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3rd of April 2006

A Lockheed C-5B Galaxy took off from Dover Air Force Base (Delaware, USA) on this day in aviation history, with Ramstein Air Base in Germany as its destination. Onboard a crew of 14, 3 passengers and 105.000 pounds (47.600 kg) of cargo. Flight preparation, takeoff, and initial climb were uneventful until approximately 10 minutes after takeoff.

The wreckage of the aircraft (Source https://theaviationgeekclub.com © Unknown)

At that time the crew observed a "Thrust Reverser Not Locked" indication for the #2 engine (Left-hand inboard). The crew decided to shut down the engine (#2) as a precaution and contacted ATC, informing them of their situation and requesting a return to Dover AFB. During the return to Dover AFB, the crew continued to use the #2 engine throttle (although it was shut down) as if the engine was operative. The #3 engine (right-hand inboard) throttle was left at idle, which was fully serviceable.

The aircraft wreckage (Source: www.baaa-acro.com © Unknown)


The aircraft was vectored for an approach to Runway 32 at Dover AFB, during the approach the aircraft was not correctly configured, the flaps were not selected in the correct configuration. On the final approach, the aircraft descended under the glide path for the runway and got in an aerodynamic stall. The aircraft hit a utility pole and "touched down" into a field, approximately 1 mile from the runway, with the tail separating from the aircraft. The fuselage continued onwards across the field with the nose section of the aircraft also breaking off the fuselage.

The United States Air Force started an investigation and already the 13th of June 2016 they determined that the cause of the accident was the pilots and flight engineers not properly configuring, maneuvering, and powering the aircraft during approach and landing. The press release from the US Airforce is available by clicking here.

The aircraft tail, separated from the fuselage (Source: https://www.baaa-acro.com © Unknown)


The investigation board determined that during the return to base:

  • The pilots and flight engineers continued to use the shut-down No. 2 engine’s throttle while leaving the fully-operational No. 3 engine in idle.

  • Both instructor and primary flight engineers failed to brief, and pilots failed to consider and use, a proper flap setting.

  • The pilots’ attempt at a visual approach to runway 32 resulted in the aircraft descending well below a normal glide path for an instrument-aided approach or the normal visual flight rules pattern altitude.

  • The aircraft commander failed to give a complete approach briefing that would have included non-standard factors, configuration, landing distance, and missed approach intentions.

Below is an animation of the last minutes of the flight with synchronised audio from the flight crew.

(Source; Youtube.com, posted by crazylong127)

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