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TexBubba
05-02-2018, 10:23 AM
https://patch.com/georgia/savannah/plane-reportedly-down-port-wentworth-near-savannah
It seems lately there has been a slew of military airplane crashes. For all the millions of dollars of tax payers money spent on pilot training, maintenance, and equipment, I am wondering what underlying causes of these are? I am not talking about combat realted accidents. Can any current or ex-military pilots shed light on this? Also, it doesn’t seem, at least in the media, it gets the same attention as passenger airlines. Or cargo.


FlewNavy
05-02-2018, 10:42 AM
Not much hard data to support conclusions but because we are an up/out organization many of us suspect it’s the 2nd/3rd order consequence of under funding an entire generation of pilots. During sequestration we had pilots flying hours at the bare minimum of safety. Those pilots eventually moved on to be IPs and then field grade Majors/LCDRs. Though all “qualified” their body of work and experience is not equal to their predecessors. It’s not uncommon for Commanding Officers to only have 1500-2000 hours of flight time now but when I started out - 300 hours per year was a good target....now it’s 100-150 averaged over 15 years.

Iregretnothing
05-02-2018, 11:10 AM
Not much hard data to support conclusions but because we are an up/out organization many of us suspect it’s the 2nd/3rd order consequence of under funding an entire generation of pilots. During sequestration we had pilots flying hours at the bare minimum of safety. Those pilots eventually moved on to be IPs and then field grade Majors/LCDRs. Though all “qualified” their body of work and experience is not equal to their predecessors. It’s not uncommon for Commanding Officers to only have 1500-2000 hours of flight time now but when I started out - 300 hours per year was a good target....now it’s 100-150 averaged over 15 years.

Around the time I got out of the Army it was embarrassing how little the average pilot flew. Army regulations require someone to fly every 60 days or else they need to have a checkride to re-establish currency. As an Instructor pilot, I spent ALL of 2016 giving proficiency checks instead of doing mission oriented training. Our line pilots were simply mismanaged, under appreciated, and constantly forced to attend non-aviation related training. Example, we have to cancel Mr. So-and-so's training flight tonight because he has to attend an Anti-trafficking brief at 0600 tomorrow. There is a time and a place for these things but the military MUST realize that our flight crews are not normal individuals and need to be treated as such. An Army pilot should be practicing his trade of flying aircraft in combat, not ruck marching and assaulting buildings. We have other people that do that. It's embarrassing to have more accidents in a non deployed environment than during a deployment. This happens because we use our dwell time to get the meaningless BS out of the way instead of flying to proficiency. During an actual deployment, the funding is in place to allow for alot of flying and training.

It should be noted, however, that the things asked of military aircrews is much more dangerous than civilian IFR flying. It should be expected to see more accidents while doing precarious things in an aircraft. Recently though we have seen far more military accidents than normal. I am curious to see the cause of this latest C130 crash. God bless them all.


rickair7777
05-02-2018, 11:12 AM
Might be pilot training hours funding, or it might be a lot of other things related to the strain on the services over the last 15 years... material, cultural/moral, attrition.

DoD knows it needs to reset and recapitalize. But it looks to me like that budgeting needs to account for sustained, indefinite low-intensity conflict. We used to be in the habit of going into four-alarm-fire mode when actual warfighting had to be done... that worked OK for a few months, but not years or decades.

bizzlepilot
05-02-2018, 12:49 PM
Might be pilot training hours funding, or it might be a lot of other things related to the strain on the services over the last 15 years... material, cultural/moral, attrition.

DoD knows it needs to reset and recapitalize. But it looks to me like that budgeting needs to account for sustained, indefinite low-intensity conflict. We used to be in the habit of going into four-alarm-fire mode when actual warfighting had to be done... that worked OK for a few months, but not years or decades.

Nailed it. Years of conflict, funding issues, low morale, all the experience is leaving. I think it all contributes to the current state of military aviation.

hindsight2020
05-02-2018, 03:51 PM
The DoD won't admit to it, and it's too early to draw conclusions, but those of us invested in this game do recognize the greening out of the squadrons and the logical progression towards higher hull losses. The chickens will slowly come home to roost, at the clip we're going.

