The pilot of a C-130J jammed a control yoke in place by propping it up with a night-vision goggle case, but forgot it was there when he tried to take off again Oct. 2, causing the crew to lose control of the plane and crash, killing 14 service members, contractors, and allied troops, resulting in an October crash that killed 14 according to an Air Force Air Mobility Command accident report released Friday.
When the crew landed at Jalalabad Airfield in eastern Afghanistan and began offloading cargo, t. The pilot "raised the elevators mounted to the horizontal stabilizer by pulling back on the yoke," according to the report. That said, which "provided additional clearance to assist with offloading tall cargo."
After holding the yoke by hand for a while, the pilot eventually decided to keep it in place with a night vision goggle (NVG) case.
"However, because the pilots were operating in darkened nighttime flying conditions and wearing NVGs, neither pilot recognized and removed the NVG case after loading operations were complete or during takeoff," the Air Force said in a statement.
Once airborne, the aircraft started to pitch upward. The co-pilot thought the problem was a trim malfunction "resulting in improper recovery techniques," the service said.
"The rapid increase in pitch angle resulted in a stall from which the pilots were unable to recover," according to the report said. "The aircraft impacted approximately 28 seconds after liftoff, right of the runway, within the confines of Jalalabad Airfield."
The crash killed all 11 people onboard the C-130J. The plane also hit a guard tower, which killed three Afghan troops who were working there.
"Our hearts go out to the family members and friends of those killed in this accident," said Brig. Gen. Patrick Mordente, the head of the accident investigation board.
In October, the Air Force identified the six airmen killed in the crash: Capt. Jordan B. Pierson, 28, the aircraft's pilot, and Capt. Jonathan J. Golden, 33, the co-pilot; as well as Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Hammond, 26, and Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris, 21, the two loadmasters.
All four were members part of the 39th Airlift Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
Senior Airman SrANathan C. Sartain, 29, and Airman 1st ClassA1C Kcey E. Ruiz, 21, of the 66th Security Forces Squadron at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., were also onboard as fly-away security team members to guard the aircraft, cargo, crew and passengers.
The other five individuals killed aboard the plane were civilian contractors.
The aircraft itself was from the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess, the Air Force said. While operating in Afghanistan, the airmen were assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.
"We are all mourning the loss of these incredible young men, but no one more than those who lost their loved ones," said Col. Stephen Hodge, the 317th Airlift Group commander, said in a statement in October shortly following the crash. "These airmen were our friends and our family, and the halls of the group and the skies overhead will never be the same without them. Though they are no longer with us, the memories of those whose lives they touched will remain forever."
President Barack Obama said the crash was a reminder of the "sacrifice brave Americans and our Afghan partners make each and every day in the name of freedom and security."
"Their willingness to serve so selflessly will not be forgotten," Obama said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families and loved ones during this difficult hour. May God bless their souls."