Sunday, September 26, 2010

Curse of the Cargomaster Update

Our Crew Colleague, Lou Martin, offers the following commentary regarding the ditching of C-133B, S/N 59-0534 off Okinawa in April, 1967:

I was the pilot investigator for the ditching accident on April 30, 1967. The ten members of the accident board quickly determined that the reason the propellers were stuck in fixed pitch was due to a rupture of the electrical power in the main junction box, due to the inherent vibrations of the aircraft.

When voting on the primary cause, I was shocked as nine members had stated “Pilot Error” with just myself voting “Material Failure.” The contention taken by the board was that if the pilot had not descended to 2,500 feet the engines would not have flamed out. I pointed out that unless Kadena could have raised the airport to 6,000 feet he was going to have to descend in attempting to land.

After more votes we were unanimous in listing the primary cause as “Material Failure.” We now had to come up with a recommendation to prevent similar accidents. I recommended the feasibility of establishing an “Estimated Engine Flameout Procedure” (EEFA), which was met with sarcasm as the board members thought it would be ridiculous to suggest such a maneuver. However, it was coordinated with Headquarters 22nd Air Force and sent to Edwards Air Force Base. The procedure developed by test pilots is outlined on pages 71, 72 and 319 in Cal Taylor’s book Remembering an Unsung Giant and on page 389 in my book, Close Encounters with a Pilot’s Grim Reaper, ACs were required to perform three EEFA approaches until all aircraft were modified. The recommendation, initially scoffed at, was recognized as a significant proposal by the board president and General Graham, commander 21st Air Force wrote, “Please convey my appreciation to Colonel Martin for his outstanding performance during the ditching investigation. His idea of establishing an EEFA was accepted and developed through flight testing and may be significant in averting another accident of this type.”


Ref: Click on the following link (in red) to go to the Aviation Safety Network "Accident Description" for the Flight Safety Foundation.

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