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Metalbasher

C-130 News: First AC-130J Prototype Declared Loss

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Investigators declared the first prototype AC-130J Ghostrider gunship a total loss after the airframe was severely overstressed after departing controlled flight during a test sortie from Eglin AFB, Fla., officials announced. As a result of the incident, "the mishap aircraft exceeded its design limit load to an extent that rendered it unsafe for flight and is considered a total loss to the Air Force," according to Air Force Materiel Command's Accident Investigation Board report, released on Nov. 6. The crew was performing a high-angle, side-slip at Eglin AFB, Fla., during handling tests of the developmental gunship when the aircraft departed controlled flight at 15,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico, according to the AIB. The AC-130J "tumbled inverted" before test pilots were able to recover controlled flight, entering a vertical dive, on April 21. The aircraft lost 5,000 feet altitude, pulled 3.19 Gs, and oversped the flaps' maximum allowed airspeed by 100 knots before returning to level flight. The AIB determined the pilot's excessive rudder input and failure to quickly recover from uncontrolled flight were the primary cause of the mishap. Problems with the aircraft's warning system, pilot disorientation, confusion from being hit with unsecured equipment, and inadequate technical guidance also contributed to the mishap. The aircraft, serial number 09-5710, also suffered a similar incident in February, and has been grounded since the April mishap. A second AC-130J prototype was delivered to commence operational testing at nearby Hurlburt Field, Fla., in July. Loss of the aircraft is estimated at $115.6 million.

View original article at AirForceMagazine.com


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It's impressive that the airplane made it back. I wonder what it looks like.

The title of the thread makes me wonder - will this airplane be turned into a static display out front?

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I'd like to see the aircraft too...hearing from the crew/seeing some of the video (you know they video for OT&E/DT&E) would be good too.  Time will tell regarding the static display but it's already been written off as a total loss.  I'm sure there is a fairly large "save" list of parts and components that can be salvaged for use on other J models (given the USAF's limited supply of spare parts).  I guess a lot will be determined how it is dispositioned with regard to what parts can cannot be used; people are funny about using parts off crashed aircraft, although this was not crashed, it was involved in an "incident".  If they can in fact "save" parts, i.e. engines, doors, flight controls etc, it might prove difficult at this time to fill in the voids of the missing parts.  If they cannot "save" parts, that might be a different story and it might go on display a lot earlier than anyone intended on having a AC-130J on display. 

 

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The more I think of this I'm reminded of the Polish C-130E that took a low-level sightseeing tour of northern Afghanistan and how bent up it was from the Gs. I wonder how they disposed of that airplane.

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Just now, Railrunner130 said:

The more I think of this I'm reminded of the Polish C-130E that took a low-level sightseeing tour of northern Afghanistan and how bent up it was from the Gs. I wonder how they disposed of that airplane.

It was chopped up in place.

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That E was still ours, being used by Poland until we fixed-up & gave them their other ones. 

I wouldn't consider the AC-J a total loss...lots of spares are now available.

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When I was at Goose Bay Labrador in 1966 we had an H model (65-976) that went into a flat wing spin,they were doing power on stalls,at 10k and recovered it at 2500 ft,the w/w doors had popped out in to the air stream and were ripped to the top of the w/w,.Lockheed sent a team to look at it,the "G" meter was pegged in both directions.They told us to fix it and fly it.From then on it required 2 1/2 degrees left trim to fly straight and level.

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