(Last Updated On: June 24, 2018)
First Super Hercules Indian Air Force C-130J Crash, while second one for Lockheed Martin (OEM) since start of C-130J Production
In a setback to India, an Indian Air Force C-130J Crash took place on 28 March, 2014 about 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior Air Base. The C130J had taken-off from Agra Air Base. All five crew members, including four officers were killed in the fatal incident.
Among the five men killed in the crash were the squadron’s second-in-command and a trainee pilot who was being supervised on low-level maneuvers.
Pilot Error & Wake Turbulence from Lead Aircraft Led to IAF C-130J Aircraft Crash
The 2014 crash of IAF’s special operations C-130 J aircraft is believed to have been caused by the transporter inadvertently flying into the wake of the lead plane during the tactical training mission, leading to a loss of control at low altitude and the accident that killed all five crew members.
While the contents of the final board of inquiry (accident investigation) nay never be made public, informed resources who have talked to IAF pilots and engineers stated that Pilot-Error was among the leading factors which led to the C-130J crash. According to IAF technical experts, the mishap aircraft was flying in No. 2 position in a low level close formation only 300 ft above ground level. The flight crew of the mishap aircraft were unable to maintain the required minimum separation between the two aircraft in formation, which led to the No. 2 aircraft entering in a jet-wash/wake of the No. 1 aircraft. The wake turbulence caused severe disruption of airflow over the wings of the No. 2 aircraft resulting in loss of lift and an imminent stall. As the aircraft was flying only 300 feet above ground level, the aircraft and its ill-fated crew had absolutely no margin to recover from the induced stall.
The findings have ruled out any technical fault and suggested that the aircraft failed to adopt a flight path to avoid the massive wake generated by the four engines of the lead C-130J. An error of judgement by the pilot could have contributed to the incident, the findings suggest.
The probability of such a loss of control is particularly high when heavy aircraft are conducting maneuvers close to the ground. In this case, both aircraft were flying at 300 feet above ground level and had to climb to 1,000 feet when the accident occurred.
While the lead aircraft of the formation successfully climbed to 1,000 feet after the simulated airdrop, the second aircraft crashed into a river bed without any warning or distress signal.
This, sources said, suggests a sudden, drastic loss of control due to the turbulence generated by the lead C-130 J and is being corroborated by the air crash investigators with data from the flight recorders.
Once the inquiry findings are finalized, new safety directives are likely to be generated within the air force to avoid such accidents. The air force had also sought the help of the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, to decipher the voice recorder as well as the flight data recorder.
The loss of IAF’s most modern special operations C-130J aircraft on March 28, 2014 was particularly shocking given that the plane had been inducted into the air force in 2010 and was commanded by Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, an experienced pilot and was second in command of the 77 Veiled Vipers Squadron, based at the Hindon station right outside the country’s capital, The aircraft and crew of IAF No. 77 Squadron, have been actively engaged in multiple support operations (military and civil), including the past catastrophic floods in North India. The crew of the mishap aircraft were identified by the air force as Wing Commander Prashant Joshi (Pilot), Wing Commander Raji Nair (Co-pilot), Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra (Pilot undergoing training), Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer KP Singh (Systems Operator).
The C-130J that crashed was one of six aircraft that the IAF began inducting in 2011 on a $1.1-billion deal signed in 2008. The aircraft are
In addition to the Indian air force, the C-130J is a platform also under consideration by the Border Security Force, the National Disaster Management Authority and the Indian Navy for its medium range maritime reconnaissance requirement.