Category Archives: Aviation Safety / Air Crashes

Boeing 747 freighter crashes in Kyrgyzstan. Flight crew of 4 and 33 civilians on ground killed.

Boeing 747-400 freighter crashed while attempting to land at Kyrgyzstan’s main airport in thick fog.

News media and intelligence reports indicate that MyCargo Airlines Boeing 747-412F registration “TC-MCL”, a freighter operating for Turkish Airlines as TK6491, crashed after a failed go-around attempt on final approach to Manas International Airport in the city of Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyz Republic.

The flight crew of four did not survive and reports indicate that 33 civilians living in the village of Dacha-Suu, approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) west of Manas Airport were killed on the ground as a result of the crash.

Video from the scene shows small sections of the aircraft fuselage, larger portions of the nose and parts of the rudder and elevators protruding from destroyed buildings in Dacha-Suu.

B747 cockpit section (credit: EPA)

While official investigations of the cause have not yet concluded as of this early hour following the crash, U.S. news outlet CNN published, “Crew error appears to have caused the deadly crash of the Turkish cargo plane that barreled into a Kyrgyzstan village on Monday, a top Kyrgyz official told state-run news.”

CNN reported that “Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev drew the conclusion that ‘crew error’ had led to the crash citing preliminary information, Kyrgyzstan’s [as reported by] state-run news agency Kabar.

A conflicting official airline press release reports, “There is no clear and confirmed information about the reasons for the incident yet.”

The crash occurred at 07:31 local zone time when most residents of the village were still in their homes. Weather in the area included dense early morning fog.

What remains of the tail of the B747-412F (credit: Reuters)

The cargo flight was crewed by four flight crew and was sub-chartered to ACT Airlines by Turkish Cargo. It originated in Hong Kong and was scheduled to land later today in Istanbul, Turkey.

The flight crew onboard Turkish Airlines Flight 6491 was reported by the airline in an official statement as Captain, Lead Pilot Ibrahim Gürcan Diranci; the flight’s Co-Pilot was Kazim Önüdl. Cargo loadmaster onboard was Melih Aslan. The final crewmember on board is reported as Flight Technician Ihsan Koca.

The aircraft had a payload of 85,618 kg (188,755 lbs or 94.3 tons) as reported by the airline. The aircraft’s manufacturer, Boeing, reports maximum payload capacities as between 112,990-124,330 kg (249,100-274,100 pounds or 124.5 -137.0 tons).

Top image credit: Wiki

 

Thai Gripen jet crashes during airshow in Thailand

A Royal Thai Air Force JAS-39 Gripen has crashed in Thailand. Pilot dead.

On Jan. 14, at 09.27 LT, a RTAF JAS-39 Gripen crashed at Hat Yai Airport, Thailand, during an airshow for Thailand’s national Children’s Day.

The 35-year-old pilot who was flying the Swedish-made jet did not eject and died in the incident.

Footage of the accident shows the Gripen starting a slow aileron roll; once inverted, the aircraft fails to complete the maneuver, stops rolling and takes a nosedive crashing near the airfield’s runway.

Thailand purchased 12 JAS-39C/D Gripen multirole jets in 2008, at a cost of about 70M USD apiece.

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U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bomber loses one engine over North Dakota

A USAF Stratofortress bomber lost one of its 8 engines 25 miles to the northeast of Minot AFB, North Dakota. Type to re-engine the Buff?

On Jan. 4, 2017, in a quite unusual incident, a B-52H belonging to the 5th Bomb Wing lost one Pratt & Whitney TF33 turbofan engine shortly after take off from Minot AFB, North Dakota.

According to DefenseNews, that broke the news, the aircraft, one of the 76 “Buffs” still in service with the U.S. Air Force, was flying a training mission with 5 crew members; the engine fell in an unpopulated area without causing damage on the ground and a UH-1N Huey helicopter was dispatched to the site for a survey.

Few details are available at the moment as the U.S. Air Force investigates the root cause of the issue.

For instance, it’s still not clear whether a single engine or an entire nacelle pod (housing two TF-33 engines) attached to one of the four underwing pylons detached from the plane. Anyway, the aircraft managed to return safely to Minot: the loss of one (or even two on the same pod) is not a big deal for an aircraft powered by 8 engines.

