This briefing was originally developed in 1997, as a flight safety initiative of the 728th Airlift Squadron, McChord AFB Washington. It represents a historical synopsis of the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter’s lifetime mishap history. The purpose is to familiarize current C-141 crew members with the mishap history of the C-141, with a view toward the mishap potential of current and future operations. The goal is to reduce future mishaps by understanding the mishaps of the past.
The mission and operational environment of the C-141 have not changed significantly since the first airplane was accepted in 1963. Review of its mishap experience can provide valuable insight into hazards currently encountered by Starlifter aircrews.
The C-141 has been the backbone of strategic airlift within the US Air Force for over thirty years. The Starlifter fleet has flown more than 10 Million hours in operational service, with one of the best safety records in the USAF. As of 2002, the C-141 lifetime Class A Flight Rate was 0.32 per 100,000 flight hours compared to an overall USAF rate in FY01 of 1.08.
The mishap experience of the C-141 is limited enough to allow a case-by-case review of all hull-loss mishaps. In addition to the hull-loss incidents, the C-141 fleet has experienced a number of serious incidents that did not lead to the destruction of the airframe. A selection of some of the more significant such incidents are included in this briefing. These incidents were selected when significant to the mishap history of the C-141.
Details on the following incidents were gathered exclusively from published public documents, and in some cases, personal accounts. Consistent with the "privileged information" restrictions of AFI 91-204, the original accident and incident reports were neither made available, nor utilized, for this briefing. In nearly all cases, the Air Force’s actual Factual Findings of Cause and other privileged information can only be inferred from the publicly available accident information. In some cases, due to the length of time since the accident and the limited information available in the public domain, certain details may no longer be available. Every effort has been made to ensure the factual accuracy of this briefing. Any opinions expressed are those of the author and not the official position of the USAF.
The incident information is presented for accident prevention purposes only. Nothing in this briefing is to be construed as personal criticism of the crew members involved.
The Air Force’s primary regulation on the classification and statistical analysis of aircraft accidents is AFI 91-204. For statistical analysis and mishap rate calculations, an accident is only counted against the Flight Mishap rate if there was "Intent for Flight". Accidents that occur without "Intent for Flight" are categorized as a Ground and Industrial mishaps. Aircraft Ground Operations mishaps do not contribute to official Flight mishap rates, even if the aircraft was destroyed.
While hull-loss incidents qualify as Class A incidents, other mishaps can also meet the Class A criteria without destruction of the aircraft. The Air Force classifies aircraft accidents and incidents as follows:
Class A: Total destruction of an aircraft, damage of $1 million or more, or a fatality or permanent total disability.
Class B: Total cost of $200,000 or more but less than $1 million, or a permanent partial disability, or inpatient hospitalization of three or more personnel.
Class C: Total cost of $10,000 or more but less than $200,000, or an injury or occupational illness resulting in a loss of 8 hours or more.
High Accident Potential (HAP): Events where there is a potential significant hazard to the crew or aircraft if a similar event were to occur.
Designated C-141, the Lockheed Model 300 was the winning entrant of a competition to satisfy Specific Operational Requirement (SOR) 182. The first aircraft flew on 17 December 1963. The last of 284 aircraft was delivered in December 1966.
The Air Force started modifying 270 "A" models to the "B" configuration in late 1979. Lockheed completed the modification in June 1982. In 1997, approximately 60 "B"-model aircraft were up graded to a "C"-model configuration, incorporating a "glass cockpit" and many other upgrades.
The C-141 has been heavily involved in every US conflict and military operation from Vietnam to Afghanistan . It has flown countless humanitarian missions. Its inherent flexibility, range, and reliability have made it the choice for special missions, such as Operation Deep Freeze and the transport of nuclear weapons. The hallmark of the C-141 has been safe, fast, and reliable airlift.
Since its introduction, the C-141 has had many updates and modifications. The most obvious was the modification to the "B" configuration. Several other upgrades have had significant impact on the aircraft operational mishap experience. The chart below highlights some of the more important equipment upgrades.
|Equipment||Year of Introduction|
|Add AN/APN 169B Station-Keeping Equipment||1975|
|Upgrade Pressure Door||1976|
|Upgrade Cargo Ramp Locking Mechanism||1978|
|Modify to "B" Configuration||1979|
|Modify Brake System||1979|
|Remove Auto Spoilers||1980(?)|
|Replace APN-59 Radar with Bendix Color Radar||1981|
|Cockpit Voice Recorder and improved Flight Recorder||1983|
|Glass Cockpit for selected "C" model aircraft||1997|
In the lifetime service of the C-141, twenty-one aircraft have been destroyed. By comparison, the USAF has lost over 85 C-130 aircraft and 277 F-16’s. One hundred and nine aircrew members, three maintenance workers, and fifty passengers have been killed in C-141 mishaps.
|Date||7 Sept 1966||Cause:||Maintenance Error||Condition D/N||N/A|
|Wing/Base:||62 MAW/ TCM||Location:||McChord AFB WA||IMC/VMC||N/A|
|Tail #:||65-0281||Fatalities:||3 Maintenance Members||Fatigue?||N/A|
Synopsis: The first C-141 destroyed, blew up while simultaneous hazardous maintenance procedures were being performed. Three maintenance members were killed in an explosion of the Extended Range tank.
The Wing at McChord had recently converted to the Starlifter. The first aircraft had arrived on 9 August 1966. The incident aircraft was the third C-141 to be stationed at McChord, it had arrived on base the week before, on 29 August. The maintenance teams had minimal practical experience with the new airplane.
The incident C-141 was having multiple maintenance difficulties. The Right Extended Range Tank fuel gage was erratic, and the AC "Power On" Light was inoperative. Two electricians were in the cockpit working on the "Power On" Light. A Maintenance Team Chief was also in the cockpit with three trainees. In addition, he was supervising a maintenance team on another aircraft. The Assistant Team Chief had started defueling the Right Extended Range Tank to prepare it for troubleshooting. The plane’s other fuel tanks were full.
Two additional technicians arrived to work on the fuel gauge, before the defueling was complete. One of the electrical technicians connected the tester to the fuel tank, but failed to ground the test equipment. The other technician plugged an extension cord into the external 115V AC receptacle of the APU. The live extension cord apparently came in contact with the case of the MB-2 test equipment. The electricity flowed through the case, up the cables into the tank and, due to a short in the coaxial shielding, caused a spark within the nearly empty tank. The right wing exploded. The Assistant Team Chief, standing under the wing, and the technician on the wing were killed almost immediately. One of the technicians in the cockpit was fatally burned while exiting the right troop door into a burning pool of JP-4. He died a few days later. The others on the aircraft received only minor injuries.
|Date||23 March 1967||Cause:||Runway Incursion||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||62 MAW/KTCM||Location:||Da Nang AB RVN||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||65-9407||Fatalities:||5 crew||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: The C-141 was destroyed while taxiing in after landing. As it crossed the inner parallel runway, it was struck by an aircraft on takeoff roll. Five crew members were killed; one loadmaster survived.
The incident aircraft had just flown a nearly six-hour leg at night, to a GCA approach with weather of 700 feet and 2 miles visibility. After landing on the outer of two parallel runways, the crew turned off at mid-field and taxied toward the ramp. They were struck by a Marine A-6 taking off on the inner parallel runway.
The C-141’s cargo included acetylene tanks. The A-6 was loaded with sixteen 500lbs bombs. Both aircraft were destroyed in an intense fire. Five of six C-141 crew members were killed. Both Marine crew members escaped major injury.
Poor radio equipment in the tower hampered communications between the aircraft. During the investigation, tower personnel stated that they had not cleared the C-141 to cross the inner active runway. Landing and taxi lights were not being used by either aircraft, both were displaying only navigation lights.
|Date||12 Apr 1967||Cause:||Checklist Deviation||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||62 MAW/KTCM||Location:||Cam Rahn Bay AB RVN||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||66-0127||Fatalities:||7 crew||Fatigue?||No|
An omitted checklist item caused the spoilers to deploy to the "Ground" position during takeoff roll. The aircraft became briefly airborne before crashing into the sea. Seven crew members were killed. A pilot in the outboard ACM seat and a loadmaster survived.
The incident crew had flown from Yokota AB, Japan to Cam Rahn Bay RVN. After the download, the crew prepared for a night departure back to Yokota. During completion of the Before Takeoff Checklist, on taxi out, the copilot inadvertently left the automatic Spoiler Select Switch in the "Autoland" position, instead of the "Rejected Takeoff" (RTO) position. Unnoticed by the crew, between 34-60 Knots, the spoilers automatically deployed to the ground position. The crew noticed a reduced acceleration rate, but elected to continue the takeoff. The aircraft became airborne, accelerated poorly, began a shallow descent, and crashed into the sea just off the end of the runway.
The Aircraft Commander had earned a Distinguished Flying Cross 18 months earlier, for safely landing a C-124, after one of the engines had fallen off.
As a result of this accident, the Takeoff Warning system was wired to include the Spoiler Select Switch. The Auto Spoilers were eventually disabled entirely.
|Date||28 Aug 1973||Cause:||Controlled Flt into Terrain||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||438 MAW/ WRI||Location:||Torrejon AB Spain||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||63-8077||Fatalities:||7 crew/17 Passengers||Fatigue?||Yes|
Synopsis: During descent for a night GCA approach, the mishap crew misunderstood a descent clearance. Due to communications difficulties, they were unable to confirm the clearance, so accepted what they thought they heard. The aircraft impacted level terrain in a slight descent and was destroyed. Seven crew and 17 passengers were killed. A navigator was thrown clear and survived.
The aircrew departed McGuire AFB for Athens Greece , in mid-afternoon on a planned 23 hour crew duty day, with two enroute stops prior to Athens . The crew arrived in Athens , in the afternoon, and spent the rest of the day sightseeing. They retired to their non air-conditioned hotel for a few hours before doing more sightseeing in the morning. When they departed Athens , that afternoon, on another augmented day back to home station, most were already tired.
28 August was the night of the new moon. The moon had set that evening at 1946 hours Madrid Time. Approaching Torrejon, some hours later, the crew started an enroute descent, for an ILS approach to runway 23 at Torrejon. Weather was reported as 20,000 foot overcast, with 10 NM visibility. During the descent, the pilot noticed that the crew had missed the "Descent Checklist", but became distracted by a radio call and forgot to request it later. The omission went undetected by the rest of the crew.
While level at FL60, the crew was given a clearance to a lower altitude, but because of heavy radio traffic, the clearance was garbled. Although the crew was unsure of whether the controller had cleared them to 5000’ or 3000’, they agreed between them that it must have been 3000’. They read back "three thousand feet", but the controller missed the error and switched them to the final controller. They again reported "passing 5000 for 3000", but this controller also failed to hear the error. Nearing 3000 feet, the navigator noticed a hill ahead and above their altitude, but the pilot reassured him that "everything looks clear ahead".
The cleanly configured aircraft impacted the level terrain at 250 Knots, near the edge of a plateau at 3050’, in a slight descent. The lights of the base were visible in the valley below. The crash killed 7 crew members and 17 passengers. A navigator, in the outboard ACM seat, was thrown clear and survived the accident. At the time of the accident, the crew had spent only eight of the last 60 hours in bed. Investigators determined that several switches had been left in an incorrect position, indicating the fatigue of the crew.
