ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed C-130J-30 Super Hercules 08-3174 Jalalabad Airport (JAA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 2 October 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic C30J model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed C-130J-30 Super Hercules
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 08-3174
MSN: 5648
First flight: 2011
Total airframe hrs:2551
Engines: 4 Allison AE2100D3
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Total:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11
Ground casualties:Fatalities: 3
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Jalalabad Airport (JAA) (   Afghanistan)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Departure airport:Jalalabad Airport (JAA/OAJL), Afghanistan
Destination airport:Bagram Air Base (OAI/OAIX), Afghanistan
A Lockheed C-130J Hercules operated by the United States Air Force crashed at Jalalabad Airport, Afghanistan.
The 11 occupants of the aircraft, six U.S. service members and five civilians, were killed, along with three persons on the ground.
The plane was assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.
The crew flew a successful mission from Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to Jalalabad Airfield. While conducting engine running on-load/offload operations at Jalalabad Airfield, the pilot raised the elevators mounted to the horizontal stabilizer by pulling back on the yoke. This provided additional clearance to assist with offloading tall cargo. After a period of time in which the pilot held the yoke by hand, he placed a hard-shell night vision goggle (NVG) case in front of the yoke to hold the elevator in a raised position.

However, because the pilots were operating in darkened nighttime flying conditions and wearing NVGs, neither pilot recognized and removed the NVG case after loading operations were complete or during takeoff. Once airborne, the aircraft increased in an excessive upward pitch during the takeoff climb. The co-pilot misidentified the flight control problem as a trim malfunction, resulting in improper recovery techniques. The rapid increase in pitch angle resulted in a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover. The aircraft impacted approximately 28 seconds after liftoff, right of the runway, within the confines of Jalalabad Airfield.
The aircraft struck the ground, a perimeter wall and a guard tower, which resulted in all personnel onboard the aircraft being killed, along with three Afghan Special Reaction Force (ASRF) members assigned to the tower.

Probable Cause:

I find by the preponderance of the evidence that the cause of the mishap was pilot error due to the combination of the MP’s [ mishap pilot] decision to place the hard-shell NVG case forward of the yoke blocking the flight controls, the distractions experienced by the MP and MCP [mishap co pilot] during the course of the ERO [Engine Running Onload/Offload], and the misidentification of the malfunction once airborne resulting in the destruction of the aircraft and cargo and the loss of fourteen lives. I also find, by a preponderance of the evidence, environmental conditions, inaccurate expectations, and fixation substantially contributed to the mishap.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 196 days (7 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Locked rudders/ailerons/gustlock
Loss of control

» Bob Daley
» 455th Air Expeditionary Wing


photo of Lockheed-C-130J-30-Hercules-08-3174
accident date: 02-10-2015
type: Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules
registration: 08-3174

Video, social media

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 Jalalabad Airport to Bagram Air Base as the crow flies is 127 km (80 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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.
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Lockheed C-130

  • 2041 built
  • 316th loss
  • 198th fatal accident
  • 48th worst accident (at the time)
  • 51st worst accident (currently)
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