Air Force: Pilot, crew errors cause of C-17 crash in Alaska
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Air Force blamed pilot and crew errors for a C-17 crash in Alaska this summer that killed all four on board, according to an investigation report released Friday.
The July 28 crash occurred as the crew was practicing maneuvers for an upcoming air show.
After taking off from the runway at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the pilot executed an aggressive right turn, according to the executive summary of the investigation. As the aircraft banked, the stall warning system activated to alert the crew of an impending stall, the summary stated.
"Instead of implementing stall recovery procedures, the pilot continued to turn as planned, and the aircraft entered a stall from which recovery was not possible.
“Although the pilot eventually attempted to recover the aircraft,” the report said, “he employed incorrect procedures, and there was not sufficient altitude to regain controlled flight.”
Furthermore, the report said, “the co-pilot and safety observer did not realize the developing dangerous situation and failed to make appropriate inputs.”
The crew also "ignored cautions and warnings and failed to respond to various challenge and reply items," according to the report.
Investigators also found that “channelized attention, overconfidence, expectancy, misplaced motivation, procedural guidance, and program oversight substantially contributed” to the crash, according to the report.
The $184 million plane crashed in a wooded area near the base in Anchorage, killing the crew instantly. No civilians were injured in the accident. The plane was practicing maneuvers for an upcoming air show.
The crew included Maj. Michael Freyholtz, 34, Maj. Aaron Malone, 36, both assigned to the Alaska Air National Guard’s 249th Airlift Squadron; Capt. Jeffrey Hill, 31, a pilot from Elmendorf’s 517th Airlift Squadron and Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, the aircraft’s loadmaster, also with the 249th, who was posthumously promoted to senior master sergeant Friday, according to The Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for Pacific Air Forces told the AP on Friday that the pilot’s identity would not be released out of sensitivity to the families of the crash victims.
Read the crash investigation summary and watch video footage of the crash at: http://www.pacaf.af.mil/library/aibreports/index.asp