Unfortunate Placement of Object Caused Air Force C-130 Crash

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: July 19th, 2016
Topics: Materials Handling & Storage | Safety Training | Technology | Transportation Safety |

The crash of a US Air Force C-130J airplane on Oct. 2, 2015 at Jalalabad Airfield in Afghanistan, which killed all 11 people on board, was caused by the unfortunate placement of a hard-shell night vision goggles case, which blocked the plane’s flight controls during takeoff.

A United States Air Force report into the crash states that before the aircraft took off, the pilot placed the goggles case forward of the yoke to hold the plane’s elevator in an up position so that tall cargo could be loaded. Unfortunately, the case was not removed before the C-130J took off.

The aircraft lifted off the runway at about three knots below the anticipated takeoff speed and its pitch angle continued to increase as a result of the goggles case blocking the flight controls. The object prevented the co-pilot from pushing the yoke forward to decrease the pitch angle and the aircraft stalled and crashed, instantly killing the pilot and co-pilot, two loadmasters, two security team members and five contractors.

The crash report says that the pilot and co-pilot both misidentified the flight control problem and the recovery techniques they used were therefore not appropriate to prevent the crash.

Your workers may not fly airplanes, but there are plenty of examples where unsafe placement of objects could result in a serious injury or death.

For example, consider the possibilities of an unsecured object in a vehicle becoming jammed under a brake pedal and causing a crash, or a hammer left on the top step of a ladder falling onto someone’s head when the ladder is moved.

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