.

  3. Load shift of heavy vehicles. Something broke loose and during the climb it shifted to rear with CG moving aft rapidly, increasing angle of attack to stall the climb, loss of lift and forward airspeed. Aircraft literally fell out of the sky. The crew could do little to recover other than nose down and full thrust….
    Very sad loss of life…

    • Yet, the airplane eventually impacts the ground in a nose-high attitude? Over-zealous pilot trying to do a fighter-jet takeoff out of Bagram and he didn’t make it.

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