Because they had omitted the Descent Checklist, the crew had failed to set their altimeters from 29.92" to the local altimeter setting of 30.17" or turn on the radar altimeter. They had not monitored their descent, or noted that a clearance of 3000’ was below the glideslope intercept altitude of the ILS approach. Ironically, if the crew had leveled off at 3000’ on altitude with their altimeters still set to 29.92, and not allowed the aircraft to descend further, they would still have cleared the terrain by 179 feet.
|Date||18 Aug 1974||Cause:||Controlled Flt into Terrain||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||437 MAW/KCHS||Location:||Near La Paz Bolivia||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||65-0274||Fatalities:||7 crew||Fatigue?||Yes|
Synopsis: While making an enroute descent into a remote high altitude airport in non-radar IMC conditions, the pre-INS equipped aircraft impacted a mountain. All seven crew members were killed.
The crew had been alerted early in the morning for a flight of over 1800 miles over mostly uninhabited jungle and limited navaids from Howard AFB Panama to John f. Kennedy Airport , LaPaz Bolivia. (now known as El Alto International Airport ICAO Identifier:SLLP). As they neared their destination, and based on the crew’s reporting an estimated position of three minutes from the La Paz VOR, air traffic control cleared them for a descent from FL240 to FL180. In reality, the aircraft was much further east of the VOR, than the crew believed. The only navaid available was the La Paz VOR. Neither DME, nor radar was available. Area weather at the time included extensive cloud cover from 700 AGL to FL240. The last communication with the crew was as they reported, "...out of FL240 for FL180".
The aircraft impacted a 20,000’ mountain at the 18,700’ level, 15 NM north of the La Paz airport. Minimum sector altitude was 21,300’. There were no survivors among the crew of seven. Two weeks before this accident, another C-141 flying the same route in VMC had taken evasive action to avoid the same mountain. Unfortunately, the crew had not reported the incident. Unforecast headwinds across the Andes have been the cause of several major aircraft accidents.
|Date||21 Mar 1975||Cause:||Conltrolled Flt into Terrain||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||62n MAW/KTCM||Location:||Mt Constance WA||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||64-0641||Fatalities:||10 Crew/6 Passengers||Fatigue?||Yes|
Synopsis: Returning to home station after a long overseas mission, the C-141 was cleared for an enroute descent. During the descent, the air traffic controller confused call signs with another aircraft and cleared the Starlifter for a descent below minimum vectoring altitude. The aircraft crashed into Mt. Constance, with the loss of 10 crew members and 6 passengers.
At 2300 local time, as they approached the coast of Washington State at FL370, in stormy weather, the crew had already had a long duty day. Flying from Clark with stops at Kadena, Yokota, and finally McChord, they had been up for more than 28 hours. The crew was tired and ready to be home. At 90 miles from McChord, they were given a descent clearance to 15,000’, and given a frequency change. On the new frequency, they were given a clearance to 10,000 feet. This Seattle Type Center controller was also controlling a Navy A-6 (Call sign "Navy V 28323") returning to NAS Whidbey. Still 60 miles from McChord, the C-141 reported level at 10,000. The controller directed "…maintain five thousand". The flight responded "Five Thousand. MAC 40641 is out of ten". A couple minutes later, the A-6 pilot requested further descent. The controller, confused why the Navy jet hadn’t yet descended, re-cleared him to 5000 feet. About that time, the controller at Seattle Approach Control noticed that he could not find the C-141 on his radar scope, so contacted the original controller at Seattle Center . Repeated radio calls failed to raise the Starlifter.
No one on the crew of three Pilots and three Navigators, including an Examiner Navigator had noticed the erroneous descent clearance below the sector altitude or the unusually early descent. The C-141 had impacted the near vertical northwest face of Mt. Name Constance , on the east slope of the Olympic Mountains , 150 feet from the top of the 7743’ peak. There were no survivors among the 10 crew members and 6 passengers.
|Date||28 Aug 1976||Cause:||Loss of Control||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||438 MAW/KWRI||Location:||Sondrestrom Greenland||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||67-0006||Fatalities:||7 Crew/16 Passengers||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: After completing a normal approach, the crew elected to go around after touchdown, due to a landing illusion. The aircraft lifted off in a nose high attitude, stalled, and crashed on the runway. There were 4 survivors out of 27 crew and passengers.
The incident crew had departed home station on the morning
of 27 August and arrived at Thule
AB six hours later.
They departed the next morning for the
two-hour flight to Sondrestrom AB.
To avoid refueling at Sondrestrom for the
return flight to Thule
then McGuire, they had boarded enough fuel for both legs.
The flight plan filed at The crew arrived at Sondrestrom in day VMC conditions, and
requested a PAR approach. They landed
slightly long. Witnesses testified that
the approach and landing appeared normal.
The aircraft rolled for 1500 to 2000 feet with no thrust reverser or
spoiler deployment. The aircraft then
rotated abruptly and lifted off the runway with a pitch attitude as high as 45
degrees. The engines were heard
accelerating to takeoff power. The
aircraft rolled right, then left. It
sank back to the runway. The left wing
struck the ground and burst into fire.
The aircraft became airborne again with portions of the left wing
missing. It flew for 650 feet before
striking the right wing and catching it on fire.
It then bounced once more and disintegrated
500 feet from runway centerline. Seven
crew members and 16 passengers were killed.
A navigator and 3 passengers survived. Investigators were puzzled why a plane would crash after a
normal landing. They determined that the
very inexperienced (Aircraft Commander with less than 100 hour in command)
aircrew had been affected by a landing illusion.
Sondrestrom AB runway 11 is 9235’ long.
The first 3000’ has an upslope of 1.51%; it
rises 59 feet from the threshold. At
touchdown, the last two-thirds of the runway disappears, giving the impression
of a very short runway The crew had landed long and hot with a tailwind of 5 to 10
Knots. The excessive fuel (approx.
100,000 lbs.) onboard had required an approach speed 30 knots higher than
normal. The pilots (both First
Lieutenants) had initiated a go-around.
For unknown reasons, they had over-rotated and let the pitch attitude
become excessive. The aircraft stalled,
crashed on the runway, and was destroyed.
The crew arrived at Sondrestrom in day VMC conditions, and requested a PAR approach. They landed slightly long. Witnesses testified that the approach and landing appeared normal. The aircraft rolled for 1500 to 2000 feet with no thrust reverser or spoiler deployment. The aircraft then rotated abruptly and lifted off the runway with a pitch attitude as high as 45 degrees. The engines were heard accelerating to takeoff power. The aircraft rolled right, then left. It sank back to the runway. The left wing struck the ground and burst into fire. The aircraft became airborne again with portions of the left wing missing. It flew for 650 feet before striking the right wing and catching it on fire. It then bounced once more and disintegrated 500 feet from runway centerline. Seven crew members and 16 passengers were killed. A navigator and 3 passengers survived.
Investigators were puzzled why a plane would crash after a normal landing. They determined that the very inexperienced (Aircraft Commander with less than 100 hour in command) aircrew had been affected by a landing illusion. Sondrestrom AB runway 11 is 9235’ long. The first 3000’ has an upslope of 1.51%; it rises 59 feet from the threshold. At touchdown, the last two-thirds of the runway disappears, giving the impression of a very short runway
The crew had landed long and hot with a tailwind of 5 to 10 Knots. The excessive fuel (approx. 100,000 lbs.) onboard had required an approach speed 30 knots higher than normal. The pilots (both First Lieutenants) had initiated a go-around. For unknown reasons, they had over-rotated and let the pitch attitude become excessive. The aircraft stalled, crashed on the runway, and was destroyed.
|Date||28 Aug 1976||Cause:||Thunderstorm Encounter||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||438 MAW/KWRI||Location:||Mildenhall AB England||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||67-0008||Fatalities:||14 Crew/4 Passengers||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: Approaching Mildenhall, after an Atlantic crossing with a known inoperative weather radar, the aircraft entered an area of thunderstorms and heavy rain. The aircraft encountered severe turbulence and broke up in-flight. There were no survivors of 18 onboard.
The crew was alerted from home station at 2100 hours local. The aircraft commander had spent a full duty day in the office, the day of the mission.
The aircraft’s previous crew had written up the APN-59 radar as "extremely weak and unusable", but on the ground it seemed to be working, so it was signed off as "Ops Check Okay". The maintenance crewman assigned to fix the radar, did not know that it had been written up eight times previously.
At McGuire Base Ops, the Mildenhall weather was forecast to be "3/8 at 2500 feet, 4/8 at 4000 feet". Shortly after takeoff, the crew noticed that the radar was inoperative. Since severe weather was not forecast, they elected to continue to Mildenhall. Two hours after takeoff, British forecasters issued a SIGMET for "Moderate to occasional severe clear air turbulence from FL240 to FL400". USAF Global Weather downgrades it to "Moderate". It doesn’t matter, the crew is never aware of the report. Four hours after takeoff the crew updates the weather forecast. They receive a weather forecast of "3/8 at 3000’, 4/8 at 4000 feet with an intermittent condition of wind 030/12 gusting 22, visibility five miles in thunderstorms, 2/8 at 2000’ 5/8 at 2500 feet". One hour from destination, the crew again tried to update the weather, but due to scheduled autovon maintenance at Mildenhall, the crew could not make contact. They attempted another station. This time the report was "4/8 Thunderstorms tops to FL260". During the enroute decent they entered the clouds. At FL 150, they requested vectors around the weather, from the air traffic controller. Because the primary radar was inoperative, the controller advised that he would have difficulty providing avoidance vectors. He reported, "I can’t see any way through it all". The crew replied, "…MAC is attempting to maintain VMC and to pick our way through…". That was the last transmission from the aircraft. Radar tracked the aircraft as it entered the leading edge of a very strong line of thunderstorm cells. A few moments later, at FL90 and 25NM northwest of RAF Mildenhall, the radar target disappeared. The aircraft was seen, by ground observers, falling from the clouds in pieces.
Investigation revealed no evidence of lightning strike or fatigue failure. The aircraft apparently encountered severe turbulence. Accident investigators estimated gust loads in excess of the design limit of any transport class aircraft. One estimate indicated they encountered a 100 mph downward vertical airshaft. The right wing had failed, followed quickly by the upper half of the vertical stabilizer, and the four engines. All 14 crew, including members of a deadheading Reserve crew, and 4 passengers were killed.
|Date||18 Sept 1979||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||437 MAW/KCHS||Location:||Charleston AFB SC||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Toward the end of a local training sortie, the crew noticed the lack of a "Brakes Released" light. They completed a normal landing. Due to an electrical malfunction of the Gear Handle, the nose gear collapsed. The aircraft came to stop 800’ from end of runway. The crew escaped without injury, but the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
After several touch and goes, the crew noticed that the “Brakes Released” light did not come on, after the gear was extended. The Dash 1, at the time, stated only that the crew should be careful when applying normal brakes. The crew flew a normal approach and landing. After touchdown, the spoilers opened only partly then closed. Only #4 Thrust Reverser would deploy. Normal brakes were inoperative. While the IP attempted to control the aircraft, he directed the copilot to select Emergency Brakes. The copilot selected Emergency Brakes, and then continued to make multiple attempts to deploy the spoilers, depleting #3 Hydraulic System pressure. With 4000 feet of runway remaining, the crew heard a loud bang. An electrical malfunction within the gear handle caused the nose gear to retract. The aircraft came to a stop 820 feet from the end of the runway and the crew evacuated. Fire consumed the aircraft.
