I hope there families are doing well. It takes watching something like this to remind us of exactly how fragile we are in those cockpits. But what I've always told my family is at least if it does happen, it is in doing something that I love. And I am sure knowing that would give their families at least some consolation.
I have looked at the video closely, and it looks like the constant section, the area that binds both wings together in the fuselage comes shooting straight out of the top of the airplane. It is the dark object that you see flying out at high speed right out of the top of the aircraft, you can barely make it out coming right out of the top sheet metal skin.
If you think along the lines of a wing failure, you would think of a wing breaking off and that would be that. In this case both wings seprerate almost simutainously, it leads me to believe that it was this reinforced wing box is actually what failed, not just one of the wings. But, I am no expert on the C-130.
I am not trying to point out the obvious, I am just speaking my mind on this very sad subject.
That's a good guess, but quite wrong. All of the crews attached to these airplanes are acutely aware of what happened. For those who do know, the video taken makes it painfully obvious.
Public speculation at this point is not appropriate; the cause is known, and public guesswork can only cause pain for the families and damage to the air program.
An official investigation must first take place to confirm for the public what we already know, and until that's complete, open discussion of the cause is not appropriate.
I can say this: the same thing that happened to T130 several days ago happened to me in T130 several years ago...the difference being that the wings didn't leave the airplane. This isn't a new failure mode.
I think avbug has taken the correct stance on this issue. If he thinks he knows what happened to T-130 because of his experience then it will become public information sooner or later. Public speculation has no place here. I don't always agree with the results of the NTSB, but they are the so called "experts" and will have it wrapped up soon enough.
No disrespect intended. With such vivid images alot of people start to speculate. I certianly dont want to start pointing fingers or cuases, ecpecially with the history there airplanes apparently have.
Like I said earlier, I'm not trying to point out the pianfully obvious, again just speaking my mind.
While admirable, the fact is that everyone speculates on these things for 2 seconds after impact. The people on this board are aviators and the purpose of this board is to spread information.
While all of us know that the speculation often is wrong, expecially when the public is speculating, keeping your concept of what might have happened serves little purpose.
C-130's have a checkered past but one has to remember they are not 737's. They were built to do a job and to be a workhorse.
I respect Avbug but would not think it is out of line to tell what his opinion is/
It is not my opinion; I know exactly what happened. All I care to say on the subject is that every other crewmember involved in these types of operations knows the same thing. Steve Waas, Craig Labare, and Mike Davis knew it, too. When it happened, they knew exactly what was happening...I gaurantee it.
I have experienced what happened...the only difference is that my wings didn't come off. The difference is slight, because I still have no idea why the wings didn't actually separate when it occured.
T-82 was destroyed in flight in 1994 under nearly identical circumstances, except that T-82 was enroute to base on a load-and-return, rather than just pulling off the drop. T-82 was initially reported to have simply exploded enroute, though everybody knew differently. In a sense, what occured several days ago is confirmation of what happened several years ago, and what has happened to several of us over the past few years.
Rest assured that if nothing changes...this will happen again. However, this is an issue for the crews involved, and is not a public issue. The public may speculate, but the public does that anyway. I've been approached by reporters asking my opinion, my understanding, or the facts regarding this or that on the matter at hand. I have patiently explained that I am happy to discuss how much the crew was liked, how well they flew, etc. I will not become a talking head for the media circus. Nor will I provide information specific to the nature of the investigation until it is complete, except to investigators.
This isn't at all the same as the 737 issue. You, or the public, will never be riding on these airplanes. This affects a very small group of people, all of whom presently understand the risks, the cause, and the problem (such as it may be). This is a dramatic event to the public. It's horrifying, shocking. Makes people sick when watching their televisions. They forget that for some of us, this happens every year.
It may not be the wings coming off, but ever year since I have was flying as a kid I've known personally those who went in. I've read the reports, watched the accidents, even put out the fires by hand. I've dismantled the wreckage. This isn't a one-off shocking event. I knew these people, and flew with them, I flew the airplane, and I experienced part of what they experienced in the same make, model, and serial number; the airplane that crashed. Looking back, something like 50% of the airplanes I've flown over the years have crashed and been destroyed at some point...including my solo airplane.