BigIron
05-02-2018, 04:05 PM
As one of our monitors wrote, “The Marine Corps doesn’t care about your qualifications, designations or flight experience. They care about your green side” Physical fitness score, FITREP perfection, picture, and other “well rounded” qualities that have little to do with your MOS credibility and more to do with your ability to promote.

Gundriver64
05-02-2018, 05:04 PM
As an Army pilot with almost 20 years of IP, examiner, and Safety officer time I have seen/experienced great change with military aviation culture. Today's O-4/O-5s are more concerned with career KD time and PowerPoint metrics (e.g., flu shots and late OERs) versus having a safe/proficient flying force. Most WOs are counting the months, days, hours, and minutes to punch-out time. It really is a travesty.

Excargodog
05-02-2018, 08:24 PM
Not unlike the Navy PAC fleet with their surface combatants collisions and groundings. They seem to have forgotten the basics. How does a surface combatant with Aegis radar, sonar, lookouts, a Combat Information Center, and watch stander son the bridge run into a container ship that can only do 12-14 Knots flat-out?

For that matter, how do you ACCIDENTALLY upload six nukes and fly them from Minot to Barkesdale without the crew even noticing they have six nukes under their wing? Damn, it's stenciled on the warhead.

There are a lot if problems in the military right now for a lot of reasons, and inadequate resources is only one of them.

AirBear
05-02-2018, 08:50 PM
https://patch.com/georgia/savannah/plane-reportedly-down-port-wentworth-near-savannah
It seems lately there has been a slew of military airplane crashes. For all the millions of dollars of tax payers money spent on pilot training, maintenance, and equipment, I am wondering what underlying causes of these are? I am not talking about combat realted accidents. Can any current or ex-military pilots shed light on this? Also, it doesn’t seem, at least in the media, it gets the same attention as passenger airlines. Or cargo.

I was a C-130 Pilot and Aircraft Accident Investigator back in the 1980's.

The C-130 that just crashed was 60 years old:

9 Puerto Ricans killed in final flight of 60-year-old National Guard plane - Chicago Tribune (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-national-guard-plane-crash-20180502-story.html)

From eyewitness accounts (notoriously inaccurate) the plane entered a steep bank and crashed just after takeoff. Sounds like wing structural failure. That happened many years ago to a Little Rock based C-130. For quite a while we had restrictions on maneuvers until all the cracked wing 130's were fixed. They called them "Level 1" and "Level 2" restrictions.

Edit: just found video of the crash, not quite as sure about what I just wrote above:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/02/us/military-plane-crash-savannah-georgia/index.html

sRYu9OcEISo

C130driver
05-02-2018, 10:04 PM
It’s because pilots in the military don’t get to be pilots. They inundate pilots with a barrage of additional duties that have nothing to do with flying. Officers are expected to constantly be competitive for promotion with regards to schooling / awards / jobs and those have very little to do with flying. Being proficient in the airplane is more like a hobby, it’s also assumed as long as you maintain bare minimum currency. Also, by the time said pilot is a Major and an experienced instructor, they leave the service leaving no one behind to teach the youngins. Just my humble opinion on why we are seeing so many accidents :(

Han Solo
05-03-2018, 03:38 AM
I went back and read some of my old OPRs. Considering I was a safety guy and by the looks of my OPRs the quality safety record of the USAF was obviously a result of my singular efforts, I tie this increased rate of accidents directly to my retirement date and loss of such extreme expertise.

In all seriousness, just looking at the video its hard to tell exactly since it was in slo-mo, but to my eyes the roll rate of that Herc looked like a max deflection roll in a T-38. No way no how should that plane be capable of that kind of maneuver unless something is seriously hard broke. My guess is the USAF will either blame the pilot (an oldie but goodie, very useful when F22s stop providing the pilot O2 but you want your contractor to continue to look good) or find a combination of material failures, age of the fleet, loss of experienced maintainers, failed/ignored MX practices, and perhaps even some distraction based on what Puerto Rico has suffered through since the hurricane as factors in this accident. That's my crystal ball.

