ASN Aircraft accident Lockheed WC-130H Hercules 65-0968 Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, GA (SAV)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 2 May 2018
Type:Silhouette image of generic C130 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed WC-130H Hercules
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 65-0968
MSN: 4110
First flight: 1965
Engines: 4 Allison T56-A-15
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:ca 2 km NE of Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, GA (SAV) (   United States of America)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, GA (SAV/KSAV), United States of America
Destination airport:Tucson-Davis Monthan AFB, AZ (DMA/KDMA), United States of America
The Lockheed WC-130H Hercules was destroyed when it impacted Augusta Road (Highway 21) and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Georgia, USA. All nine occupants suffered fatal injuries.
The aircraft was attached to the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and had been undergoing routine maintenance in Savannah before heading to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
The MA had been at Savannah for almost a month, since 9 April 2018, to undergo prescheduled fuel cell maintenance and unscheduled work on engine number one by 156 AW maintenance personnel using the facilities of the 165th Airlift Wing.
During takeoff roll, engine no.1 RPM fluctuated and did not provide normal RPM when the captain advanced the throttle lever into the flight range for takeoff. Approximately eight seconds prior to aircraft rotation, engine no.1 RPM and torque significantly decayed, which substantially lowered thrust. The fluctuation on roll and significant performance decay went unrecognized by the crew until rotation, when the captain commented on aircraft control challenges and the aircraft veered left and nearly departed the runway into the grass before it achieved flight.
As the crew retracted the landing gear, they identified the engine no.1 RPM and torque malfunction and the captain called for engine shutdown. However, the crew failed to complete the Takeoff Continued After Engine Failure procedure, the Engine Shutdown procedure, and the After Takeoff checklist as directed by the Flight Manual, and the aircraft's flaps remained at 50 percent. Additionally, the captain banked left into the inoperative engine, continued to climb, and varied left and right rudder inputs. At an altitude of approximately 900 feet mean sea level and 131 knots indicated air speed, the captain input over nine degrees of left rudder, the aircraft skidded left, the left wing stalled, and the aircraft departed controlled flight and impacted the terrain on Georgia State Highway 21.

Probable Cause:

USAF AIB CONCLUSION: "After a comprehensive investigation into this mishap, I find, by a preponderance of the evidence, the cause of the mishap was MP1’s improper application of left rudder, which resulted in a subsequent skid below three-engine minimum controllable airspeed, a left-wing stall, and the MA’s departure from controlled flight.
Additionally, I find, by a preponderance of the evidence, the MC’s failure to adequately prepare for emergency actions, the MC’s failure to reject the takeoff, the MC’s failure to properly execute appropriate after takeoff and engine shutdown checklists and procedures, and the Mishap Maintainers’ failure to properly diagnose and repair engine number one substantially contributed
to the mishap."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 192 days (6 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Loss of control


METAR Weather report:
14:53 UTC / 10:53 local time:
KSAV 021453Z VRB06KT 10SM FEW035 FEW250 24/14 A3035 RMK AO2 SLP277 T02440139 53009

15:33 UTC / 11:33 local time:
KSAV 021533Z 04008KT 10SM FEW035 FEW250 26/14 A3035 RMK AO2 T02560139

15:53 UTC / 11:53 local time:
KSAV 021553Z VRB03KT 10SM FEW015 FEW035 SCT250 26/14 A3034 RMK AO2 SLP274 FU FEW015 T02560139


photo of Lockheed-HC-130H-Hercules-65-0968
accident date: 02-05-2018
type: Lockheed HC-130H Hercules
registration: 65-0968
photo of Lockheed-WC-130H-Hercules-65-0968
accident date: 02-05-2018
type: Lockheed WC-130H Hercules
registration: 65-0968
photo of Lockheed-WC-130H-Hercules-65-0968
accident date: 02-05-2018
type: Lockheed WC-130H Hercules
registration: 65-0968
photo of Lockheed-WC-130H-Hercules-65-0968
in a right bank after takeoff
photo of Lockheed-WC-130H-Hercules-65-0968
just before loss of control
photo of Lockheed-WC-130H-Hercules-65-0968

Video, social media

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, GA to Tucson-Davis Monthan AFB, AZ as the crow flies is 2767 km (1730 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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