The actual malfunction was a shot circuit within the Landing Gear Handle Relay. This caused the touchdown relay to stay in the Flight mode, and gave the nose gear an up signal. Emergency Brakes failed when #3 Hydraulic System lost pressure due to the copilots multiple spoiler attempts. The Thrust Reversers did not deploy because they were locked out by the Touchdown Relay, still in the Flight Mode. The deployment of the #4 Thrust Reverser was a malfunction, without which, however, the aircraft would likely have departed the end of the runway.
|Date||12 Nov 1980||Cause:||Loss of Control||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||62 MAW/KTCM||Location:||Cairo West AB Egypt||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||67-0030||Fatalities:||6 Crew/ 7 Pax||Fatigue?||Yes|
Synopsis: The incident aircraft was part of an ongoing international exercise. The crew attempted a night visual approach. During the turn to final, bank and rate of descent increased until impact. All 13 occupants were killed.
Cairo weather was reported as 20,000 foot broken and 5 miles visibility. The nearly new moon had set at 2044 local Cairo time. The desert terrain around the airfield is dark and devoid of ground lights.
Flying from Rhein-Main AB Germany, the crew was given an enroute descent and clearance for a visual approach, shortly before midnight local time. They attempted a visual straight-in, decided to go around, and then set up for a visual traffic pattern at 2000 feet. 30 seconds after starting the final turn, bank and rate of descent increased rapidly. The aircraft crashed seconds later, approximately 3 miles from the runway. Six crew members and 7 passengers were killed.
|Date||7 Mar 1982||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||N/A|
|Wing/Base:||438 MAW/ WRI||Location:||McEntire AAF SC||IMC/VMC||N/A|
Synopsis: During an informal aircraft tour, the crew started the APU. An APU accumulator failed, starting a fire that destroyed the aircraft. There were no injuries.
While in crew rest during a Red Flag redeployment mission, some crew members were taking friends to see their airplane. When they started the APU, an APU accumulator ruptured. The resulting fire destroyed the aircraft. Burning fuel spread across the ramp and into the ramp drainage system. The Pilot and Flight Engineer ran to a nearby C-141, threatened by the spreading fire. They started the engines and taxied the airplane to safety. There were no injuries.
|Date||31 Aug 1982||Cause:||CFIT||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||437 MAW/KCHS||Location:||Knoxville TN||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||64-0652||Fatalities:||9 Crew||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis:The extremely experienced crew elected to continue a low-level airdrop training mission in mountainous terrain, during marginal weather. The aircraft impacted a mountain with the loss of the entire crew.
The local SOLL 1 training mission departed Charleston shortly before 1300 hours. The crew was extremely experienced. The Aircraft Commander was recognized as the airdrop expert at Charleston and was well known within the C-141 community. The Copilot was a Flight Examiner.
The aircraft entered VR-92 at 1350 local time. Weather along the route was reported, by other aircraft as 4500 feet Overcast, tops to 8000 feet, with zero visibility below 4500 feet due to rain showers, ragged ceiling, multi-layered stratus and fog. Route weather was below MAC minimums.
Radar plots by Atlanta Center tracked the aircraft on the route.At 1427, the plots showed the aircraft in a progressive climb from 2500 feet. The aircraft impacted 4908 foot John’s Knob in the Tellico Wildlife Area, 118 feet short of the peak. At the time of impact the aircraft was in a slight climb of 4-5 degrees (approximately 2000 fpm). There were no survivors among the crew of nine.
Speculation was that the crew was attempting to use the recently installed Bendix color radar in the MAP mode, for terrain avoidance. The flight recorder and cockpit voice recorder were unrecoverable, due to impact force damage.
|Date||12 Jul 1984||Cause:||Multiple Engine Failure||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||315 MAW/CHS||Location:||NAS Sigonella Italy||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||64-0624||Fatalities:||8 Crew/1 Passenger||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: Shortly after takeoff from NAS Sigonella, the incident aircraft experienced a catastrophic multiple engine failure. Engine parts entered the cargo compartment and started a fire. Thick smoke hindered the crew’s ability to control the aircraft. It entered a steep bank and impacted the terrain. Eight crew members and one passenger were killed.
Immediately after takeoff, the aircraft’s #3 engine experienced an uncontained engine failure. Debris from #3 engine caused #4 engine to also fail. Engine parts entered the cargo compartment and started a fire in a pallet containing paint. The cargo fire produced thick poisonous smoke. Several crew members had difficulty donning their oxygen masks. Smoke made visual control of aircraft extremely difficult. The aircraft entered a steep bank and crashed within 198 seconds of takeoff. Eight crew members and one passenger were killed.
Post crash toxicology indicated the crew had received, potentially fatal levels of cyanide poisoning, from the smoke, prior to impact. Subsequent to this accident, smoke goggles were added to crew oxygen masks.
|Date||15 Oct 1986||Cause:||Taxi Accident||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||439 MAW/KSUU||Location:||Travis AFB CA||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis:Returning from short stateside mission at night, the crew was directed to park in an unusual parking location. While being marshaled into the parking spot, the left wing struck a high intensity light pole. A resulting fire destroyed the left wing. There were only minor injuries.
The Reserve crew was returning from a UTA "pickup" mission. While approaching Travis, they were advised that there had been a bomb threat at the passenger terminal. The crew was directed to park in a parking spot, which unknown to them was normally reserved for tow-in parking. The Aircraft Commander twice deplaned the scanner to complain about the marshaling procedure. Convinced by the lead marshaller that "we do it all the time", and with a wing walker on each wing, and a pilot in the left window, they followed the marshaller’s instructions. While starting a hard right turn the crew felt a bump. The left wing had struck a light pole, rupturing the #1 Main tank. Fuel ran down the light pole and into a high voltage junction box at the base of the pole, igniting a fire that spread back up the pole and onto the wing. The crew evacuated the passengers out the crew entrance door. The fire department was able to contain the fire to the left wing.
Investigation revealed that this parking spot was a "tow-in" only spot, as the pilot had told the marshaling team. They determined that the marshaller on the left wing was still giving a "come ahead" signal at the time of the impact. He was fixated on why the wing position light "blinked" (It had passed behind the light pole).
This accident happened after a string of MAC taxi accidents. CINCMAC had only months before issued a message threatening strong disciplinary action and that the next crew to have a taxi accident was "walking on thin ice".
In 1989, the right wing from this aircraft was removed to replace the right wing of aircraft 70029, which was damaged in a landing accident. The fuselage of aircraft 50246, minus wings, remained mothballed at Travis, but is unlikely to ever fly again. It is counted as a hull-loss for purposes of this briefing.
|Date||20 Feb 1989||Cause:||Controlled Flt into Terrain||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/KSBD||Location:||Hurlburt Airfield FL||IMC/VMC||IMC|
|Tail #:||66-0150||Fatalities:||7 Crew/1 Pax||Fatigue?||Yes|
Synopsis: Following a long duty day, and to avoid severe weather, the crew elected to complete a non-precision approach. Inside the Final Approach Fix (FAF) the aircraft developed a high rate of descent. Despite GPWS warnings, the aircraft impacted in a wings level, nose low attitude more than four miles from the runway.
The crew had flown a long duty day. They had departed Norton AFB in the morning, but a leaking comfort pallet required a diversion back to Norton. After maintenance repaired the leaking pallet, they departed Norton AFB for Peterson AFB Colorado, then Hurlburt Airfield Florida . As they approached their destination, shortly after 2000hrs, thunderstorms covered the approach path for the ILS approach to runway 36, the primary instrument runway. The crew requested the TACAN approach to runway 18. The approach course was over uninhabited swampy terrain, the classic "black hole" approach. After passing the FAF, the crew allowed the aircraft to enter a high rate of descent. The copilot reset two GPWS warnings. No verbal comments were made by any crew member about the high rate of descent or descending below the Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) of 345’ AGL.
At impact the aircraft parameters were reported as:
Pitch-12-13 degrees nose low
VVI: 3000-4000 fpm
|Date||1 Dec 1992||Cause:||Mid-Air Collision||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||62 AW/KTCM||Location:||Near Harlem Montana||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||66-0142 & 65-0255||Fatalities:||13 Crew||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: The aircraft were flying a night air refueling/airdrop training mission involving 4 C-141 aircraft. The lead C-141 completed refueling, and moved back to an unusually close post refueling position. The #2 aircraft completed refueling. During the rejoin, the #2 aircraft impacted the lead aircraft. Both aircraft broke up in-flight and crashed. Thirteen crew members on the two aircraft were killed.
The mission was scheduled as a 4-ship night air refueling/ airdrop training mission. Weather at the time of the incident was VMC but without a visible horizon. The tanker had just reached the end of the track and had completed a 180-degree turn with the lead C-141 in trail at FL255. Lead completed refueling and backed off into what was described as an "unusually close" post refueling position and descended to FL250. #2 aircraft completed refueling. During #2’s back away, the pilot used 30 degree of bank, creating a 22 degree heading change, and a relative closure rate of 250’/sec (150 NM/hr). He allowed the aircraft to descend below lead, recognized his altitude, and pulled up from directly below the lead aircraft. The impact broke both sets of wing boxes; the aircraft broke up and crashed, with the loss of all 13 crew members.
The lead aircraft received a SKE proximity warning less than
3 seconds before impact. The #2 aircraft
did not receive a proximity warning.
Both crews had lost sight of the other aircraft before the collision.
|Date||7 Oct 1993||Cause:||Maintenance Error||Condition D/N||n/a|
|Wing/Base:||60AW/SUU||Location:||Travis AFB CA||IMC/VMC||n/a|
Synopsis: During fuel tank maintenance, the maintenance crew used non-standard procedures. The right wing exploded, and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
|Date||23 Mar 1994||Cause:||Ground Accident||Condition D/N||n/a|
|Wing/Base:||438AW/ WRI||Location:||Pope AFB NC||IMC/VMC||n/a|
Synopsis: The aircraft was destroyed while parked on the ramp at Pope AFB. It was struck by wreckage of an F-16, following a mid-air collision with a C-130 on final approach. While no C-141 crew members were injured, 23 Army troops were killed and more than 80 were injured.
The incident Starlifter was one of two in the process of loading Army Paratroops for an exercise airdrop mission. A two-seat F-16D entering the traffic pattern collided with a C-130 at 300 feet on final for Runway 23. The C-130 continued and landed safely. The pilots of the critically damaged F-16 ejected successfully. The F-16 then crashed onto the taxiway and skidded into the loading C-141, puncturing the fuel tanks in the right wing and, starting a fire that engulfed the aircraft. The fire and exploding 20mm ammunition from the F-16 hampered rescuers. Of approximately 500 troops in the vicinity of the accident, 23 were killed and over 80 were injured.
|Date||13 Sep 1997||Cause:||Mid Air Collision||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||305 AW/ WRI||Location:||Near Namibia Africa||IMC/VMC||VMC|
|Tail #:||59405||Fatalities:||9 crew||Fatigue?||No|
Synopsis: The mission was returning from a UN support mission to Namibia . Shortly after level off, the aircraft collided with a German Air Force Tu-154. The nine crew members aboard the C-141 and 24 crew and passengers aboard the Tu-154 were killed.
The C-141 had flown from Ascension Island to deliver UN humanitarian supplies to Windhoek Namibia , in southwestern Africa . They were scheduled to return that evening.