Taco280AI
05-03-2018, 04:14 AM
Army UH60 minimums are 8 hours a month, but you can substitute 2 of those hours for the sim. So some people are really getting 6 hours a month, on average. Even Warrants, not just commissioned who mainly fly desks.

As a junior warrant, prior to tracking, your additional duties are your primary duties and that's your focus because that is what you are judged on. Flying becomes your additional duty that you do now and then.

Then there's the focus on all the other stuff that comes before being a pilot, such as, field exercises (aka going camping in the field not to any actual benefit or purpose, but so command can check that box saying they did it), motorpool Monday, the mandatory briefings on transgender sensitivity, don't kill yourself brief, don't rape anyone brief, payday activities standing around having your dress uniform inspected, the absolutely pointless formations that allow a high ranking commissioned officer hear the sound of their own voice (some are actually good, but we could get rid of half the formation briefs and still be just fine), the hours and hours of mandatory online annual training that nobody even pays attention to and just clicks the button to get through... could go on and on, but that gives a quick idea.

Can't speak for the other services, but the Army is putting the focus on everything except flying, even for the pilots. Flight warrants became warrants to fly, but flying is the least of what you actually do, so that's why most of them want out.

BarrySeal
05-03-2018, 04:54 AM
I see alot of "flying is not the military pilot's priority anymore" (due to upper management directives)

so my question, is how is this situation reversed ? how many accidents/incidents need to happen ?

BigIron
05-03-2018, 03:25 PM
It would help if we got back to the basics, fixing and flying helicopters to support the grunts. A lot of administrative requirements take most of our time away from studying our weapon system and mentoring Marines. Unfortunately the Marine Corps doesn’t like change. It’s hard for Generals to reduce administrative requirements because they are worried about their own FITREP. Pilot morale is low, very low. By the time they wake up the pilot retention will be a crisis. I know of very few pilots looking to stay in.

bizzlepilot
05-03-2018, 03:48 PM
I see alot of "flying is not the military pilot's priority anymore" (due to upper management directives)

so my question, is how is this situation reversed ? how many accidents/incidents need to happen ?


i think C130driver and Han Solo are absolutely correct. And unfortunately I don't believe the situation will be reversed any time soon, if at all. It's the culture, and the fix will not be quick.

Han Solo
05-04-2018, 04:32 AM
I see alot of "flying is not the military pilot's priority anymore" (due to upper management directives)

so my question, is how is this situation reversed ? how many accidents/incidents need to happen ?

I started USAF flying in '97, and the "Dear Boss" letter was written in the 70s (?). It's always been that way and pilots have had to deal with it. I don't think lack of flying time makes pilots dangerous but it definitely detracts from peak performance and possibly even detracts from handling abnormal situations. I personally had a stretch where I was a guest IP (read 0 priority in the squadron that failed to fly me) and amassed all of 69 hours in 2 years in the viper. I was safe but certainly not proficient and had no business instructing. I recognized my lack of proficiency and dialed down my game, hopefully most other military pilots do the same.

i think C130driver and Han Solo are absolutely correct. And unfortunately I don't believe the situation will be reversed any time soon, if at all. It's the culture, and the fix will not be quick.

I saw in the other thread that it might have been a dual engine failure on the same side. Never flew a 4 engine plane so I'd have to ask C-130 guys, could the plane roll the way it did in the video with a 2 engine failure and then applying the wrong rudder?

rickair7777
05-04-2018, 06:11 AM
I started USAF flying in '97, and the "Dear Boss" letter was written in the 70s (?). It's always been that way and pilots have had to deal with it. I don't think lack of flying time makes pilots dangerous but it definitely detracts from peak performance and possibly even detracts from handling abnormal situations. I personally had a stretch where I was a guest IP (read 0 priority in the squadron that failed to fly me) and amassed all of 69 hours in 2 years in the viper. I was safe but certainly not proficient and had no business instructing. I recognized my lack of proficiency and dialed down my game, hopefully most other military pilots do the same.



