Two C-17 Accident Investigations Concluded

An Air Mobility Command-convened accident investigation board has determined that the Jan. 30 incident in which a C-17 set down at Bagram AB, Afghanistan, with its landing gear still retracted was caused primarily by “failure of the pilots to lower the landing gear and confirm proper aircraft landing configuration.” The AIB president also found numerous contributing factors, including aircrew distractions, task saturation, reduced cockpit visual cues, crew failure to cross-monitor each other’s performance, and the crew’s “inadvertent disabling of Ground Proximity Warning System alerts, as well as the aircraft control tower’s failure to transmit a required reminder. Upon impacting the runway, the aircraft slid about 4,500 feet before stopping. There were no injuries to crew or ground personnel, but the damage to the airlifter was “significant,” stated the AMC release. Three factors “substantially contributed” to a C-17 that sustained fire damage to three of four engines following its landing Dec. 3, 2008, at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. First, the AIB concluded that the crew did not follow technical order guidance; second, the engine shutoff switches were poorly marked; and, third, aircrew fatigue contributed to the incident. Immediately upon landing, the right-seat pilot turned off the engines without calling for the engine shutdown procedure, and the left-seat pilot—the one designated to handle the shutdown procedure—in running through the procedure “inadvertently turned the engine shutoff switches back to the ‘on’ position,” according to the second AMC release. Fuel flowed back into the hot engines, causing tailpipe fires in all four. There were no personnel injuries.