The German Air Force Tu-154 had departed Cologne for Capetown South Africa, with stops in Niamey Niger and Windhoek Namibia . The Tu-154 crew had filed a flight plan, in Niamey , requesting an initial cruise altitude of FL350 with a subsequent enroute climb to FL390. They received a small reroute while transiting the airspace of Gabon . The crew never requested the enroute climb and remained at FL350 for the duration of the flight. Passing western Africa , the course of the Tu-154 changed from westerly to easterly, requiring a change in flight level to comply with international air traffic control procedures. Neither the Tu-154 aircrew nor African air traffic control agencies requested a change in altitude.
The C-141 crew departed on the return leg for Ascension Island at 1611 local time (1411 GMT). Shortly after level off, at FL350, the C-141 collided with the Tu-154, approximately 80NM off the coast of Namibia . Cockpit voice recordings, from the Tu-154, indicated that someone in the German airplane spotted the Starlifter just moments before the collision, but not in time to maneuver away. The Tu-154 struck the C-141 in the lower fuselage.
A French Air Force aircraft, in the vicinity, heard a single "mayday" distress call. A US reconnaissance satellite reported a bright flash at position 18.8 style='font-size:12.0pt;° South, 11.3 style='font-size:12.0pt;° East at 1510 GMT, approximately one hour after the C-141 departed.
At 1600 GMT (2 hours after the scheduled takeoff), when they did not receive a departure message for the C-141, ATC personnel at Ascension attempted to verify the aircraft’s departure. For the next 15 hours they made 50 phone calls attempting to contact Namibian authorities. At 1055 GMT, they finally notified AMC TACC that the aircraft was overdue. AMC declared the aircraft missing at 1100 GMT, nearly 20 hours after the collision.
The Namibian Air Traffic Control Agency reported that they were controlling the C-141. They also claimed that they had not received a flight plan for the German aircraft. They were unaware that it was in their airspace. The German aircraft had just entered the Namibian FIR but had not yet made radio contact with the Namibian ATC, at the time of the collision. Investigation revealed that the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN) was inoperative. Luanda ( Angola ) ATC had not contacted Windhoek , as required by ICAO procedures. The South Africa Air Line Pilots Association had labeled the Angolan airspace as "critically deficient". SAALPA had recorded 77 near-midair collisions over Africa , in 1996.
Reports indicate that at the time of the mishap weather conditions were VMC. The sun was low in the northwestern horizon (within 30 degrees of the horizon) and, within 30 degrees of the C-141 flight path, making visual clearing for traffic difficult. Local sunset occurred approximately one hour after the Starlifter’s departure from Windhoek . Neither the C-141 nor the TU-154 was equipped with TCAS (Traffic Collision Alert System). At a press conference on September 16, Brig. Gen. Duncan McNabb was questioned on why only VIP aircraft of the 89th AS were equipped with TCAS; he replied that Air Force pilots are trained "to always be looking outside". The Air Force subsequently equipped a small number of C-141s with TCAS.
|Date||22 Dec 2001||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||n/a|
|Wing/Base:||164 AW/TN ANG||Location:||Memphis Int’l Airport TN||IMC/VMC||n/a|
Synopsis: An incomplete maintenance procedure led to failure of the left wing structure during ground refueling. Two maintenance workers were injured.
While preparing for an Operation "Enduring Freedom" mission to Ramstein AB, Germany , maintenance personnel found a fuel leak in the aircraft’s left wing, near #2 engine pylon. A fuel cell maintenance specialist team was called and repaired the leak. On completion of the repair procedure, on of the technicians failed to remove the left wing fuel tank vent plug, as required by the T.O.
Later in the day, the aircraft was refueled prior to the Ramstein mission. During the refueling process, trapped fuel vapor overpressurized the fuel tanks, causing the failure of the wing structure, and > of the wing. There was no fire. Approximately 3300 gallons of fuel was spilled onto the ramp and drained into a nearby creek. Two maintenance workers were injured, one with a broken leg and the other with a strained shoulder.
The entire C-141 fleet was immediately grounded, pending investigation. The investigators noted that the unit was stretched thin due to a high operations tempo, with 4 of 5 assigned aircraft and the majority of the unit already deployed. They noted that two supervisors signed off on the repair without actually inspecting the work. The aircraft was declared a total loss and was dismantled.
Over the years, the C-141 fleet has experienced many mishaps that did not result in the destruction of the aircraft. Of these incidents, many are interesting from an accident prevention aspect. The following incidents were selected for their significance or interest.
|Date||1967||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||night|
|Wing/Base:||60 MAW/SUU||Location:||Wake Island||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: While climbing to cruise altitude the pressure door failed, causing an explosive depressurization. The severely damaged aircraft was recovered with only minor injuries.
The crew had departed Wake Island . Shortly after climbing through FL330, the crew heard a loud bang. They felt an immediate loss of pressurization with dense condensation fog and a rush of air. The pressure door had failed. Both petal doors had separated from the aircraft. A baggage pallet, aircraft equipment, and loose debris had been blown out the opening and had fallen into the ocean below.
The flight deck crew immediately began an emergency descent. They descended through 10,000 feet within four minutes, and then continued to 4,500 feet for a damage assessment. The loadmasters assisted passengers with oxygen. The crew dumped fuel to reduce landing weight. They then flew a straight-in ILS approach to a safe landing. Only one passenger failed to respond to oxygen, but he later recovered.
Investigators determined that a design deficiency existed in the ramp/pressure door latching mechanism. Only four of 13 hooks had connected the pressure door and ramp. These four hooks had failed under a pressure of several thousand pounds. This accident lead to several redesigns of the pressure door and door latching mechanisms, eventually leading to the present corrugated door design. The aircraft was flown back to Warner-Robbins AFB for repairs, minus the pressure and petal doors, at 200 knots.
|Date||????||Cause:||Attempted Hijacking||Condition D/N||n/a|
|Wing/Base:||62 MAW/ TCM||Location:||Bien Hoa AB RVN||IMC/VMC||n/a|
Synopsis: During an enroute stop, the aircraft was boarded by a hijacker, who took several crew members hostage. The hijacker shot the Loadmaster. In a subsequent struggle, the crew members overpowered the hijacker. Only the Loadmaster was injured.
The Starlifter was waiting for cargo during an enroute stop at Bien Hoa AB, RVN. The Aircraft Commander was at command post. The other six crew members were relaxing in the cargo compartment when a 20-year-old US Army Private entered through the open ramp, carrying an M-16. He ordered the crew into the cockpit and demanded that they fly him "somewhere". When the crew attempted to taxi, vehicles blocked their path. The hijacker ordered the Loadmaster into the cargo compartment, and then shot him three times. The crew advised authorities that the Loadmaster had been shot. The vehicles moved, and then again blocked the aircraft.
The crew was able to communicate over headsets without the knowledge of the hijacker. At a prearranged time, the Navigator grabbed the rifle barrel, as the Copilot and Flight Engineer lunged for the hijacker. In the struggle, 13 rounds were fired into the cockpit ceiling. The crew members were able to overpower and disarm the hijacker before turning him over to the Security Police. The Loadmaster survived, but was medically discharged. There were no other serious injuries.
There has been at least one additional hijacking attempt of a C-141, also during the war in Vietnam.
|Date||1976||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||day|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/SBD||Location:||Comox RCAFB Canada||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: The "A" model aircraft was in cruise when a couple jolts were felt. The pilot disconnected the autopilot and yaw damper. The aircraft entered a violent yaw and subsequent vertical dive. The pilot regained control and recovered the aircraft with only minor injuries to the crew.
While cruising at FL390, and without warning, the aircraft nose swung sharply to the right. The pilot disconnected the autopilot, and yaw damper. The Dutch Roll became worse. He started a descent and regained control at FL310. The #2 and #3 yaw damper rate gyros were replaced and the write-up was signed off.
The next day while returning to home base, cruising at FL410, the crew felt a couple small jolts. They disconnected the autopilot and waited. After a few moments when nothing more was felt, they reconnected the autopilot. Moments later the nose slammed violently to the right. The pilot disconnected the autopilot and yaw damper. He attempted to control the Dutch Roll with aileron. Within seconds the aircraft was partially inverted. The rolling and yawing continued as pitch reached 90 degrees nose down. Loose objects flew around the cockpit. The crew bunk mattress and the Navigator wound up lying across the instrument panel, hindering vision and control movements.
The pilot regained control and recovered from the high-speed dive at 17,000 feet. The crew performed a controllability check and recovered the aircraft to the nearest military base. Large pieces of the upper wing skin and pieces of both petal doors were missing. Flight recorder data indicated "G" loadings of +3.18 to -3.52 and a maximum of 450 KIAS. Investigators were unable to confirm the maximum Mach, but suspect that it exceeded Mach 1.0.
Accident investigators found that the aircraft had experienced seven yaw related flight control malfunctions, none given a red "X".A dual malfunction of the autopilot junction box and the yaw damper control panel caused intermittent spurious signals to the yaw damper, yet gave a satisfactory test indication.
|Date||15 Oct 1977||Cause:||Multiple Engine Failure||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/SBD||Location:||Richmond RAAFB Aust.||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Shortly after a heavyweight takeoff, #3 engine experienced an uncontained engine failure, causing #4 engine to fail, and starting a cargo fire. The crew was able to maintain control, clean up the aircraft and return to the airport on two engines. There were no injuries.
Passing 700’ during a heavyweight takeoff from Richmond RAAFB to Pago Pago, the #3 engine experienced an uncontained engine failure. Parts of #3 engine penetrated #4 engine, instantly causing it to also fail. Parts also penetrated the cargo compartment, starting a cargo fire within a pallet of household goods. The Aircraft Commander, in the right seat, took control of the aircraft as the aircraft started losing airspeed and altitude. Initially planning to crash land, the AC turned toward a nearby riverbed. With the two good engine throttles firewalled the aircraft continued to descend. #3 engine was dangling from the pylon and on fire. #4 engine was peppered with holes. The wing was leaking fuel.
The aircraft continued to descend into the riverbed. In a final effort to keep flying, while still expecting a crash landing, the pilot elected to slowly retract the flaps. As the flaps retracted the airspeed stabilized, then increased. The aircraft stopped descending well below airfield elevation, just above the riverbed. As they started a climb, the crew had lost sight of the airbase. They requested directions back to the airfield from tower, but were out of sight of the tower. An Australian C-130 in the traffic pattern gave them vectors to the runway.
In the cargo compartment, the loadmasters grabbed walk-around oxygen bottles and fire extinguishers. They fired the fire extinguishers into the pallet, while other crew members formed a fire brigade refilling oxygen bottles. Smoke filled the cargo compartment, reducing visibility to less than four feet. Smoke was filling the cockpit. The pilot attempted to open the ram air door, but it was stuck. He was about to open the pilot’s window, when the navigator reached up and opened the sextant port. This quickly and effectively rid the cockpit of smoke.
With the remaining two good engines operating at "Firewall Thrust", the pilots maintained control of the aircraft and set up for a visual straight-in. The aircraft landed trailing engine parts and fuel. The crew and passengers evacuated successfully. The local fire department extinguished the fire.
Until this accident, the technique of "milking up" the flaps on a multiple engine failure had never been taught, and was not an officially recognized procedure. The crew members each received the Air Medal.
|Date||1979||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/SBD||Location:||NAS China Lake CA||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: After landing, the failure of a brake system part caused a hydraulic leak and subsequent fire, made worse by an aircraft design deficiency.
