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Aviation Safety Essay

2157 words - 9 pages

United States Air Force C-17 Crash 28 July 2010
Joint Base Elmendorf -Richardson, Alaska

Carnell E. Chappelle Jr

Commercial Aviation Safety
Tom Stein
9 April 2011
USAF C-17 Crash

On the 28th of July 2010, an Air Force C-17 took of from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska so it could practice for an air-show that was to happen later on in the week. During the first minute of flight that included takeoff, a steep climb followed by an aggressive left turn and as planed the aircraft executed another aggressive right hand turn so he could line up with runway 6 for a high speed low pass, It was during this right hand turn that the aircraft entered ...view middle of the document...

All four aircrew onboard where killed instantly and a partition of the Pacific Railroad was destroyed. The whole accident sequence was recorded by a remotely mounted camera on the air traffic control tower.
The aircraft was a C-17a T/N 00-0173 belong to the 3rd Airwing. It was operated by 517th Airlift Squadron and the 249th Alaska Air National Guard squadron. The Pilot, Safety Officer and Load Master where all National Guardsmen. The Copilot was the only Active Duty member.

The day before the practice flight, the pilot, copilot and safety officer flew the predetermined airshow profile in the C-17 simulator. The training lasted for about an hour and half and ended with the aircrew performing their mission planning for the practice flight the next day. The following day, all the aircrew briefed and completed an Operational Risk Management formula to evaluate the possible risk for the demonstration flight. All crewmemebers determined that the mission had some risk but it was safe to fly.
The aircraft preflight was normal. The original aircraft that they where going to use was down due to maintaince so they planed to “hot seat” with an aircraft that was returning from another sortie that was unrelated to the airshow demonstration flight. The accident aircraft returned and a normal one for one swap of aircrew was performed. The outgoing aircrew noted no know matainnce descpencys with the aircraft. The accident aircrew to control of the aircraft with the callsign Sitka 43. The aircraft took of for a 9 minute weather observation flight around the airfield. After that flight, the aircraft landed and it was determined that the weather was clear and safe to fly for the airshow practice. After it landed and a 30 minute wait, the aircrew filed a VFR flight plan and taxied for take for the practice flight.
The Air Force has four predetermined airshow profiles just for the C-17 to chose from. All of them range from just a few minutes to 12 minutes in length with one of them including an aerial drop of troops and equipment. All four profiles are clearly outlined in the Air Force instruction tilted: 11-246, Vol. 6. The crew chose the #3, 12 minute flight profile to fly for the airshow.
The normal procedures for the #3 flight demonstration profile start out with a Maximum performance climb to which the aircraft takes off and climbs at a steep angle to clear an obstacle while maintaing an airspeed that is published for a single engine failure (simulating the aircraft has 3 good working engines). The targeted speed for the climbout should be around 133kts. After the climbout the aircraft would level off at around 1,500 feet AGL and make a left 80 degree turn, flying wings level, pick up speed and then set up for the right 260 degree turn to the right and start a decent from 1,500 feet AGL to 500 ft AGL and pass “Show Center” at around 25o kts at 500 feet AGL.


The aircrew released breaks and took off...

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