This last year, five aircraft and fifteen people make up those I've known, been involved with, etc, who crashed and were killed. The season is still young. Yesterday an air attack crashed. A few days before, another crash occured. There will be more. Investigations will take place. Answers will be found, regulations developed, inspections made, and crews informed.
The tanker industry works differently than charter, or airlines, or any other facet of aviation. When investigators show up to deal with a situation, the pilots typically have the most input or say in the matter. Nobody knows those aircraft or the environment, or the potentials, better than the pilots. The pilots do the job of everybody, from loadmasters to mechanics to crew chiefs to pilots. All rolled into one; it's the way it must be. Accordingly, before regulation is made, or decisions released, the pilots are consulted in group meetings or individually around the country, and in one large group every two years, on these matters.
The only people who really need to speculate or discuss these matters are the crews in the airplanes themselves...and that's a very small community.
If it makes anybody feel better, there was nothing the crew could do, or that anybody could do from home. Crews involved in these missions know the statistics, and the risks. There are no surprises. There are a lot of issues at work that most people here wouldn't understand, and would be taken out of context or interpreted incorrectly. There is no background that can prepare someone for that type of work, or to understand why certain things are done the way they are. The usual reaction when people learn of some of those issues and proceedures is shock or disbelief. The simple answer is that if told, people wouldn't believe it anyway.
I'm not trying to dodge a question, but explain (hopefully without offense) why I can't answer it right now. Hopefully that will be enough.
For now, don't focus on how these men died, but on how they lived. That is all which matters.
OK, Avbug. I certainly understand and support your desire to avoid speculation, and especially to honor the memory of your friends.
What I want to know is this: You say that the cause is known. You go so far as to say that everyone who flys these aircraft knows that answer. To me, that just demands this question. (and a few more)
Why did three knowledgable men, allow a known defect/situation to kill them? Is there such a sense of necessity of the mission, that the risks are understood, but determined to be worth taking in order to accomplish that mission? If the T130's are put back into service after the grounding, will you all continue to operate them under the same conditions that led to this tragedy, or will some part/procedure be changed in order to prevent an occurence?
Whatever your community of aviators decides, I wish you Godspeed.
If you're asking if the airplanes will continue to be operated in extreme conditions: inside box canyons in severe to extreme turbulence in zero visibility at 200' in situations involving 300' flame lengths, in close proximity to numerous other aircraft without radar control or terrain mapping, in tight formation with dissimiliar light and heavy aircraft and helicopters, grossed out at max weights with minimal available performance, with fire whirls, severe up and downdrafts, exploding trees, and the works, then the answer is yes. They will. And the crews will take them there.
It has nothing to do with the memory of friends. They're good men, but they're dead, and that's the thick of it. Presently, they're not saying much on the subject, and I don't anticipate much from them in the near future. Of course nobody wishes to compromise safety.
However, how many people would go to work if they knew that on any given day there was a one in ten chance their airplane or truck or desk would explode? Very few people. Very few would be willing, and very few would be qualified to truly make such a call. Those that are willing are flying the tankers, and three of them were in T-130.
Is the C-130 a safe airplane? Sure. But consider the environment. Several years ago on a drop outside ABQ (in Tanker 130, the airplane that just crashed, incidentally), we were in extreme turbulence. The wings were flapping wildly and flexing a LOT. It was bad enough that the FE in the company airplane behind us (T-131) was ejected out of his seat, bounced off the ceiling, hit the floor, hit the ceiling again, and ended up in the cargo bay. He didn't make it back to the flightdeck for the drop. (I bunked with him that night in ABQ; he was in a lot of pain, but went back and flew the next day).
(Before anybody asks, the FE can't wear a belt of harness during those drops because of the requirements of what he is doing).
What do you imagine that kind of stress does to an airplane, even a good one?
The C-130 has some very strict wing bending and loading limitations even in normal, unacclerated flight. It has a long arm and potential moment from wingtip to center section. It has no internal structure, to speak of, except wingribs and a dual shearweb "spar" (the only real value of which is to form fuel tank walls). In essence, the strength of the wing skin is the strength of the wing. The newer hercs have a completely different wing and structure; not the same at all. They also have much greater capacities for payload and maneuvering.
