‘Pilot error’ cited in probe of military plane crash
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.