C17 Totalled in Bagram

KarmaPolice

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I just got back from a stage input where we got into Bagram and saw the carnage. I don't know how much anyone has heard of this one, but apparently a crew put the right main gear on a closed side of the runway. The nose gear ripped off and tore a hole down the belly like it was opening a can. The right main gear failed and just about ripped off so the right bottom side of the aircraft looks like someone took a knife and ripped it open. The fuselage is bent so the doors won't open, apu pod is torn open and destroyed, and the left main gear were blown and tweaked. Nobody I talked to could imagine it is a recoverable hull. Fortunately nobody was hurt.


My only hope is that management will see this as a wakeup call and make some improvements in how we are doing business, getting crews better rest, better support, and not pushing them to the limits now that we are a few years into this.
 

KC-10 Driver

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At this very minute, I'm sitting at the C-5 stage desk in LERT, and I see and talk to the C-5 crews every single day. I've sat in on their intel and tactics briefs. Even though the C-5 flow is fairly light right now, I have been here when it was a nightmare.

There is no doubt in my mind that these crews and airplanes are very tired. They are flying into locations, with threats, that they never imagined just a few years ago. And, it has been going on for well over two years, now.

I don't know what the answer is -- obviously, the mission has to get done.

Hopefully, everyone at every level of the chain of command understands how utterly important it is to do whatever it takes to gives these crews whatever they need to most safely and efficiently accomplish the mission.

For my part, I try to give them a few extra hours rest when I can, and provide them with whatever information and/or support they might need/request when at my station.

Maybe the C-17 at OAIX will open some eyes. I've seen the pictures of the accident. Undoubtedly, the aircraft is totalled. Thank God no one was killed.
 
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ultrarunner

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Can the crew reimbuse my airplane via payroll deduction? Or will they cut me a lump sum?
 

bobs98tlr

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I saw some pictures of that happing to a C-130 awhile back. Someone took a HUGE piece out of the runway and the guys didnt see it. Im pretty sure one guy was lost in the deal but it looked just like they way your explaining the C-17.
 

slacker

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Ultramoron?

ultrarunner said:
Can the crew reimbuse my airplane via payroll deduction? Or will they cut me a lump sum?
Can your parents reimburse the public for raising such a moron? I doubt it. You have no idea what it is like to fly on one of these missions, and yet you feel like you're such a authority that you can immediately blame the crew. You've already grabbed you torch and pitch fork on your way to hang the crew. Your attitude sucks. Immediately blaming the crew? Please. Are you sure you're not an Ops group commander somewhere because you sure sound like one.

Sorry for the rant- but I've watched crews get treated worse than Taliban prisoners for an accidents that were not their fault. They're asked to do a dangerous mission under ridiculous conditions, and yet when something happens it's automatically crew error. Then, when they are finally found innocent, everyone still looks at them suspiciously and the management treats them like they were really at fault. It's crap. Wow, i feel better.
 

ultrarunner

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Whooo...I was just making fun....

I don't really give a $hit how many airframes they give back to the taxpayers....I can afford it.

And I could give a rats A$$ about who's fault it is....

That whole operation is just a waste of time and a waste of good american soldiers....

The whole freaking region needs to be evac'd by the US, then we go in there and NUKE for MORBID.....

Soldiers loosing their lives chasing sand monkeys, where there is a much simpler way, is pathetic!


DUTY - HONOR - COUNTRY

there, now I feel better
 

filejw

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Slacker,
I think he was trying to be funny and I took it that way myself.However his true colors came out in his next post.Although he is not far from the truth.
 

viper548

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Glad the crew was ok. Was the damage worse than the C-130 that went thru the gaping hole in the runway in Iraq?
 

Mooseflyer

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Wow! I had no idea this happened, as I'm currently at my crashpad. I have to admit, the thread title really raised my heart rate as I figured I was about to be informed I had lost some friends when I read the message. Glad no one was hurt.