The A model hercs were the first off the line. The "modern" turboprops being flown in tanker service are only 10 years older than the WWII bombers I was also flying.
I will miss the crew, and that airplane. Some important moments in my life were spent in there.
I am not 110 years old. However, the suggestion that I have bad luck or am old only underscores the fact the people wouldn't understand this subject. Most folks wouldn't believe it. Unless you've been in this environment, it's outside the comprehension range of most folks. I began crop dusting as a teenager. My first season everybody died. Every neighbor and competitor. I took photos of the wrecks. I knew some of the people. I put out the fire on a burning airplane that had just crashed that belonged to my employer...it was the first ag airplane I ever flew for revenue.
Do I have bad luck? No. Did the crew of T-130 have bad luck? I wouldn't say so. They operated in a very high risk environment that most wouldn't understand; but they did. What I experienced my first teenage year as a pilot, I've experienced every year. Unless you've been there and expeienced it, you probably wouldn't understand it, and further discussion on the subject then takes on a philosophical caste, rather than being a meaningful treatment of the subject.
A few years ago on a fire I got cut during ground operations. My finger was bleeding badly, and cut to the bone. It was broken. We didn't have time to stop what we were doing. I shot the wound full of antibiotic, butterfly taped the cut closed, broke a popsicle stick and staped it between the broken finger and the adjacent finger, and kept working. The point there is that it's very much a working environment; there is no glory, no stripes are worn; it's a matter of doing the job. Very few people who try it out, stick with it. A lot of people have been killed doing it.
Those who do stick with it understand very well the risks. I know one gentleman flying DC-4's who lost his father to a C-119...when the wing came off the airplane during a drop in Banning pass. Some 10 or so Boxcars lost wings over fires. This man is intimately familiar with the risks, as is every pilot flying these fires. Everyone is familiar with those who have died, as well as the reasons and the costs. Everyone knows that they are not immune.
As far as the 737 analogy goes, I disagree. These brave souls do what they do for our benefit. They are paid their small wage by our tax dollars. I think that it would be a good thing to share some known problem with us. I don't think we have to be on the plane to have a stake in this. Not the same stake, granted, but a stake none the less.
Is the problem that caused the crash unavoidable, an endemic part of the job? Is there an airframe defect or design flaw which cannot be fixed, and we are resigned to an expected attrition rate of aircrews every fire season?
In other words, if everyone in this small community of aviators knows what has happened, then why does it keep happening? What was that figure I read yesterday, 39 failures? Is it me, or does something in this picture seem radically wrong, and cry out for change?
I can tell you the problem this 130 had is one that the military has known about for a long time. The Marine Corps does wing Xrays inspections because of this. I'm sure the fact that they were flying old A models in hard conditions didn't help.
Your stated in your post that an F.E. cannot wear a harness while performing his duties. That's news to me. I was an F.E. ( and F.O.) for H&P on 130,131 and 133HP. I always wore lap and shoulder harnesses.
That's quite a trick. How did you work the thrust levers during the drop or set them for takeoff? In order to lean far enough forward, one often needs to be almost completely out of the seat, or sitting on the very forward edge. It's necessary to do most of what the FE does, especially on the drops. I also occupied the FE seat from time to time (I took my FE turbopropeller practical test in T-130, in fact)...I was unable to perform those duties with a belt on.
No FE during my time there wore his belt because of the inability to properly perform the functions required. On our aircraft, the FE owned the airplane, the captain drove, and the copilot occasionally had a lucid thought. The FE did the bulk of the work. I'm not saying you didn't wear your seatbelt, but no other FE I worked with did, including the chief FE. The only FE I'm aware of in the company who did stay in place and strapped in was on the C-97G.
Yes, the seat moves on a track. What does that have to do with anything? In order to sit in the seat, it must be moved back far enough to get the legs between the seat and pedestle. The FE sits at the rear of the pedestle. In order to reach everything he must reach, he must almost lay down along the pedestle for the thrust levers, and has a good reach for most of the forward switches, too. Perhaps long bodied folks can reach everything, but even with the lap belt fully extended, I couldn't reach everything and still keep the belt around me.
These airplanes get full NDI wing inspections at least twice a year.