‘Pi­lot er­ror’ cited in probe of mil­i­tary plane crash

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CAITLIN TURNER cturner@is­land­packet.com

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the May 2 WC-130H Her­cules Mil­i­tary cargo plane crash that killed a crew of 9 Air Na­tional Guard mem­bers cited pi­lot er­ror as the cause of the crash.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a fa­tal crash that killed nine aboard a Puerto Ri­can Air Na­tional Guard air­craft in Gar­den City on May 2 cited “pi­lot er­ror” as the cause of the crash.

The WC-130H Her­cules Mil­i­tary cargo plane crashed around 11:30 a.m. onto Ge­or­gia High­way 21 near Sa­van­nah/ Hil­ton Head In­ter­na­tional Air­port shortly af­ter take­off — killing the en­tire crew.

In an in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­leased Fri­day by the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mo­bil­ity Com­mand, prob­lems dur­ing take­off were men­tioned.

“While rolling down the run­way, dur­ing ini­tial take­off, the left out­er­most en­gine ... ex­peri- enced sig­nif­i­cant de­cay in RPMs and torque, which sub­stan­tially low­ered thrust (the force which moves the air­craft through the air),” ac­cord­ing to a Mo­bil­ity Com­mand news re­lease.

The lack of thrust went un­no­ticed by the crew un­til mo­ments be­fore liftoff, the re­lease said. As a re­sult, the air­craft veered left and nearly de­parted the run­way into the grass be­fore achiev­ing flight.

“Upon ini­tial as­cent, the mishap crew failed to prop­erly ap­ply nor­mal and emer­gency pro- ce­dures to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion, in­clud­ing im­proper ap­pli­ca­tion of left rud­der and mak­ing a left turn in the di­rec­tion of the failed en­gine,” the re­lease said.

The im­proper use of a left rud­der caused the plane’s left wing to stall and the air­craft crashed.

“Ul­ti­mately, af­ter an ex­ten­sive en­gi­neer­ing and hu­man fac­tors anal­y­sis, it was iden­ti­fied by pre­pon­der­ance of ev­i­dence that the cause of the ac­ci­dent was pi­lot er­ror,” the re­lease said.

No by­standers were in­jured when the plane crashed. The road­way was closed for a time as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted.

The air­craft crew was as­signed to the 156th Air­lift wing. The crew was on a mis­sion to de­liver the air­craft from the air­port to the 309th Aero­space Main­te­nance and Re­gen­er­a­tion Group at Davis-Mon­than Air Force Base in Ari­zona, the re­lease said.

Of­fi­cials in­ves­ti­gate the scene of a C-130 mil­i­tary cargo plane crash on May 2 on Ge­or­gia High­way 21 near Sa­van­nah/Hil­ton Head In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Part of the tailplane of the air­craft can be seen ris­ing in the cen­ter left por­tion of the frame. The plane went down on the road near its in­ter­sec­tion with Cross­gate Road.

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