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.


  1. The correct term for a compressor not getting enough air to operate correctly is called surging. symptons of surging: loud bangs, violent vibrations, loss of power.

  2. the engines didn’t stall. they were at full power. the wing stalled.

  3. Classic nose high aerodynamic stall. One wing will always stall first (down wind wing usually) and the plane will roll that direction. The reason for the nose high attitude will take the cvr and dfdr to be analyzed to be sure. The Emery dash 8 that crashed the same way out of Mather airfield in Sacramento was initially called a cargo shift but they found that improperly installed bolts on the control rods was the cause. Most cargo planes are loaded slightly aft CG anyways for fuel savings (less drag) so if it was load shift it didn’t take much to be out of limits. If the pilots don’t react fast enough (and what pilot would instinctively put full nose down stick on takeoff) then it was too late.

  4. i think the cargo is the cause of the crash the plane stall when its nose was very hi and maybe he shutdown the engin to prevent the hi climb and try to liviling the plane agine after all i think the pilot did all he can to avoid the crash but the ground was very near to him

  5. I was there for this (several of my coworkers were on that jet before it took off as well). Was a really bad day. The engines didn’t stall out, the pilot actually gunned the engines to get his air speed up because one of the MRAPs it was carrying broke loose and went the the back of the jet and caused a COG shift. We think it got loose while the jet was rolling down the runway. After the investigation, they bulldozed the site and put all the steel into a pile and gave it the the Afghanis for scrap.

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