I saw in the other thread that it might have been a dual engine failure on the same side. Never flew a 4 engine plane so I'd have to ask C-130 guys, could the plane roll the way it did in the video with a 2 engine failure and then applying the wrong rudder?

A same-side dual engine failure in any 4-engine plane is going to require very precise handling and procedures, and may not be recoverable in all corners of the normal envelope. In other words, you probably need both luck and skill. I can only imagine that applying opposite-from-correct inputs would be bad.

BrownDoubles
05-04-2018, 06:12 AM
I started USAF flying in '97, and the "Dear Boss" letter was written in the 70s (?). It's always been that way and pilots have had to deal with it. I don't think lack of flying time makes pilots dangerous but it definitely detracts from peak performance and possibly even detracts from handling abnormal situations. I personally had a stretch where I was a guest IP (read 0 priority in the squadron that failed to fly me) and amassed all of 69 hours in 2 years in the viper. I was safe but certainly not proficient and had no business instructing. I recognized my lack of proficiency and dialed down my game, hopefully most other military pilots do the same.



I saw in the other thread that it might have been a dual engine failure on the same side. Never flew a 4 engine plane so I'd have to ask C-130 guys, could the plane roll the way it did in the video with a 2 engine failure and then applying the wrong rudder?

Even applying the wrong rudder with a single engine out can produce significant roll. With two out on one side if appropriate rudder isn't applied rapidly the roll rate can get out of control. VMCA increases as the wing falls which increases the VMCA which increases the roll, which increases... the self licking ice cream cone. Losing two on one side on takeoff is challenging to say the least.

I understand what you are saying about being "dangerous" but couldn't one say that a pilot that isn't trained to proficiency and peak performance especially when it comes to abnormal situations is a safety issue? I don't have significant time as a single pilot operations; at least in a multi-crew platform the schedule can be risk mitigated with careful crew selection. Still doesn't make it right; our military crews should be trained at the top of their game so they can handle that abnormal, RADAR threat, challenging landing, airborne threat, put warheads on foreheads, and return home to momma and the kids safely. Thankfully I never found myself (and it doesn't sound like you did either) where I felt I hadn't flown enough to handle the flight at hand but that doesn't mean I was always ready to fly into a dirt LZ, in a RADAR environment every day and it shouldn't be that way.

Han Solo
05-04-2018, 06:23 AM
Even applying the wrong rudder with a single engine out can produce significant roll. With two out on one side if appropriate rudder isn't applied rapidly the roll rate can get out of control. VMCA increases as the wing falls which increases the VMCA which increases the roll, which increases... the self licking ice cream cone. Losing two on one side on takeoff is challenging to say the least.

I understand what you are saying about being "dangerous" but couldn't one say that a pilot that isn't trained to proficiency and peak performance especially when it comes to abnormal situations is a safety issue? I don't have significant time as a single pilot operations; at least in a multi-crew platform the schedule can be risk mitigated with careful crew selection. Still doesn't make it right; our military crews should be trained at the top of their game so they can handle that abnormal, RADAR threat, challenging landing, airborne threat, put warheads on foreheads, and return home to momma and the kids safely. Thankfully I never found myself (and it doesn't sound like you did either) where I felt I hadn't flown enough to handle the flight at hand but that doesn't mean I was always ready to fly into a dirt LZ, in a RADAR environment every day and it shouldn't be that way.

I am going on the assumption that the budget cuts haven't cut simulator time. I always did most of my EP training in the sim so while there is no replacement for air under your butt, if you're 100% on your sims then your ability to handle abnormals shouldn't be too badly affected.

BrownDoubles
05-04-2018, 06:47 AM
I am going on the assumption that the budget cuts haven't cut simulator time. I always did most of my EP training in the sim so while there is no replacement for air under your butt, if you're 100% on your sims then your ability to handle abnormals shouldn't be too badly affected.

Concur, training is training and often the simulator is just as good if not better than the aircraft. I'm glad you never found yourself there but I was addressing the statement:

"I don't think lack of flying time makes pilots dangerous but it definitely detracts from peak performance and possibly even detracts from handling abnormal situations."

