Accident Lockheed KC-130T Hercules 165000,
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Date:Monday 10 July 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic C130 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Lockheed KC-130T Hercules
Owner/operator:United States Marine Corps
Registration: 165000
MSN: 5303
Year of manufacture:1992
Fatalities:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:11 km WSW of Itta Bena, MS -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Cherry Point MCAS, NC (KNKT)
Destination airport:El Centro-Naval Air Field, CA (NJK/KNJK)
Investigating agency: USMC
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A United States Marine Corps (USMC) Reserve Lockheed KC-130T Hercules broke up and crashed in the vicinity of Itta Bena, Mississippi, USA. All 16 on board were killed.
The aircraft originated from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., 1t 14:07 hours to transport personnel and equipment to Naval Air Field El Centro, California.
While the aircraft was flying at 20,000 feet, the number four blade from the number two propeller departed and sliced through the left side of the fuselage, and impacted the interior of the right side, initiating the catastrophic sequence of events. This impact caused the skin of the aircraft to separate along the starboard side. The energy transferred from the propeller blade's impact through the structure of the airframe also caused an overload condition of propeller three's drive shaft. This resulted in its associated reduction gearbox assembly (RGA) failing and the separation of propeller three from the aircraft. Propeller three then momentarily embedded into the upper right section of the fuselage. After which it continued over the aft starboard section of the fuselage and impacted the starboard horizontal stabilizer separating a significant portion of the stabilizer from the aircraft.
The aircraft structure forward of the wings then began to separate, resulting in the cockpit section separating and creating a trail of debris. The absence of the cockpit resulted in the forward section of the central fuselage creating a violent nonaerodynamic drag moment, which exceeded engineering tolerances and greatly accelerated fuselage break up forward of the wing box structure. The fuselage section from the wing box structure aft, continued to fly in a general southwest direction with enough dynamic stability that allowed the fuselage to reenter a downward attitude until final impact in a soybean field.

The investigation determined the cause of the mishap to be an inflight departure of the number four blade from the number two propeller. This propeller blade (P2B4) liberated while the aircraft was flying at a cruise altitude of 20,000 feet . The liberation of P2B4 initiated the catastrophic sequence of events resulting in the midair breakup of the aircraft and its uncontrollable descent and ultimate destruction.
Post-mishap analysis of P2B4 revealed that a circumferential fatigue crack in the blade caused the fracture and liberation. This fatigue crack propagated from a radial crack which originated from intergranular cracking (IGC) and corrosion pitting. The analysis also revealed the presence of anodize coating within the band of corrosion pitting and intergranular cracking on the blade near the origin of the crack. This finding proves that the band of corrosion pitting and intergranular cracking was present and not removed during the last overhaul of P2B4 at Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex (WR-ALC) in the fall of 2011. The investigation concluded that the failure to remediate the corrosion pitting and intergranular cracking was due to deficiencies in the propeller blade overhaul process at WR-ALC which existed in 2011 and continued up until the shutdown of the WR-ALC propeller blade overhaul process in the fall of 2017.
The investigation also examined whether any operational or intermediate level maintenance inspections or maintenance actions exist which could have detected the underlying causal conditions prior to the mishap. The investigation concluded that while these inspections exist, it cannot be quantifiably determined that these inspections would have detected the causal condition. The
investigation arrived at this conclusion due to the fact that the growth or propagation rate of an IGC radial crack cannot be predicted. Though no evidence exists to determine when the radial crack had grown to a detectable area, beyond the bushing, there exists a distinct possibility that it could have been detected if the radial crack had grown past the bushing and the off wing eddy current inspection was performed.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USMC
Report number: Final report
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 4 months
Download report: Final report


USMC Press Release
Military Times
Marine Plane Had Emergency at High Altitude, General Says (New York Times, 12-7-2017)

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
1 June 2004 165000 US Marine Corps (USMC) 0 Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, TX sub



photo (c) Václav Kudela; Praha-Ruzyne International Airport (PRG/LKPR); 01 April 2010

Revision history:


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