Narrative:The C-141 was returning to McChord AFB from Clark AFB, Philippines with intermediate stops at Kadena and Yokota. At 90 miles from McChord, the crew were given a descent clearance from FL370 to 15,000 feet. After switching frequencies to Seattle Center and reporting level at 15,000 feet, they were cleared further down to 10,000 feet. The controller misunderstood this to be from a Navy Grumman A-6 Intruder and instructed to "...maintain five thousand". The flight responded "Five thousand. MAC 40641 is out of ten". Still about 60 miles from McChord, they started a descent below the sector altitude. The C-141 Starlifter struck a ridge of Mt. Constance in Olympic National Park 150 feet from the top of the 7743 ft peak.
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
» C-141 Lifetime Mishap Summary / Lt. Col. Paul M. Hansen, USAFR, Ret. McChord AFB WA (1 October, 2004)
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Tokyo-Yokota AFB to Tacoma-McChord AFB, WA as the crow flies is 7680 km (4800 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.