Our warfighting crews should never find themselves with a significant gap from peak performance on any and all mission expectations and I think both you and I agree that we both found ourselves there during our careers.

Han Solo
05-04-2018, 07:43 AM
Concur, training is training and often the simulator is just as good if not better than the aircraft. I'm glad you never found yourself there but I was addressing the statement:

"I don't think lack of flying time makes pilots dangerous but it definitely detracts from peak performance and possibly even detracts from handling abnormal situations."

Our warfighting crews should never find themselves with a significant gap from peak performance on any and all mission expectations and I think both you and I agree that we both found ourselves there during our careers.

Other than when I was flying my butt off as a Tweet FAIP and considered myself a god of aviation, I don't think I was ever at peak performance, including during the Shock and Awe campaign. I was usually "good enough". Heck, half the time in the debrief I couldn't figure out what the patches seemed to do naturally in the air. Having said that, other than that 2 year stint where I hardly flew most of my career was a breeze compared to what the guys are now facing.

hydrostream
05-04-2018, 09:54 AM
The flip side of the coin is making sure units are conducting appropriate training when you do give them hours. All too often when our flying hours went up so did cross countries instead of training conducted according to the unit's Mission Essential Task List. There's a lot of resistance to training what's on the Commander's Task List or in the Aircrew Training Manual. "We're never gonna use this stuff so why bother? I'm sick of flying on the range."

I've seen this happen in multiple units now so it's not just an isolated thing.

As for accidents and safety, I've noticed in the unit that I'm leaving we have a significant rise in minor incidents. I'm not a safety guy, but it just feels like a precursor to something more serious. It's definitely a trend.

I'm not sure why, but I'd guess it's because we have lost most of our institutional knowledge on the maintenance side, our crew chiefs are brand new, and most of our experienced pilots have retired/separated. Command pressure has forced the new crew to try and maintain the same optempo we always have. Whatever the cause, I'm definitely concerned.

BarrySeal
05-04-2018, 02:04 PM
I was told by a ex C-130 IP (retired USAF) that two engines failed on one side is still "doable" aka flyable.

AirBear
05-04-2018, 02:32 PM
I was told by a ex C-130 IP (retired USAF) that two engines failed on one side is still "doable" aka flyable.

It is. C-130E's (accident plane was an early "H") have a peacetime MTOW of 155K. Under 120K with a certain min airspeed you can make it with 2 on 1 side out.

One thing you had to watch out for was "fin stall". There's an article about that here if you're interested:

https://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1531&context=publication

Since the accident plane was on it's final flight to the boneyard I doubt they were doing any proficiency work or simulated engine out maneuvers. Not sure what the fuel load SAV-TUS would be so the plane could have been over 120K.

BarrySeal
05-04-2018, 03:20 PM
It is. C-130E's (accident plane was an early "H") have a peacetime MTOW of 155K. Under 120K with a certain min airspeed you can make it with 2 on 1 side out.

One thing you had to watch out for was "fin stall". There's an article about that here if you're interested:

https://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1531&context=publication

Since the accident plane was on it's final flight to the boneyard I doubt they were doing any proficiency work or simulated engine out maneuvers. Not sure what the fuel load SAV-TUS would be so the plane could have been over 120K.

SAV-TUS/Davis Monthan = 1503 NM

Flight Route Planning (http://www6.landings.com/cgi-bin/nph-dist_apt?pass=193800885&&airport1=KSAV&airspeed=&trackwidth=10&endurance=&airport2=KDMA&display=map&waypoints=)

AirBear
05-05-2018, 09:32 AM
SAV-TUS/Davis Monthan = 1503 NM

Flight Route Planning (http://www6.landings.com/cgi-bin/nph-dist_apt?pass=193800885&&airport1=KSAV&airspeed=&trackwidth=10&endurance=&airport2=KDMA&display=map&waypoints=)

Figuring a 30 knot average headwind (rough guess) that'd be about a 6 hour flight. 1,000lbs fuel flow per engine plus reserves and climb out fuel would be around 30K of fuel. I forget the empty weight, maybe someone familiar with H models can help but I'd guess around 83K from data online. So they should have been under 120K.

