This animation shows what may have happened aboard the Boeing 747 that crashed after take off from Bagram

The following video shows what may have caused the crash of a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 shortly after take off from Bagram Airfield, in Afghanistan, on Apr. 29.

As we reported on our first article on the accident, there are rumours that radio frequency monitors listened a crew report according to which the load had shifted just prior to the crash.

Bagram crash animation

A sudden and violent shift of the CG (Center of Gravity) during initial climb, might have induced the impressive nose high attitude that is clearly visible in the shocking video recorded by a car dash camera.

At that speed and altitude, the aircrew could do nothing to recover the situation.

The animation below points towards the engine stall as the root cause of the crash; however, the wings stalled (they would stall even if the engines were working properly) and the aircraft almost fell from the sky like a stone.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • Agreed, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, please refrain from talking about it. Of course, that never stops people.

    • The wings stalled… ignorant commenter. You can hear the engines screaming before impact.

    • With the airplane at such an abnormally high nose up attitude it’s possible that the flow of air into one or more engines was inhibited. This causes the flow of air going backwards through the compressor to momentarily stop or even reverse, however the compressor itself doesn’t stop rotating. The engine will momentarily lose power, sometimes you will hear a popping sound and flame will sometimes come out the front of the engine. Occasionally a severe enough compressor stall can cause a flame-out.

      It’s more likely here that the load shifted causing the plane to go nose up. The compressor stall(s) were secondary effects. Unlike a fighter plane the intakes on a 747 are not designed to take in air at a high angle of attack like this plane experienced.

      • Then why, when the aircraft is still on the ground, the engines do not rise due to lack of air flow but work and push the aircraft forward?

    • 30,000 pounds, which is roughly the weight of an MRAP, would indeed be enough, particularly the load was already toward the aft end of the CG envelope. I don’t know where it was for this aircraft, but I ran some numbers and found that in some cases, as little as 1 vehicle shifting only 6 feet was enough to throw it out of limitations. With a CG load right in the middle of the envelope, 15-20 feet could.

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