Pilot errors blamed for crash in Kuwait
April 1, 2000
By Rod Hafemeister
Belleville News-Democrat

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE — A series of pilot errors and the air crew’s failure to correct him caused a December cargo plane accident in Kuwait that killed three airmen and injured seven others, Air Mobility Command officials said Friday.

Two airmen from Scott Air Force Base were on the plane but were not injured.

The crew was attempting to land the C-130 Hercules using an unauthorized instrument approach, had failed to get an updated weather report from the tower before landing and failed to monitor their instruments, losing track of where they were in relation to the ground and coming in at too
steep an angle, according to the report of a special accident investigation board.

“As a result, the crew suffered spatial disorientation at a critical phase of the flight; thereby, resulting in the crew’s loss of situational awareness and failing to recognize an unsafe descent,” wrote Col. Frank Laras, president of the accident investigation board.

The pilot, Capt. Darron A. Haughn, was a relatively inexperienced commander. He had just graduated from aircraft commander training on Oct. 18. The report states he “violated numerous regulations.”

Commanders attempted to offset Haughn’s inexperience by assigning him an above-average co-pilot, an instructor navigator and an experienced flight engineer, but they all made mistakes that contributed to the accident, investigators found.

All could face disciplinary action for the accident.

“One of the purposes of the accident investigation board investigative team is to gather and preserve evidence that can be used to support disciplinary and adverse administrative actions,” said Kelly Green, a command spokesman. “Now that the report is complete, Air Force officials
will study the results and determine whether punitive or administrative action is warranted.”

The C-130 and crew were sent to Kuwait in late November from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

The plane was carrying 86 passengers into Al Jabar Air Base near Kuwait City early on the morning of Dec. 10 when it struck the ground about half a mile short of the runway, tearing loose the main gear and driving pieces of gear and fuselage into the cargo compartment where the
passengers were sitting.

The plane returned to the air and struck a ground-based instrument landing system antenna. The crew declared an emergency and made a no-gear landing at Kuwait City International Airport.

Killed were Capt. Michael D. Geragosian of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.; Airman First Class Benjamin T. Hall of F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; and Airman First Class Warren T. Willis, of Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

All died of multiple blunt force injuries received in the aborted landing at Al Jabar, the report said.

Orignally Published, April 1, 2000, Belleville News Democrat, Belleville, Illinois
(c) 2000, Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville, Ill.


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