This is NOT the first time this has happened at Bagram. 2 or 3 years ago, another C-17 dropped a couple wheels in a hole there, but thankfully sustained little damage. As many of you know, we have been operating on the "half open runway" there for years, i.e. one half (left or right) of the runway is open, while the other is closed for repair. By the time repairs are complete, the open half is torn up sufficently to need work, and consequently what was the open side becomes the closed side. The open side has NEVER been well defined - day or night. In our haste to "keep the mission moving", we couldn't afford a few extra hours to adequately paint markings for day ops or install proper lighting for night ops even though we, the crews, have been giving constant feedback regarding the difficulty of identification Now it has cost us. Thankfully it was only equipment damage.
 

viper548

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Mooseflyer said:
Wow! I had no idea this happened, as I'm currently at my crashpad. I have to admit, the thread title really raised my heart rate as I figured I was about to be informed I had lost some friends when I read the message. Glad no one was hurt.

This is NOT the first time this has happened at Bagram. 2 or 3 years ago, another C-17 dropped a couple wheels in a hole there, but thankfully sustained little damage. As many of you know, we have been operating on the "half open runway" there for years, i.e. one half (left or right) of the runway is open, while the other is closed for repair. By the time repairs are complete, the open half is torn up sufficently to need work, and consequently what was the open side becomes the closed side. The open side has NEVER been well defined - day or night. In our haste to "keep the mission moving", we couldn't afford a few extra hours to adequately paint markings for day ops or install proper lighting for night ops even though we, the crews, have been giving constant feedback regarding the difficulty of identification Now it has cost us. Thankfully it was only equipment damage.
Mooseflyer, where are you based? I have an interview w/ a c-17 reserve unit at travis afb next month
 

RampFreeze

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To bring this back on target and info-only for the civilian-only guys who are curious:

One thing a lot of civilian guys may not realize is that the USAF max crew duty day for big airplanes (C-5, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, etc.) is 24 hours with one extra pilot. (waived up to 26 hours just after 9/11) There is no schedule, you usually sit on alert for a day or so (This is just like reserve with a 30 minute call-out - Rarely do we know our schedule in advance and get the opportunity to try and get your body on the right circadian rhythm for the mission) Just as you are getting ready to go to sleep in your tent (at say 11PM body clock time) you get alerted (you are now a "fresh" crew), and then routinely end up flying a 24 hour day into extremely dangerous environments (oh yes, probably air refueling on the way) In all my years of USAF/AMC flying, I've always thought that the most dangerous thing done is the routine use of 24 hour duty days. (Definitely the norm rather than the exception in the strat airlift world) Remember the statistic that the judgment/cognitive abilities of someone who's been awake for 24 hours is the same as having a Blood Alcohol Content of .10? I'd rather fly into a high threat zone after a good nights sleep (in my own room/not 4 to a room/15 to a tent, etc.), 8 hours into my duty day rather than fly a "milkrun" 24 hour day, day after day after day with no break. After 9/11, how many guys have flown a 7 day trip, only slept 4 times while you were on the road, came back home for 12 hours and then went back out to "wash, rinse, repeat"? (I can already see the hands going up...)

No, I'm not looking for a "poor little boy" or a pat on the back. (I'm not flying in the strat air world right now and have nothing to personally complain about. I see my kids daily and they even recognize me vs. not knowing who I was for a year+ after 9/11) The country is at war and it is our duty to suck it up and make the mission happen. Most crews will tell you to a person that they are honored to do it. (it's not nearly as dangerous as patrolling the Baghdad streets dodging IEDs - those guys are the true heroes) You've got to "surge" during wartime and we all realize that. (Interesting statisitc: WWII went from Dec 1941-Aug 1945=44 months; Sept 2001-Aug 2005=47 months)

Just throwing this nugget out there as a data point for reference next time you are crying about the concessions in your latest contract...
 

viper548

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Rampfreeze,
Good post, but you forgot that when these crews are on Bravo alert, it's a 48 hour shift, which was waived to 5 days in a row after 9/11. Typical reserve for an airline is a 12 hr shift. After the 48 hr reserve shift, you get 12hrs off then back on for another 48.
 

Huggyu2

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KC-10 Driver said:
At this very minute, I'm sitting at the C-5 stage desk in LERT, and I see and talk to the C-5 crews every single day. I've sat in on their intel and tactics briefs. Even though the C-5 flow is fairly light right now, I have been here when it was a nightmare.