The crew made an uneventful PAR approach to NAS China Lake, California . During landing rollout, the Engineer noticed the failure of #2 Hydraulic system. The crew brought the aircraft to a stop on the runway and selected "Emergency Brakes". With normal gear indications and pressure on #3 Hydraulic system, the crew decided to clear the runway before shutting down the engines. As they cleared the runway, #3 Hydraulic system failed. The pilot used reverse thrust to stop the aircraft. The scanner deplaned to pin the gear and was met by members of the base fire department, who told him the aircraft was on fire and to evacuate the aircraft. The crew quickly completed the "Fire on the Ground" emergency checklist and evacuated the plane without injury. The base fire department extinguished the fire, but not before it had caused substantial damage to the aircraft.
Because they had flown a PAR, the crew was still on approach control frequency and had not switched to tower frequency, before the loss of the #2 Hydraulic system. They did not hear the urgent warnings from the tower on "Guard", because neither pilot was monitoring the frequency. The Engineer, who was monitoring Guard, was distracted by the emergency, and also failed to hear the tower’s warnings.
Investigators found that a brake swivel, on the right landing gear, had separated, spraying #2 Hydraulic system fluid on the brake and starting a fire. As designed, the fluid stopped automatically when the hydraulic fuse set after 20 cubic inches (approximately 11 fl. oz.) of fluid had sprayed out of the swivel. Under the brake system design at the time, the Emergency Brake system was not fuse protected. While the fire would have gone out almost immediately, after the #2 Hydraulic system fuse set, the selecting of "Emergency Brakes" dumped the full pressurized fluid of #3 Hydraulic System on to the fire, greatly intensifying it.
As a result of this incident the brake design was modified to fuse protect both Normal and Emergency brake systems (see illustration)
|Date||1982||Cause:||crew error||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/SBD||Location:||Vance AFB OK||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: The aircraft suffered a gear malfunction that made it impossible to retract the right main gear. The crew worked a plan for a long-range overwater recovery and safe landing in New Zealand There were no injuries.
Flying a round trip mission to McMurdo Station from Christchurch New Zealand, the C-141 had experienced a rougher than normal rollout after landing on the ice runway. Two hours later, they prepared for departure. After takeoff, but before retracting the landing gear, the copilot noticed an unsafe right main gear indication. A scan of the gear showed that the right main gear strut assembly had failed. The right main gear strut had separated from the cylinder and remained attached to the aircraft only by the scissors. Unable to retract the landing gear, and faced with a likely crash-landing in Antarctica, the crew started a climb toward New Zealand , and using a "Conference Skyhook" consulted with Lockheed experts. After initially climbing to FL200 at 235 Knots, they quickly realized that their fuel consumption was still too high. At the suggestion of the Lockheed experts, they eventually retracted the nose and left main landing gears. After some experimentation, the pilot found that the aircraft began to buffet above .62 Mach. He continued the climb, eventually reaching FL350. The improved fuel flow not only assured landfall in southern New Zealand , but also would allow for recovery to Christchurch .
After further consultation, the experts recommended an all landing gear down landing. The crew began the descent with only enough fuel for one approach. As the aircraft settled on the right landing gear, the boogie separated from the aircraft. The copilot used the fire handles to shutdown the outboard engines. The aircraft came to a stop with 4000 feet of runway remaining. The passengers and crew evacuated without injury.
|Date||1981||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||438 MAW/ WRI||Location:||Lajes AB Azores||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Departing Lajes AB , the aircraft suffered a major malfunction to the left main landing gear. After dumping fuel and jettisoning cargo, the crew made a successful landing, with only minor damage to the aircraft. The crew and passengers evacuated with no injuries.
Taking off from Lajes AB, Azores , the left main gear inner strut separated from the outer strut and hung from the aircraft by only the scissors. The Copilot initially failed to notice an unsafe boogie indication and retracted the landing gear. When the red light in landing gear handle stayed on, a scan of the gear confirmed the seriousness of the malfunction. The Aircraft Commander initiated a Conference Skyhook. With 45,000 pounds of cargo, the approach speed would be too high for a safe landing. Fuel was insufficient for a recovery at a more favorable base. After consultation, the crew jettisoned the ten pallets of cargo, including one two-pallet train, then jettisoned fuel down to 15,000 lbs. It was the first time that palletized cargo had been jettisoned from a C-141 during an emergency.
The crew prepared for the landing by securing loose equipment and ensuring the passengers were belted. They opened the side escape hatches and pressure door. A straight-in approach was made. As the wheels touched down, the left boogie broke away. The aircraft settled on the runway. It came to rest on the centerline with 4500 feet of runway remaining. The crew and 24 passengers evacuated without injury.
There have been at least two more landing gear separation incidents. One incident occurred at McGuire AFB in 1983, and another happened during a mission from Howard AFB to Warner-Robbins AFB in the late 1980’s.
|Date||1982||Cause:||crew error||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||63 MAW/SBD||Location:||Vance AFB OK||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: The highly experienced crew was returning to base from a stateside airdrop mission. During some horseplay, cigar ash was introduced into a crew oxygen hose. The resulting oxygen-fed fire ignited floor coverings and filled the cockpit with dense sooty smoke. After some difficulties, the crew was able to recover the aircraft with only minor injuries.
Returning from Pope to Norton after an airdrop mission, the pilot in the left seat decided to light a cigar. The pilot, in the jumpseat, complained and donned his oxygen mask. In response, the left seater covertly disconnected the jumpseater’s mask from the oxygen regulator hose, with the intent of putting smoke into the hose. Accidentally, lit cigar ash entered the oxygen regulator hose, before the hose was reconnected. The jumpseater smelled the smoke and selected "Emergency" on the oxygen regulator. When that didn’t help, he removed the mask to clear the smoke. When he disconnected the mask from the regulator hose, a "2-foot" sheet of fire leapt from the hose. It ignited an oxygen-fed fire that spread to the flooring. To put out the fire, the left seat pilot shut off the crew oxygen system. At about the same time, the engineer while switching to "MAX" airflow, inadvertently hit the bleed duct overheat test switch, shutting off the engine bleed valves and disabling the air-conditioning packs. The crew started a descent but soon became hypoxic. The crew oxygen system was again turned on. The fire reignited with a fireball large enough to melt components on the Flight Engineer’s panel. The crew eventually extinguished the fire, reset the bleed valves, and recovered to the nearest military base. Members of the crew suffered only minor injuries (but major embarrassment).
|Date||????||Cause:||Gear Up Landing||Condition D/N||Night|
|Wing/Base:||443rd MAW/ALTUS||Location:||Amarillo Int’l Airport TX||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Distractions, during a practice "Approach Flap" landing, led the crew to land with the landing gear retracted.
The highly experienced crew of an Instructor Pilot, an upgrading Instructor Pilot, and two Engineers had planned an Instructor Upgrade training mission from Altus AFB, Oklahoma to Amarillo Int’l Airport, Texas . Maintenance problems prior to takeoff delayed the mission departure, and necessitated the latter portion of the mission to be flown after nightfall. Near the end of the training mission, with the Upgrading Instructor instructing from the left seat, he briefed an Approach Flap touch-and-go followed by a departure back to Altus for a No-Flap full stop landing.
Turning on to final the crew lowered the flaps to "Approach", but an extraneous radio call from tower broke the crew’s concentration and habit pattern. The upgrading Instructor failed to direct landing gear extension and accomplishment of the "Before Landing Checklist". Still distracted, none of the other crew members noticed the omission. Because of this omission, the "Landing Gear Warning Horn Cutout Switch" was not returned to the "Normal " position. If a normal approach had been planned using "Landing Flaps", the Landing Gear Warning Horn would have warned the crew of the retracted landing gear. This warning system was not available with Approach Flaps selected.
With no warning of retracted landing gear available, the crew completed a normal approach and flare. The aircraft settled smoothly on its belly. The crew was initially unaware anything unusual had happened, until notified by the tower that they were trailing a large number of sparks. The aircraft came to a controlled stop and the crew evacuated successfully. Aircraft damage was limited to a 6"-8" strip along the belly and damage to the drain masts below #1 and #4 engines. The aircraft was repaired and returned to service.
This incident was one of several MAC gear-up incidents occurring within several months, and only shortly after Approach Flap landings were approved for use by C-141 flight crews. The installation of GPWS has reduced the possibility of similar accidents. The GPWS Mode 4 provides a retracted landing gear warning to the crew, as they pass 500 feet on the radar altimeter
|Date||12 Jan 1987||Cause:||Runway Excursion||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||63rd MAW/SBD||Location:||Iwakuni AB Japan||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: The crew of a diverting C-141 attempted a landing at Iwakuni AB in high crosswinds and blowing snow. Due to improper technique, the pilot lost control of the aircraft after touchdown. The aircraft departed the runway, experiencing heavy damage. The crew and passengers evacuated safely.
The mishap mission had started at Iwakuni AB Japan . The crew had departed for a mission to Kadena AB, Okinawa . Nearing Kadena, the winds are reported out of limits for landing. The crew decided to divert back to their alternate of Iwakuni. The weather at Iwakuni had deteriorated; reported weather included high crosswinds and heavy blowing snow. The pilot elected to use "Approach Flaps" for the landing due to the turbulence and crosswinds.
After touchdown the pilot forcefully held forward yoke pressure, to maintain control of the aircraft in the crosswinds. The Thrust Reversers and Spoilers failed to deploy. The pilot attempted to use the brakes, with no effect. The forward yoke forces had lifted the main gear off the runway. The touchdown relay inhibited the Thrust Reversers and Spoilers from deploying beyond the flight limit. The brakes also were useless until the main gear finally contacted the runway. Believing he had lost Normal Brakes, the pilot directed the copilot to select Emergency Brakes, disabling anti-skid protection.
When the main landing gear finally contacted the runway, the thrust reversers, spoilers and brakes all acted at once. The pilot lost control of the aircraft on the snow slickened runway and the aircraft departed the runway. The landing gear and the right wing suffered severe damage and the #4 engine separated from the wing. The crew and passengers evacuated successfully.
Two years later, in 1989, the undamaged right wing from the aircraft damaged at Travis in October 1986, was removed and replaced the wing damaged in this accident. This aircraft was returned to flight status.
|Date||21 Jan 1994||Cause:||Hostile Fire||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||62nd MAW/McChord||Location:||Sarajevo Bosnia||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: The C-141 came within seconds of being shot down by anti-aircraft missiles, following a mix-up with diplomatic clearances and misidentification as hostile by foreign military authorities. The attack was called off at the last second when airborne foreign fighter aircraft spotted the US flag on the tail of the C-141. There were no injuries.
The Norton AFB based crew had departed on a multi-stop "embassy-run" mission to Africa . Prior to departing Charleston , the crew had sought a full mission brief from Charleston MAC Command Post. They were handed a photocopy of the world atlas map of Africa and the Command Post Officer offered the observation, "Dakar is a great crew rest". The mission itinerary was: Charleston-Bermuda-Dakar, Senegal-Robert’s Field, Liberia-Kinshasa, Zaire-Niamey Niger-Kinshasa-Bermuda-Charleston.
At Dakar, no flight plan was available for the Kinshasa-Niamey leg. The crew was provided diplomatic clearances for Zaire , Central African Republic , and Chad , but not for the destination country of Niger . Prior to takeoff from Kinshasa, the crew unsuccessfully attempted to contact MAC command and control for the Niger diplomatic clearance, using both phone and HF radio. They elected to depart Kinshasa on schedule, planning to get the dip clearance enroute, and if necessary hold outside Niger airspace, until they received clearance. Enroute, they continued to attempt HF radio contact with any Global HF radio station, to no avail. They maintained normal VHF ATC communications.