From watching the video with the trucks in the foreground it sure looks like a rudder issue, or engine malfunction with rudder pushed the wrong way. Prop going into beta could have done it too.

MichaelRyanSD
05-06-2018, 02:21 PM
As an Army pilot with almost 20 years of IP, examiner, and Safety officer time I have seen/experienced great change with military aviation culture. Today's O-4/O-5s are more concerned with career KD time and PowerPoint metrics (e.g., flu shots and late OERs) versus having a safe/proficient flying force. Most WOs are counting the months, days, hours, and minutes to punch-out time. It really is a travesty.

First Year CW2 out of flight school, can confirm, counting the days until my initial obligation. Let's just say, the Army has a unique way of sucking that patriotism out of you.

KC10 FATboy
05-07-2018, 06:52 AM
I can only speak for the heavy USAF world.

Beginning when I was a young officer, the USAF began favoring outside the cockpit items for promotion rather than doing one's job of knowing your mission and airplane, flying airplanes, leading your crew, and completing the mission. This trend accelerated and continued up until my recent retirement.

When I was new to my first squadron, every program chief (training, stan eval, scheduling, safety) was at least a seasoned O-4 if not an O-5. Some time around 2006 we had two rounds of voluntary separation which targeted senior O-4s and O-3s. Overnight most of the experience (what little was left) walked out the door. This meant first tour O-3s were heading up FTU and the training programs. This previously was not done. I also saw continuity folders for the folks taking over your job go away as a thing of the past. People stopped doing them and nobody required it. The new folks were left bewildered by what the previous folks had done and how to do the job they were given.

Then we started seeing a trend of incidents/accidents. In the KC-10, my unit had a rash of taxi incidents as well as numerous gross navigational errors. Following the C-5 accident at Dover, there was a push of "back to basics" from Air Mobility Command. To me the push was little more than lip service to what the real problem was.

USAF big jet flying has not evolved like the civilian airline world has. I know I know I know -- we're not airlines. But 99% of the flying we do is similar. Today we still operate the KC-10, our checklists, and procedures almost nearly the same way when the aircraft first came into service in the early 80s. More so, there is a lack of standardization across the different fleets (unlike the airlines which fly a "one airline" concept of procedures or doing business). In the airline world you have one Flight Operations Manual for the entire airline, regardless of fleet. In the USAF, you have volumes of manuals (GP, FIH, AP, and the various regional supps), the Vol 2s and Vol 3s each of them having own supps depending on which command you are in, active guard or reserve, or which base you're assigned to. It's a effing mess. More so, the standards is a mess because the USAF doesn't give a standard check ride or check sim. Your check ride depends on your check airman and what exactly he wants to see. There are some requirements but the details of the flight itself are not specific and they can do whatever or have you perform whatever procedure.

When we switched from carrying paper regulations to digital USB sticks, the lack of general knowledge of aviation was noticeable on those who grew up in the new system.

Training. Even when I left the KC-10, the way we trained was a huge problem. Pilots were spring loaded into instantly flipping switches during an emergency which required recall from memory items. I can't tell you how many times I gave a simple electrical problem to the engineer, but both the engineer and one of the pilots performed the boldface recall memory items for the loss of all generators or electrical power -- thus totally screwing up the issue and confusing themselves. In the airline world, we are taught to relax, give it some time, smoothly and with coordination from the other pilot work the issue. Nothing is fast unless the fuselage is on fire.

Back to that C-5 crash. AMC blamed the pilots for rushing and not following the checklist. However, that's exactly how they trained and flew engine failures/shutdowns while in the pattern during normal training missions. Meaning, they way they trained wasn't how they should have handled a real engine failure/shutdown. They should have been training those procedures only in the simulator and let the scenario play out without rushing the crew -- the proverbial getting ones' ducks in a row.

Since I left the 10 I heard of more and more mistakes the crews were making. We've averted disaster numerous times but they never should have even gotten that close to being disasters.

This is just my opinion. This is my experience of being a military and civilian pilot, seeing the difference between the two, the constant change towards perfection in the airline world, and watching the annual decline of military pilots since I started this profession back in 1997.

