Forgone Conclusion

By lex, on December 13th, 2010

Pilot error was to blame for that C-17 crash at an airshow in Alaska last summer:

A pilot’s overly aggressive maneuvering and overconfidence were blamed in an investigative report on a C-17 plane crash at an Anchorage military base that killed all four airmen on board.

Besides pilot error, the crew on board was also faulted for failing to notice the dangerous situation that culminated with the plane stalling and crashing into some woods July 28 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

“The mishap pilot violated regulatory provisions and multiple flight manual procedures, placing the aircraft outside established flight parameters at an attitude and altitude where recovery was not possible,” the report’s executive summary says…

Pacific Air Forces, based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, released the results of its investigation Friday evening.

The probe “found clear and convincing evidence the cause of the mishap was pilot error,” the report says. It also found evidence that other factors including overconfidence and misplaced motivation contributed to the crash.

When a crew augers in so spectacularly, it’s tempting to stand on the sidelines and play the critic. But we have to keep in mind that the pilot in command put everything he’d ever been taught, everything he had and everything he ever would have had into that decision. He believed in it so completely that he laid his life and the lives of his crew on the line for it. Everyone who ever flew with him, or taught him, or fought alongside him lost the opportunity to influence him in such a way as to avert this disaster.

The fact that he was wrong is not an opportunity for those left behind who have not faced what he faced to stand in judgment – it is a tragedy. A tragedy we should all learn from and teach to.


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Lex, Neptunus Lex

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