The standard routing to Niamey is north from Kinshasa through the Central African Republic , crossing southwestern Chad and into Niger. Shortly after passing the Naimey VOR, the copilot noticed a couple of French Air Force Mirage F-1 fighters maneuvering several hundred yards behind the C-141. At about that time, on Guard frequency, they heard, "Aircraft over Naimey identify yourself. Divert to Naimey". The crew acknowledged with a wing rock. With the Mirages following, they landed at Naimey Int’l Airport. Armed soldiers instantly surrounded the aircraft.
While generally aware of hostilities between Libya and Chad, the crew was unaware of the recent fighting in southern Chad. Only two days before, one of two Libyan Tu-22 bombers had been shot down during an attack on Naimey, the capital of Chad. The French government had come to the aid of Chad in February 1986, and had established anti-aircraft defenses around the capital, using US made Hawk missiles. French Military Intelligence believed the Libyans would again attack, this time using an Il-76 (similar in size and shape to the C-141), possibly with chemical weapons and coming from the south. When the French manned air defenses saw an unknown aircraft coming from the south, the French Commander ordered the missiles to fire. While the missiles were in a several minute long prelaunch sequence, some French F-1’s, who happened to be in the vicinity, flew by for a final visual confirmation. It was only when the Mirage pilot noticed the American flag on the tail of the green camouflaged C-141 that the attack was called off and communication attempted, approximately 5 seconds from missile launch.
Investigation revealed that the diplomatic clearances provided to the crew were over two years old. USAF Intelligence had not be monitoring the war between Chad and Libya and believed that the fighting was only in northern Chad . 21st Air Force Flight Planners had provided incorrect flight plans for the mission. The use of Mode 4 or other authentication documents was not a factor in the incident, as the French and Chad military would not have had the proper codes, with which to authenticate the US aircraft. The crew was released, after interrogation by French military and US embassy personnel, and continued the mission to Niger (this time with a correct diplomatic clearance). While no known connection exists, the governments of Chad and Libya signed a cease-fire agreement the next day, September 11th.
|Date||??||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||night|
|Wing/Base:||446th MAW/KTCM||Location:||Goose Bay IAP, Newfoundland||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Soon after takeoff, the aircraft began an uncommanded pitch-up due to a jammed stabilizer. Skillful airmanship enabled the Aircraft Commander to land the aircraft. There were no injuries.
The crew was flying an early Desert Storm mission from El Toro MCAS, California to Europe, with a refueling stop at Goose Bay Newfoundland, Canada . A few minutes after departure from Goose Bay the aircraft pitched up. At first, the crew assumed a runaway pitch trim failure. They accomplished Dash-1 procedures up to but not including depressurizing of #2 Hydraulic System, but with no effect. Unknown to the crew, the stabilizer had jammed in a full nose-up position. Unable to overcome the stabilizer’s input, even with full nose-down elevator, the Aircraft Commander attempted to bring the nose down and maintain airspeed by rolling the aircraft into a turn. Utilizing bank to control pitch attitude, he initiated a series of descending turns, while maneuvering the aircraft back to Name Goose Bay. Nearing the runway, he successfully completed a firm but controlled landing, with no injuries and no additional damage to the aircraft.
Maintenance found extensive mechanical damage to the stabilizer mechanism in the upper T-tail.
|Date||21 Jul 1994||Cause:||Hostile Fire||Condition D/N||Day|
|Wing/Base:||62nd MAW/McChord||Location:||Sarajevo Bosnia||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: During a UN support mission into Sarajevo , the aircraft received damage from small arms fire while on final approach for landing. They completed the landing, accomplished a quick damage assessment, and departed. During departure, they received more hostile fire. The crew was able to nurse the crippled aircraft back to Germany , without injury.
The aircraft was supporting UN relief operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At 200 feet, on final to the short runway, at Sarajevo , the Loadmaster reported seeing small-arms fire from the north. Seconds later, the ground fire began to concentrate on the aircraft, and the Loadmaster could feel the aircraft being hit. Uncertain of the aircraft’s condition, the Pilot continued to land.
During the rollout, the crew accomplished a quick battle damage assessment. With the airport still under attack, and no significant damage, the crew advised tower of their intent to make an immediate takeoff. The crew turned the aircraft around on the runway. Climbing at the optimum angle, the pilot attempted to maneuver away from the ground fire to the north. At 1000 feet, the Loadmaster again reported ground fire, this time from the south. The Engineer reported the loss of #2 Hydraulic System. The Scanner discovered fuel streaming from the Left Aux. and Extended Range fuel tanks. Accomplishing the emergency checklists, and maneuvering away from the threat, the crew accomplished another battle damage assessment. With loss of #2 Hydraulic System, and resulting loss of normal gear extension capability, loss of antiskid brakes, and damage to the pressurization system, the crew decided to return to Rhein-Main AB, in Germany. They completed the emergency checklists and began a climb to FL240 to avoid thunderstorms.
Approaching Rhein-Main, the crew manually lowered the gear and flew an autopilot-coupled approach. They completed the landing, with fuel still pouring from the wings. Maintenance crews discovered 16 entrance and 6 exit bullet holes. This incident is the most serious case of hostile fire damage to a C-141 aircraft in over thirty years of operations.
|Date||4 Oct 1995||Cause:||Mechanical Failure||Condition D/N||night|
|Wing/Base:||446 MAW/TCM||Location:||Thessoloniki Greece||IMC/VMC||VMC|
Synopsis: Soon after level-off on a UN relief mission, the aircraft started experiencing multiple systems failures. The crew identified a fire within the #4 engine pylon. When shutting down the engine failed to put out the fire, they began a high-speed emergency descent and visual approach. The crew evacuated safely.
The mission was scheduled as a UN relief mission to Zagreb, Yugoslavia from Skopje Macedonia . Soon after takeoff, the jumpseat pilot thought he smelled smoke, but the odor soon went away. Passing 17,000 feet, the Engineer noticed a differential fault in the #4 generator; it was disconnected. Passing FL230, #1 hydraulic system failed. Moments later, they had indications of a right bleed duct overheat. Scanning the wing, the jumpseater thought he saw a light coming from a hole in the pylon of #4 engine. When the throttles were retarded, the light went out momentarily, and then came back. The #4 engine was immediately shutdown with the fire handle. The light in the pylon flickered, and then came back again.
The crew requested an emergency descent and vectors to the nearest airport, from Athens Control. They were advised that they were almost directly above Thessoloniki airport. The pilot began a high-speed descent, descending to 3000 feet in 90 seconds and reaching a VVI of over 18,000 fpm. As they rolled out for the visual approach, they had a hard time locating the airport among the city lights. Still at over 460 Knots airspeed, they acquired the runway at 3 miles. The aircraft was configured and landed at Thessoloniki, only four minutes after the original distress radio call. The nine Reserve crew members and 16 passengers evacuated safely.
|Date||A/C#||Base||Fatalities||A/C Destroyed||Where||Major Cause||Night/Day||VMC/IMC||Fatigue?|
|7 Sept 1966||65-0281||62nd MAW/KTCM||yes||yes||McChord AFB||Error during fuel tank maintenance||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|23 Mar 1967||65-9407||62nd MAW/KTCM||5 Crew (1 Load. Survived)||yes||Da Nang AB RVN||Runway incursion||night||imc||no|
|12 Apr 1967||60127||62 MAW/ TCM||7 crew (1 Pilot &1 Load surv.)||Yes||Cam Rahn Bay AB RVN||Checklist deviation||Night||VMC||No|
|28 Aug 1973||38077||438 MAW/ WRI||7 crew/17 pax (1 Nav. surv.)||Yes||Torrejon AB Spain||CFIT||Night||VMC||Yes|
|18 Aug 1974||50274||437 MAW/ CHS||7 crew||Yes||La Paz Bolivia||CFIT||Day||IMC||Yes|
|21 Mar 1975||40641||62 MAW/ TCM||10 crew/6 pax||Yes||Mt. Constance WA||CFIT||Night||IMC||Yes|
|28 Aug 1976||70006||438 MAW/ WRI||7 crew/16 pax (4 pax survived)||Yes||Sondrestorm Greenland||Loss of control while landing||Day||VMC||No|
|28 Aug 1976||70008||438 MAW/ WRI||14 crew/4 pax||Yes||RAF Mildenhall England||Weather||Day||IMC||No|
|18 Sept 1979||40647||437 MAW/ CHS||None||Yes||Charleston AFB SC||Mechanical failure of landing gear||Night||VMC||No|
|12 Nov 1980||70030||62 MAW/ TCM||6 crew/ 7 pax||Yes||Cairo West AB,Egypt||Disorientation||Night||VMC||Yes|
|7 Mar 1982||70017||438 MAW/ WRI||None||Yes||McEntire AAF SC||Mechanical failure of hydraulic accumulator||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|31 Aug 1982||40652||437 MAW/ CHS||9 crew||Yes||Near Knoxville Tennessee||CFIT||Day||IMC||No|
|12 Jul 1984||40624||315 MAW/ CHS||8 crew/ 1 pax||Yes||Sigonella Italy||Multiple engine failure||Day||VMC||No|
|15 Oct 1986||50246||439 MAW/ SUU||None||Partially Salvaged||Travis AFB CA||Taxi accident||Night||VMC||No|
|20 Feb 1989||60150||63 MAW/ SBD||7 crew/ 1 pax||Yes||Hurlburt AB Florida||CFIT||Night||IMC||Yes|
|1 Dec 1992||60142 & 50255||62 AW/ TCM||13 crew||Yes (2 a/c)||Near Harlem Montana||Mid-air collision||Night||VMC||No|
|7 Oct 1993||50253||60 AW/ SUU||None||Yes||Travis AFB CA||Maintenance error during fuel tank maintenance||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|23 Mar 1994||60173||305 AW/ WRI||Crew None/23 Soldiers Killed Yes||Pope AFB NC||Destroyed on ground||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|13 Sept 1997||59405||305 AW/ WRI||9 crew||Yes||Near Namibia Africa||Mid-air collision||Day||VMC||No|
|22 Dec 2001||?||164AW/ TN ANG||None||Yes||Memphis IAP TN||Maintenance Error||N/A||N/A||Yes|
|Date||A/C#||Base||Fatalities||A/C Destroyed||Where||Major Cause||Night/Day||VMC/IMC||Fatigue?|
|1967||50230||60 MAW/ SUU||None||Repaired||Wake Island||Mechanical failure of pressure door||Night||VMC||No|
|11 Aug 1970||60192||62 MAW/ TCM||None||Repaired||Bien Hoa AB RVN||Attempted Hijacking||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1976||?||63 MAW/ SBD||None||Repaired||Comox RCAFB Canada||Mechanical failure||Day||VMC||No|
|15 Oct 1977||40614||63 MAW/ SBD||None||Repaired||Richmond RAAFB Australia.||Multiple engine failure||Day||VMC||No|
|1979||?||63 MAW/ SBD||None||Repaired||NAS China Lake CA||Mechanical failure of brake system||Day||VMC||No|
|29 Oct 1979||50249||349 MAW/ SUU||None||Repaired||McMurdo Antarctica||Mechanical failure of landing gear||Day||VMC||No|
|1981||60157||438 MAW/ WRI||None||Repaired||Lajes AB Azores||Mechanical failure of landing gear Day||Day||VMC||No|
|1982||?||63 MAW/ SBD||None||Repaired||Vance AFB OK||Crew error||Day||VMC||No|
|3 Jan 1983||50280||443 MAW/ LTS||None||Repaired||Amarillo Int’l Airport TX||Gear up landing||Night||VMC||No|
|12 Jan 1987||70029||63 MAW/ SBD||None||Salvaged||Iwakuni AB Japan||Runway excursion||Day||IMC||Yes|
|10 Sept 1987||40638||63 MAW/ SBD||None||No Damage||N’Djamena, Chad||Hostile interception||Day||VMC||No|
|18 Aug 1990||60158||446 MAW/ TCM||None||Repaired||Goose Bay Nfld Canada||Mechanical Failure||Night||VMC||No|
|21 July 94||?||62AW/ TCM||None||Repaired||Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina||Hostile fire||Day||VMC||No|
|4 Oct 1995||?||446 MAW/ TCM||None||Repaired||Thessoloniki Greece||Hydraulic system fire||Night||VMC||No|
Analysis of the C-141 hull-loss mishaps provides useful insight into the operational hazards that have lead to the destruction of the aircraft.