TankerDriver
05-07-2018, 10:09 AM
I can only speak for the heavy USAF world.

Beginning when I was a young officer, the USAF began favoring outside the cockpit items for promotion rather than doing one's job of knowing your mission and airplane, flying airplanes, leading your crew, and completing the mission. This trend accelerated and continued up until my recent retirement.

When I was new to my first squadron, every program chief (training, stan eval, scheduling, safety) was at least a seasoned O-4 if not an O-5. Some time around 2006 we had two rounds of voluntary separation which targeted senior O-4s and O-3s. Overnight most of the experience (what little was left) walked out the door. This meant first tour O-3s were heading up FTU and the training programs. This previously was not done. I also saw continuity folders for the folks taking over your job go away as a thing of the past. People stopped doing them and nobody required it. The new folks were left bewildered by what the previous folks had done and how to do the job they were given.

Then we started seeing a trend of incidents/accidents. In the KC-10, my unit had a rash of taxi incidents as well as numerous gross navigational errors. Following the C-5 accident at Dover, there was a push of "back to basics" from Air Mobility Command. To me the push was little more than lip service to what the real problem was.

USAF big jet flying has not evolved like the civilian airline world has. I know I know I know -- we're not airlines. But 99% of the flying we do is similar. Today we still operate the KC-10, our checklists, and procedures almost nearly the same way when the aircraft first came into service in the early 80s. More so, there is a lack of standardization across the different fleets (unlike the airlines which fly a "one airline" concept of procedures or doing business). In the airline world you have one Flight Operations Manual for the entire airline, regardless of fleet. In the USAF, you have volumes of manuals (GP, FIH, AP, and the various regional supps), the Vol 2s and Vol 3s each of them having own supps depending on which command you are in, active guard or reserve, or which base you're assigned to. It's a effing mess. More so, the standards is a mess because the USAF doesn't give a standard check ride or check sim. Your check ride depends on your check airman and what exactly he wants to see. There are some requirements but the details of the flight itself are not specific and they can do whatever or have you perform whatever procedure.

When we switched from carrying paper regulations to digital USB sticks, the lack of general knowledge of aviation was noticeable on those who grew up in the new system.

Training. Even when I left the KC-10, the way we trained was a huge problem. Pilots were spring loaded into instantly flipping switches during an emergency which required recall from memory items. I can't tell you how many times I gave a simple electrical problem to the engineer, but both the engineer and one of the pilots performed the boldface recall memory items for the loss of all generators or electrical power -- thus totally screwing up the issue and confusing themselves. In the airline world, we are taught to relax, give it some time, smoothly and with coordination from the other pilot work the issue. Nothing is fast unless the fuselage is on fire.

Back to that C-5 crash. AMC blamed the pilots for rushing and not following the checklist. However, that's exactly how they trained and flew engine failures/shutdowns while in the pattern during normal training missions. Meaning, they way they trained wasn't how they should have handled a real engine failure/shutdown. They should have been training those procedures only in the simulator and let the scenario play out without rushing the crew -- the proverbial getting ones' ducks in a row.

Since I left the 10 I heard of more and more mistakes the crews were making. We've averted disaster numerous times but they never should have even gotten that close to being disasters.

This is just my opinion. This is my experience of being a military and civilian pilot, seeing the difference between the two, the constant change towards perfection in the airline world, and watching the annual decline of military pilots since I started this profession back in 1997.Good post. I agree that standardization is an issue. AMC A3V and A3T is and will always be a small group of individuals with hardly enough time to tend to their AMC level PowerPoint briefings for the generals, nevermind worrying about standardization amongst the MAF. That is why it is really up to the field to voice their concerns through RTRB's and their respective councils when they feel something is wrong instead of letting the ship steer itself into an iceberg.

As far this accident is concerned, definitely looks like mechanical failure of some sort and definitely not a typical scenerio the crew had trained for. It shall be interesting what the find.