For my part, I try to give them a few extra hours rest when I can, and provide them with whatever information and/or support they might need/request when at my station.
God bless ya, man. I was never an "airlifter", but I appreciate you folks that get the thankless jobs when you'd rather be in the cockpit. Good on ya.
 

KC-10 Driver

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I appreciate your nice words, but this job isn't exactly thankless, at least not here in Rota. I volunteered for a short tour here (~40 days). It's actually a very good deal, and I enjoy both my job and my off time quite a bit. A summer month in a small Spanish resort town on the coast -- that's my thanks!

Now, the folks at Moron or Kuwait, that is a different story. Not nearly as good a deal. Those guys and gals deserve some thanks.

Afterthought: And, obviously, the biggest thank you goes to all the troops on the ground in country -- Iraq, Afghanistan & other nasty places.
 
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YGBSM

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KarmaPolice said:
My only hope is that management will see this as a wakeup call and make some improvements in how we are doing business, getting crews better rest, better support, and not pushing them to the limits now that we are a few years into this.

That says a lot right there.
 

RAC396

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My only hope is that management will see this as a wakeup call and make some improvements in how we are doing business, getting crews better rest, better support, and not pushing them to the limits now that we are a few years into this.[/QUOTE]

I pray your hope will happen,however as long as "Management" is trying to get promoted,the crew force will alway suffer.I felw C130s in Vietnam,and C141s in desert storm,and absolutely nothing has changed.Fly safe,and watch your SIX.
 

PHX767

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An important point to remember is that civil flying does not have a "mission" as does mil aviation. If the crew is too fatigued, the wx is too cruddy, only 1/2 the runway is open :eek: then it is too risky. Not so in mil where somebody is depending on the load getting there, the gas passed, or the bombs on target.

Work rules and quality of life is why we all lament those contract concessions. It's not because we are wussies. No air medals for taking a chance with 200 of the traveling public in the back, or for having an onerous reserve policy.

RampFreeze said:
To bring this back on target and info-only for the civilian-only guys who are curious:

One thing a lot of civilian guys may not realize is that the USAF max crew duty day for big airplanes (C-5, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, etc.) is 24 hours with one extra pilot.
And the civilian guys that you are enlightening would probably also like to know that the augmented USAF aircrews you are discussing can only fly the max duty day with an extra required crewmember for the equipment; i.e, an extra pilot, plus a loadmaster, flight engineer, boom operator as appropriate. Don't forget the little people! :D
 

Kikuchiyo

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At the end of the Wing SE meeting here at CHS, the OG ripped into us for all the recent (mostly minor) incidents. He claimed that after some analysis, the incident crews were not too tired or too overworked. None of the incidents were at the end of the duty day, nor had the crews been flying loads of hours in their last 90 days.

Of course, there's a difference between tired and chronically fatigued. But the "leadership" will continue to push us until the next worse thing happens - losing a crew. Then they'll surely "wake up." Or not...
 

Birdstrike

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We see the impacts of crews being stretched yet the numbers in the training pipelines are being reduced. What am I missing? What's the planning ratio used to resource crews to airframes? Whatever it is, seems like the problem could be solvable if there's a way to wangle more crews per airframe. If you open the pipeline...'believe they would come...and you'd get some relief. Ah, but personnel ceilings. Then let's reallocate some priorities...
 

stonewall

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Management??

Is somebody trying to get rich off the backs of the workers? Do we need a union? Dude, as the AC, YOU are management. This isn't an airline you work at, even if it's part time. The "management" you complain about is different than the management at Delta...they have done what you have done.

If you're too tired to do the mission, pass it off to someone else. YOU are responsible for your crew, and don't hand me any bullsh** about "command pressure." There isn't anyone out there who can, with any intellectual honesty, claim the military forced them to fly when they were tired. You were offered the mission, and you ponied up. Good on ya...but when you taxi off the damn runway, don't bitch about it.

Look, I know it ain't easy and the pay sucks, but you don't do it for the pay. This isn't flame bait...but if you can't hack it, don't suit up.
 
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