Also significant to the Starlifter mishap experience, are events that have not occurred:
|Year||CLASS A||CLASS B||CLASS C (Note 1)||HAP||Destroyed|
|Note 1: Data for Class C Mishaps and High Accident Potential Incidents (HAP) not available prior to 1978 or after 1999.|
|Note 2: This is the official tabulation. For statistical analysis purposes, the AFI 91-204 counts only those aircraft destroyed in operational mishaps. Not included in this official data are the following mishaps: McChord (1966), McEntire (1982), Travis (1986), Pope (1994) and Memphis (2001).|
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Originally developed as a flight safety initiative of the 728th Airlift Squadron, the purpose of this briefing has been to provide historical mishap information for the C-141 crewmember. Understanding an aircraft’s mishap history is critical to operational hazard awareness, and future flight safety. The best preventative of future mishaps is to understand the mishaps that have occurred, and awareness of the associated hazards.
The C-141 has an exemplary safety record. The fleet has logged more than 10 million flight hours. It has operated in every military operation since 1963, including Vietnam , Lebanon , Desert Storm, Panama , Grenada , and Haiti , as well as several lesser operations. It is regularly employed in combat support and humanitarian relief missions.
Twenty-one C-141 airframes have been lost in the over thirty years of operational service. Analysis of the C-141 hull-loss mishaps indicates that the most serious threat to the aircraft has been Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). Mission mishap factors can also affect flight safety, including IMC, night operations, and crew fatigue.
In operational service, the aircraft has experienced a multitude of mishaps short of aircraft hull-loss. When a mechanical failure has occurred, the professionalism and training of the aircrew has been the critical factor in the safe recovery of the aircraft. It is the resourcefulness and skill of the crew that has made the difference between a major accident and a minor incident.
The mishap hazards experienced by the C-141 have not changed significantly during the career of the aircraft. Neither are the majority of hazards unique to the C-141. The mishap experience of the Starlifter closely parallels the experience of other similar aircraft, both military and civilian. Knowledge of these hazards will improve the crewmember awareness and ability to successfully deal with them. It is to that end this briefing was developed.
Author’s Note: The above accidents and incidents have been extensively researched using public documents and personal accounts. Unfortunately Air Force Safety Office policy excluded the use of the official accident reports from this briefing. Hence factual errors may exist in the accident narratives. The author has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy of this briefing. In many cases, however, details are hazy or lost to time. The author is interested in any published information or first-hand information that readers could provide about these or of other incidents that might deserve inclusion in this briefing.
The following aircrew and maintenance personnel lost their lives in C-141 Hull-Loss mishaps. This is not an official list. Data was compiled from published public sources.
Arensman, Harold D
Arnold, Peter J
Babcock, Edward P
Bass, Charlie J
Bialke, Glenn F
Blackley, John H
Brenn, Harry M
Brissette, Leslie C
Brown III, Wilbert
Brown, Marshall E
Bryant, Stacy D
Bums, Ralph W
Burkhart, Kenneth M
Burroughs, Paul N
Bynum, Alanson G
Campton, James R
Canter, Billy J
Chambers, Mark J
Church, Carl H
Cindrich, Gregory M
Cleven, Richard M
Corbin, Clinton C
Craig, Scott D
Dasenbrock, John H
Dempsey, Harry R
Dietz, Thomas R
Down, Robert E
Drager, Justin R
Eigenrauch, Robert A
Evans, Earl R
Evans, Robert K
Eve, Frank N
Gaskin, Robert D
Gentry, Ralph R
Gist, Allan W
Gorin, Joseph M
Grapperhus, Stephen A
Grubbs, Ronald D
Haberbush, Glenn K
Hale, Harold L
Harer, David L
Hillsman, Sidney N
Hirschi, Bradford B
Hodge, Michael K
Homer, Leroy - Former McGuire C-141 pilot, was FIRST OFFICER on Flight 93, 9/11/2001
Hoye, Lonnie G
Hoyle 3rd, Edward
Huggins, Wayne R
Jenkins, Jimmy L
Johnson, Dale C
Kerr, Norman T
Kightlinger, James M
Kohler, Karl M
Kuechman, Thomas H
Kuhn, William A
Lake, Dale W
Lamers, Friedrich H
Lee, Stanley Y
Leonard, Leroy R
Lynch, David A
Mahy, Harold E
Martin, William G
McGany, Robert J
McNally, John R
McNeilly, Elmer A
Meeks, Robert M
Miller, Herman E
Moorefield Jr, CT
Nicholson, Monty G W
Norman, James L
Parent Jr, Edward
Payne, Edwin C
Payne, Gary T
Perez, Carlos M
Quinn, Patrick F
Ramsey, Jason S
Remerscheid, John W
Roberts, Scott N
Shults, Roy E
Simpson, James E
Solomon, Michael N
Starkel, Max P
Sullivan, Leo D
Sweatman, Jack C
Thornton, Richard B
Vallejo, Peter C
Vargas, Gaston J
Walker, Franklin L
Welch, Patrick A
Wells, Donald R
Williams, Glenn R
Wilson, Alan L
Wilson, Jeffrey T
Witt, Morris B
Wright, Robert E
Young, John F
"Flying the Heavies", Flying Safety Magazine, Dec. 1994, p. 7
AFI 91-204, Safety Investigations and Reports, 29 November 1999, pp. 28-38, 42-46, 87-88
"More Mods for the Starlifter", The MAC Flyer, May 1983, pp. 20-23
United States Military Aircraft, Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough, Peter Bowers, 1989, pp. 399-400
"F-16 Year in Review", Flying Safety Magazine, Jan. 1995, p. 16
"Providing America’s Global Reach", Flying Safety Magazine, Feb./Mar. 1996, pp. 7-10
"2 Killed, 4 hurt as McChord Starlifter Explodes, Burns", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Sept. 7, 1966, pp. A1-2
"Fire Victims Identified By Air Force", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Sept. 8, 1966, pp. A-12
Cover The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1967,
"1966 Accident Review", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1967, pp. 12-13
Photo Credit: USAF Photo
"5 Tacomans on C-141 Die in VN Collision, Fire", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Mar. 23, 1967, pp. A1-2
"McChord Plane Destroyed", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Mar. 23, 1967, p. A1
"The 1967 Aircraft Accident Review", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1968, p. 5
Da Nang Vietnam, 11-1, Jeppesen Sanderson Inc, 4 Jul. 1997
Photo Credit: Unknown
"7 Missing in VN Crash of Starlifter", News Tribune, Tacoma Apr. 13, 1967, p. A-1
"Bodies of 3 More C-141 Victims Found", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Apr. 15, 1967, p.A-2
"The 1967 Aircraft Accident Review", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1868, p. 6
T.O. 1C-141A, p. 1-108
"24 Listed Killed on Air Force Jet", Asbury Park Evening Press, Asbury Park NJ , 8 Aug. 29, 1973
"Solo Un Superviviente", Arriba, Madrid Spain, Aug. 30, 1973, pp. 1-2
"La noche de los 24 muertos", La City Actuslidad, Madrid Spain AUG 30, 1973, pp. 2-3
Cover, McGuire AirTides, Aug. 31 1973
"Air Force Probes C-141 Tragedy", The Leader, Sept. 6, 1973, p. 13
"Accident Rates for 1973", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1974, p. 11
"The Final Error", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1974, pp. 16-18
"Conspiracy for Disaster", The MAC Flyer, June 1976, pp. 9-11
"Communication-Your Life May Depend on It" The MAC Flyer
"Military Aviation Disasters", Gero, David, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 113-4
437 MAW History, Chap. 6, 1974, pp. 59-62
"The Secret of Cordillera Real ", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1975, pp. 18-20
"McChord plane, 16 aboard, crashes", The Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Mar. 21, 75, p. A1
"Air-Control mistake sent 16 to icy death", News Tribune , Tacoma WA , Mar. 24, 75, p. A1
"C-141 crash left seven widows", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Mar. 24, 75, p. A1
"Wrong Orders may have Doomed Jet", The Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Mar. 24, 75, p. A1
"Fatal Message: ’ Maintain 5,000’", The Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Mar. 25, 75, p. A4
"Out of Ten for Five", The MAC Flyer, Aug. 75, pp. 8-9
"Risk Awareness or Blind Faith", The MAC Flyer, Nov. 79, pp. 18-21
"Let’s Hear it for the Heavies", Flying Safety Magazine, Nov. 83, p. 10
"Mountain ministry honors fallen airmen, sailors", Northwest Airlifter, McChord AFB WA, 6/10/2000, p.11
"Military Aviation Disasters", Gero, David, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 116
Map Credit: The Seattle Times
"Officials Rule Out Sabotage In Two Fatal Air Disasters", New York Daily News, New York , Aug. 29, 76
"Two Air Force Jet Crashes Kill 39", Daily Record, Morristown NJ , Aug. 29,76
"2 McGuire Jets Crash, Killing 39", Bulletin , Philadelphia PA , Aug. 29, 76
"McGuire takeoff times weren’t minutes apart", Sunday Times Advertiser, Trenton, NJ
"Air Force plane crashes kill 2 Bergen men", Hudson Dispatch, Union City NJ ,Aug. 29, 76
"McGuire AFB slates memorial services for crash victims", Courier-Post Dispatch, Camden NJ, Aug. 31, 76
"Rites held for 11 in air crash", Jersey Journal , Jersey City, NJ, Sept. 1,76
"Memorial set for airmen", Hudson Dispatch, Union City NJ, Sept. 1,76
"Air Force to mourn victims", Star Ledger, Newark NJ, Sept. 1, 76
"McGuire goes about business, but remembers victims", Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA , Sept. 2, 76
"From the 438th Wing Commander", McGuire AirTides, Sept. 3, 76, p. 3
Cover photo, The MAC Flyer, Nov. 76
"Fire and Rain", The MAC Flyer, Dec. 76, pp. 13-15
"Illusion of Danger", The MAC Flyer, Jan. 77, pp. 8-9
"Accident Statistics for 1976", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 77, pp. 20-21
"Detour T-Storms", Aerospace Safety Magazine, May 77, p. 12
"DEJA VU-Sondrestrom", The MAC Flyer, Sept. 77, p. 23
Aerodrome/Facility Directory, US Government Printing Office, p. B212
Sondrestromfjord 19-02, 19-03, Jeppesen Sanderson Inc.