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AirBear
05-07-2018, 10:37 AM
That's strange about the standardization in the USAF. Back when I flew C-130's in the 1980's we were very standardized. During my 2nd tour of duty at Howard AFB, Republic of Panama we often flew with crews from other bases as we only had 1 special mission plane that was our own, and we couldn't use it for proficiency work due to sensitive equipment on board.

Sometimes we swiped a plain cargo C-130 that was laying over and used just our own crews, other times we used partial crews that brought that plane in. As safety officer I even did an Embassy Run to South America with a McChord AFB crew with a PIC that didn't have the quals to fly South American trips. No problems at all.

Now fast forward to my early days at USAir flying a DC-9 out of PIT with the DC-9 "Sky God" Captains. I was astounded at the lack of standardization. Checklist usage was dismal, everyone did a before takeoff and before landing but all others seemed to be considered optional. After the series of accidents we had things got a lot better.

USMCFLYR
05-07-2018, 11:13 AM
KC10 FATboy -

I thought that was a good reply too and appreciate your insight over the last many years of the evolution of your community.

I will say that one part that stuck out to me was your comments about the 'Immediate Action items' or whatever they are called from a particular community.

This was one of the biggest eye openers that I experienced when transitioning to my 'civilian flying' (non-airline world - but P135 type at least). My military community was all about how fast you needed to knock out those immediate actions items! They wouldn't be immediate action items if they weren't important to the safe outcome of the emergency requiring such time sensitive action - and this include of course rote memory recall down to the EXACT VERBIAGE on the written tests!

Now I get the - 'don't toucha' a thing' till 1,500' for example, or some bumbling through the recitation of the steps, etc.... It is hard to argue with this methodology since the civilian world has such a good safety record so I've worked to change my mindset through the years.

I don't know much about USAF flying - especially the heavies like you mention, but I was very surprised to hear that you found KC-10 flying to be so NON-standardized. I would have bet a $1 that standardization was strict across the board. Have you not found that to be the case in the earlier parts of your career? Think all the way back to UPT - were T-37s not flown exactly the same throughout all of the UPTs bases? Maybe former FAIPs will speak up here - especially any that flew at the different bases.

Thanks for sharing again.

TankerDriver
05-09-2018, 09:59 AM
KC10 FATboy -

I thought that was a good reply too and appreciate your insight over the last many years of the evolution of your community.

I will say that one part that stuck out to me was your comments about the 'Immediate Action items' or whatever they are called from a particular community.

This was one of the biggest eye openers that I experienced when transitioning to my 'civilian flying' (non-airline world - but P135 type at least). My military community was all about how fast you needed to knock out those immediate actions items! They wouldn't be immediate action items if they weren't important to the safe outcome of the emergency requiring such time sensitive action - and this include of course rote memory recall down to the EXACT VERBIAGE on the written tests!

Now I get the - 'don't toucha' a thing' till 1,500' for example, or some bumbling through the recitation of the steps, etc.... It is hard to argue with this methodology since the civilian world has such a good safety record so I've worked to change my mindset through the years.

I don't know much about USAF flying - especially the heavies like you mention, but I was very surprised to hear that you found KC-10 flying to be so NON-standardized. I would have bet a $1 that standardization was strict across the board. Have you not found that to be the case in the earlier parts of your career? Think all the way back to UPT - were T-37s not flown exactly the same throughout all of the UPTs bases? Maybe former FAIPs will speak up here - especially any that flew at the different bases.

Thanks for sharing again.In the heavy world, we rely on the FTU's for standardization. The problem is, you have tech order and technique. Lots of technidures out there amongst the individual airframe communities, but nothing real standard MAF- wide. We're getting there when it comes to VVM and CRM. We've finally adopted VVM into our Vol 3's in most, if not all heavy MDS. When you have 20+ some odd KC-135 units out there across the Active and ARC units, you will definitely find differences in the way people do things from one unit to another. When it comes to the ARC, you'll definitely see some airline influence in the way we do things. I think the USAF got used to all of their pilots having aerospace engineering degrees at some point and had -1's written accordingly. Most -1's are written for engineers and not pilots. The KC-135 -1 is horrible when it comes to EP's. We don't use QRH's (but should).

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