Nevertheless, the incident is likely to fuel debate about the B-52’s engine program. With a +60 year-long career, the B-52 is a still quite advanced and heavily weaponized “dinosaur” expected to remain in service until something around 2040, when it will be fully replaced by the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider.

Various options are known to have been considered so far, including an upgrade for the current TF-33 engines or their replacement with a different type: the Pratt PW2000 or other potential substitutes pitched by General Electric and Rolls-Royce that are likely to respond an eventual flying branch’s RFP.

Anyway it’s not the first time some part detaches from a U.S. Air Force aircraft mid-air: on Nov. 1, 2016, a U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueler belonging to the 60th Air Mobility Wing was forced to perform an emergency landing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, after losing its flying boom that fell in a hay-field.

 

Here’s what happens if you are a bit too close to the exhaust on an EA-6B Prowler during catapult launch

Working on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier can be extremely dangerous!

The video below was reportedly filmed aboard USS Kitty Hawk during the final launches of the embarked U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft at the end of the deployment.

It shows a “troubleshooter” or “Final Checker”, be blown away by the jet blast of the aircraft during the catapult launch.

The role of the final checker (with a white jersey) is to make sure the aircraft’s flight controls are freely moving and that everything is ok. So they have to operate quite close to plane to spot potential hydraulic leaks or something that could lead to an aborted launch.

Here’s how the mishap is described by the alleged cameraman on Liveleak:

“This was the final flight on our deployment. During the final flight, people tend to push the boundaries because the deployment is over. Getting close to the exhaust on launch is a kind of “right of passage” for most troubleshooters since it increases the jet blast. So, the guy in the video decided that he wanted to get closer to the exhaust. He got a little TOO close and it threw him about 40 feet. The deck of the carrier is extremely rough and cover with “non-skid.” It’s so rough it can wear out the sole of you shoes in about 5 months. He was extremely scraped up, but took it like a champ!”

“As far as why the checkers stand so close, that is a personal preference. You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft” says another guy who’s posted a similar video to Youtube.

“You need to be somewhat close so you can observe the aircraft. The Prowler‘s jet exhaust blows down and out, so when the aircraft takes off, the closer you are, the harder it hits you.”

 

All U.S. Navy Super Hornets and Growlers grounded after incident injured aircrew

The U.S. Navy has temporarily grounded all its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler jets after a ground incident at Whidbey Island.

The U.S. Navy Naval Air Forces commander has suspended flight operations of both Super Hornet and Growler types after a canopy incident involving an EA-18G from the VAQ-132 “Scorpions” caused unspecified injuries to the aircrew on Friday, Dec. 16.

According to a release from the USN the aircraft suffered an “on-deck emergency” shortly before take off from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The injured crew was transported to a Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation by a base SAR (Search And Rescue) helicopter.

Since the systems used by the Boeing Super Hornet and the Growler, its Electronic Attack variant, are similar, the U.S. Navy has decided to ground both types as a precaution pending further investigation.

It’s not clear whether the EA-18Gs supporting the war on ISIS will be affected by the flight restrictions as well (even though a Navy spokesperson said that exceptions will be authorized on a case-by-case basis) but, depending on its length, the grounding may have an impact on the US ability to conduct “kinetic” EW (Electronic Warfare) missions, a kind of task currently only two other platforms can carry out: U.S. Air Force F-16CJs and U.S. Marine Corps EA-6B Prowlers.

The grounding of the most advanced Hornet variants comes in a period of serious concern surrounding the crash rate recorded by the U.S. and foreign fleets of “Legacy Hornets” (that is to say the A, B, C and D versions): as reported at the beginning of December, the recent U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C crash that caused the death of a Marine pilot was the 9th major incident involving a “Legacy Hornet” (including a Swiss F/A-18C and the Canadian CF-18 lost on Nov. 28, 2016) in the last 6 months.

In the wake of three Hornet crashes from June through October, the U.S. Marine Corps temporarily grounded its non-deployed Hornets for 24 hours, before losing two more F/A-18Cs few days after the ban was lifted.

Image credit: U.S. Navy

 

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