Military Aviation Disasters, Gero, David, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 121-2
Photo Credits: Unknown
437 MAW History, Chap. 6, 1979, pp. 78-81
"Accident Statistics for 1979", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 80, p. 9
"McChord crew killed in Egypt plane crash", Seattle Times, 11 Nov. 13, 80
"6 local airmen killed in crash", News Tribune, Tacoma WA , Nov. 13, 80, p. A1
"Egypt pins fatal U.S. crash on mechanical problems", Seattle Times Nov. 14, 80, p. A10
"C-141 Crash Kills 13 in ‘Bright Star’", Air Force Times, Nov. 24, 80, p. 4
"1980 Mishap Statistics", The MAC Flyer, April 81, pp. 8-10
Military Aviation Disasters, Gero, David, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 128-9
Fire Destroys Stretched C-141", Air Force Times, Mar. 22, 82, p. 4
Recollection of Author
"1980 Mishap Statistics", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 81, p. 10
"Missing Plane Found; No Survivors Reported", New York Times, New York Sept. 1, 1982
"Crash in Tennessee Kills Nine; Other Accidents Take Two Lives", Air Force Times, Sept. 13, 1982, p. 4
"Sadly, MAC Flight Mishaps Continue to Rise", The MAC Flyer, p. 31
437 MAW History, Chapter 6, 1982, pp. 73-76a
"C-141", Flying Safety Magazine, May 83, p. 12
Map Credit: 437 MAW
"9 Killed in Crash of U.S. Plane", Washington Post, Washington DC , July 13, 1984, p. A23
"U.S. Air Force C-141 transport plane crashes in Sicily; all nine abroad killed", San Bernardino Sun, San Bernardino CA , July 14, 1984
"C-141", Flying Safety Magazine, Apr. 85, pp. 18-19
Interview with the mishap Aircraft Commander
"The Way it’s Done", The MAC Flyer, Sept. 89, pp. 24-26
Photo Credit: Unknown
"Crew identified in crash of Norton C-141B", Press-Enterprise, Riverside CA , Feb. 22, 1989, p. B20
"Bodies of 6 crash victims recovered", Press-Enterprise, Riverside CA , Feb. 23, 1989, p. B2
"Air Force finds 6 of 8 bodies in crash", San Bernardino Sun, San Bernardino Feb. 23, 1989
"Bad weather linked to crash of Starlifter", Press-Enterprise, Riverside CA , Feb. 24, 1989, p. B8
"C-141 crashes during storm in swamp near Hurlburt", Air Force Times, Mar. 6, 1989, p. 10
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Interview with crew members from aircraft #3 and #4
"2 Jet Crash Victims were from State", Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Dec. 2, 1992, p. A1
"Ceremony at McChord Salutes 13 Dead Airmen", Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Dec. 4, 92, p. A1
"C-141, B-1 flights continue despite fatal accidents", Air Force Times, Dec. 14, 1992, p. 10
Gero, David, Military Aviation Disasters, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 157-8
Photo Credit: USAF Photo
"Cargo plane burns in California", Arizona Republic , Phoenix AZ , Oct. 8, 1993, p. A10
"Cargo Jet burns at Travis before training Mission", San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco CA ,Oct. 8, 1993
Carolina AF Base Midair Crash Kills 16", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles CA ,Mar. 24, 1994, p. A15
"15 Killed by skidding Jet after collision", Seattle Times, Seattle WA Mar. 24, 1994, p. A3
"15 Killed, 91 Injured by Skidding Jet", Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Mar. 24, 1994, p. A3
"G.I. Death toll at 20 in Air Base Crash", New York Times, New York, Mar. 25, 1994, p. 14
"AF Base Survivor: ’Fire was Everywhere’", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles CA , Mar. 25, 1994, p. A23
"Heroes emerged in Fiery Tragedy at Air Force Base", Seattle Times, Seattle WA , Mar. 25, 1994, p. A12
"A U.S. Air Force F-16D" Aviation Week & space Technology, , Mar. 28, 1994, p. 17
"Did aircraft mix overburden Pope?", >Air Force Times, Apr. 11, 1994, p. 10
"Did volatile fuel take Pope lives?", Air Force Times, Apr. 18, 1994,
"Collision of AF Jet, Cargo Plane Blamed on Controller Mistakes", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles CA , June 22, 1994, p. A-13
"Flying the Heavies" Flying Safety Magazine, Dec. 94, p 6
Military Aviation Disasters Gero, David, , Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, p. 159
Photo Credits: USAF Photo
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Fayetteville Observer-Times
"Germany and the US lose Planes Off Africa", New York Times, New York NY , Sept. 15, 1997, p. A3
"Nine missing after C-141 disappears over Atlantic Ocean", AMC Press Release, Sept. 15, 1997
"Search continues for missing C-141", AMC Press Release, Sept. 15, 1997
"Mobility Task Force supports search-and-rescue efforts for missing C-141", AMC Press Release, Sept. 15, 1997
"Task Force supports C-141 search, rescue efforts", AMC Press Release, Sept. 15, 1997
"Debris Off Africa Is Linked To U.S. and German Planes", New York Times, New York NY , Sept. 16, 1997, p. A8
"Part of C-141 wing recovered in South Atlantic ", AMC Press Release, Sept. 16, 1997
"Confusion over mid-air smash", The Namibian, City Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 16, 1997
DOD News Briefing, Sept. 16, 1997
"Namibian boats lead search bid", The Namibian, Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 17, 1997
"Namibia denies air smash responsibility", The Namibian, Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 18, 1997
"German, US Aircraft Crash off African Coast ", Aviation Week, Sept. 22, 1997, p. 31
"Tupolev was flying at ‘wrong height’", The Namibian, Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 23, 1997, p. 1
"Angola clams up on crash inquiry", The Namibian, Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 24, 1997
"Probe team listen to Angolan Tapes", The Namibian, Windhoek Namibia, Sept. 25, 1997
"One Review of C-141 Crash Ends", Air Force Times, Nov. 3, 1997, p. 2
"Germans Study Flight Recorder", Air Force Times, Dec. 22, 1997, p. 2
"Kross: Fatal Crash Was Avoidable", Air Force Times, Mar. 23, 1998, p. 2
"USAF Cites Faulty Altitude As Cause of Africa Midair Crash", Aviation Week, Apr. 6, 1998, p. 59
"C-141 Crew is Cleared", Air Force Times, Apr. 13, 1998, p. 27
"Out of Africa ", Aviation Week, Apr. 13, 1998, p. 23
Military Aviation Disasters, Gero, David, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Haynes Pub., Newburg Park, CA, 1999, pp. 170-1
"Air Force Grounds Fleet of C-141s", The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN , Dec. 23, 2001, p B1
"Air Force Grounds C-141 jet fleet", CNN.com, Dec. 24, 2001, at CNN Web site
"C-141s Flying Again After Wing Mishap", The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Dec 25, 2001, p. B1
"Briefly", The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN , Dec. 28, 2001, p. B32
"World News Roundup", Aviation Week, Jan. 7, 2002, p. 18
"C-141 Wing Mishap a Unique Event", Air Force Times, Jan. 7, 2002, p. 5
"Stretched to the Limit", Air Force Times, May 20, 2002, p 3, 12
Photo Credits: USAF Photos
Interview with mishap aircraft’s Crew Chief
"The 1967 Aircraft Accident Review", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1968, pp. 4-5
"Hijacked", 446 AW Associate Press, Dec. 1991-Jan. 1992, pp. 1,8
Interview with mishap crew members
"Good Show", The MAC Flyer, Feb. 1978, p. 23
Cover, The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1978
"A Long Ten Minutes", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1978, pp. 4-6
"Accident Statistics for 1977", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 1978, pp. 4-5
"A Mayday in October", Airman Magazine, Sept. 1978, pp. 5-8
Interview with incident crew members
"Dutch Roller Coaster", The MAC Flyer, Mar. 1977, pp. 17-19
"Let’s Hear It For The Heavies", Flying Safety Magazine, Nov. 1983, pp. 9-10
Photo Credit: USAF Photo
Interview with mishap crew members
"Keep Your Guard Up", The MAC Flyer, Feb. 1980, p. 23
"How to Plan a Crash Landing",The MAC Flyer, Feb. 1980, pp. 8-10
"MAC Safety Awards For Excellence in Airmanship", The MAC Flyer, July 1980, p. 18
"Six Short Rings at Lajes", The MAC Flyer, Oct. 1981, pp. 4-5
"Excellence in Airmanship", The MAC Flyer, Feb. 1982, p. 10
"1981 Mishap Statistics", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 1982, pp. 8-10
"Excellence in Airmanship", The MAC Flyer, Sept. 1983, pp. 22-23
Photo Credits: USAF Photos
"Smoke(ing) Mask", The MAC Flyer, Jan. 83, p 30
"C-141", Flying Safety Magazine, May 83, pp. 14-15
Interview with mishap Aircraft Commander
"Accident Statistics for 1979", The MAC Flyer, Apr. 1980, pp. 8-10
Interview with squadron crew members
"Norton-based cargo plane damaged in snow landing", The Press-Enterprise, Riverside CA , Jan. 14, 1987, p. B7
"Remote crash site hampers searchers", Air Force Times, p. 33
"The Way it’s Done", The MAC Flyer, Sept. 1989, pp. 24-26
Photo Credits: Unknown
Interview with mishap Aircraft Commander
"Chad Says Troops are Razing Base Captured in Libya ", New York Times, New York NY , Sept. 7, 1987, p. A1
"Libyan Warplane is Downed in Chad by French Forces", New York Times, New York NY , Sept. 8, 1987, p. A1
"Libyan Plane Shot Down by French", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles CA , Sept. 8, 1987, p. A7
"Chad , Libya Accept Truce Under OAU Sponsorship", Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles CA , Sept. 11, 1987, p. A1
"Chad and Libya in Pact but Clash Anew", New York Times,New York, NY , Sept. 12, 1987, p. A3
FLIP General Planning, US Government Printing Office, 1998
Interview with mishap Flight Engineer
Interview with mishap Aircraft Commander
"Airlifters under attack", Air Force Times, Aug. 8, 1994, p. 18
"Excellence in Airmanship", Mobility Forum, Mar.-Apr. 1995, pp. 32-33
Interview with incident crew members
"Double Jeopardy", 446 AW Associate Press, Dec. 1995, p. 4-5
"Aircrew wins 15th Air Force Aircrew Excellence Award", 446 AW Associate Press, Mar. 1996, p. 4
"Flying the Heavies", Flying Safety Magazine, Dec. 1994, pp. 4-9
"F-16 Year in Review", Flying Safety Magazine, Jan. 1995, p. 16
"Providing America’s Global Reach", Flying Safety Magazine, Feb. 1996, pp. 7-10
"Statistics…C-141", Flying Safety Magazine, Dec. 1997- Jan. 1992, p. 18
"C-5/C-17/C-141", Flying Safety Magazine, Dec. 1997- Jan. 1998, p. 6
"The Stratlifters", Flying Safety Magazine, Jan.- Feb. 2000, p. 6-9
Magazine,"FY99 Stats" Flying Safety , Jan/Feb 2002, pp. 20-29
"The Strategic Airlifters", Flying Safety Magazine, Jan/Feb 2002, pp. 30-33
"FY01 Mishap Stats", Flying Safety Magazine, Jan/Feb 2002, pp. 20-29
Special Thanks to Robert Crouse, MSGT USAF (Ret), and George Graham, MSGT USAF (Ret), for assistance with aspects of this document.