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VIDEO: National Air Cargo 747 Crashes at Bagram, Afghanistan

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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The crash site of a National Air Cargo 747 (Credit: Albert Ramirez, Twitter)

On Monday morning, a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 N949CA, operated on behalf of US Mobility Command, has crashed just after takeoff from Bagram Air Base with 7 crew members on board.

The following is a dashcam video showing the full crash. You can see the aircraft’s nose pitch up heavily, stall, then fall to the ground.

The Aviation Herald reports that the aircraft appeared to stall just after takeoff, and that the crash may have been caused by a shifting load.

METAR at the time of the crash:
AKB 291350Z 18004KT 7000 BKN050 13/04 Q1016 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU
OAKB 291250Z 30007KT 9999 SCT040CB BKN060 15/01 Q1015 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU
OAKB 291150Z 10017G27KT 9999 VCTS SCT090CB BKN120 16/06 Q1013 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU
OAKB 291050Z 11020G30KT 9999 SCT090 OVC120 16/05 Q1012 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU
OAKB 290950Z 10020G30KT 9999 SCT080CB 17/06 Q1012 NOSIG RMK BLU+ BLU+
OAKB 290850Z 10025G42KT 9999 FEW060CB SCT070 17/05 Q1013 NOSIG RMK BLU+ BLU+
OAKB 290750Z 11020G30KT 9999 BKN060 17/06 Q1014 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU
OAKB 290650Z 10017KT 9999 FEW050 BKN060 16/05 Q1015 NOSIG RMK BLU BLU

National Air Cargo 747 N952CA, sister aircraft of the crash N949CA

National Air Cargo 747 N952CA, sister aircraft of the crash N949CA

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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  • Really sad news, God bless the crew & their families, our prays are with you.
    Paul & Veteran Avia crews

  • Rest in Peace..

  • scallywag

    Because who can resist scary air plane crashes? And life unpredictably goes on…


  • Amakiir

    Oh man, this video reminds me of the DH4 crash, which I believe was caused by the pilot failing to remove the gust lock. I heard this crash was due to a cargo shift.

  • Thank God it was cargo and not full of passengers, must have been a cargo shift or an elevator trim stall…metars looked decent, ceilings floating around 5k wouldn’t be a factor.

    still unbelievable..

    God help the family and friends of the crew.

  • Nalliah Thayabharan

    The loadmaster performs the calculations and plans cargo placement to
    keep the aircraft within permissible center of gravity limits throughout
    the flight. Loadmasters ensure cargo is placed on the aircraft in such a
    way as to prevent overloading sensitive sections of the airframe and
    cargo floor.
    The loadmaster primarily supervises loading crews and
    procedures. Once positioned aboard the aircraft, the loadmaster ensures
    the cargo is secured against movement. Chains, straps, and integrated
    cargo locks are among the most common tools used to secure the cargo.
    Because cargo may shift during abrupt maneuvers, the loadmaster must
    determine the appropriate amount and placement of cargo restraint.The cargo flight N8-102 crew were heard on VHF air-band frequency reporting that some of the load of five heavy military vehicles weighing more than 70 tons in the cargo hold had shifted and the National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 stalled. National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 crashed and erupted into flames on impact. The crash site was near the end of the 11,849 ft long runway 03 within the perimeter of the Bagram airfield. All seven crew – Jamie Brokaw, pilot, Monroe, MI, Brad Hasler, pilot, Trenton, MI, Jeremy Lipka, pilot, Brooklyn, MI, Rinku Summan, pilot, Canton, MI, Michael Sheets, loadmaster, Ypsilanti, MI, Gary Stockdale, mechanic, Romulus, MI, Timothy Garrett, mechanic, Louisville, KY were killed on impact.
    There are many things that could go wrong. If it was palletized, a lock could of failed. A chain holding the vehicle might of been weak and broke. Or a tiedown could of failed. There are many things that could of happened to cause the high nose pitch. Cargo shift is a high probability. Center of gravity on an aircraft is very important, especially on cargo planes. Watching the video makes me think that the cargo load got loose and shifted back and caused the rapid nose high pitch. It´s a very deep stall because the aircraft seem to be almost vertical in the rolling.

    Similarly August 11, 1997, a Fine Air DC-8 aircraft loaded with 45 tons of fabric, departed Miami International airport, just moments into its flight the DC-8 came tumbling down killing at least 5 people. The DC-8 upon takeoff became tail heavy, stalled and then crashed in a Miami, business district just several hundred feet from the runway. Investigators have recovered several cargo latches from the DC-8 and it has been reported that only one of the latches was in the locked position. This would indicate that the cargo on the DC-8 upon takeoff had shifted to the tail off the aircraft making it tail heavy producing an uncontrolled sharp nose up in the rolling.

    During the takeoff roll from runway 25R at Frankfurt at 0804Z, October 11, 1983, Flying Tigers 747-200 had the similar load shift. The pallet/load which shifted was pipes used for nuclear power plant cooling systems. The airplane was not written off and was flying again about 6 weeks later, having been repaired by a Boeing swat team. The swat team removed the aft fuselage and tail sections, replaced the pressure dome/bulkhead, aft fuselage and the tails sections

    • Joe Citizen

      well written.

  • RIP..

  • MrEthiopian

    Rip – Sad regardless of any facts

    Who took the video, US military K9 unit, you can also hear his phone pinging, specific static signature in recording, not that it matters its just how I think.

    • David Kernaghan

      British by the sound of it.

  • Hi ! New Video with Crash was leaked ! 10 metres near Explosion footage here : http://goalshighlights.com/us-boeing-747-crash-camera-10-metres-near-impact/

  • Sarah_Gomez

    If you’re a pilot trying to get out of a situation like this, what are your options if any? Once cargo slides, is it too late to tip try to tip the nose down as a feeble attempt to balance the plane? I’m not a pilot so I’m just curious.

    RIP crew members.

    • W B

      Unfortunately, there is nothing the crew can do when tons of cargo shifts at take-off. The flight controls can’t compensate for a shift of the center of mass beyond a certain point, no matter the aircraft. That’s why loadmasters are so important and well trained.
      Pray for the families.

    • The show is over.. Just the shouting.
      This brings back so dreadful memerorie of the FairChild B-52 sinking into the Earth.
      Peace be with their survivors. My deepest condolences.

  • Parrot Sarnoso

    Anyone noticed how the flaps are full down?, the pilot killed the airspeed with the flaps down and landing gears down, not sure why he pulled the nose up, and stalled the airplane. It doesn’t look like a “cargo shift” just like the FineAir DC-8 in Miami, Florida some years ago.

    • W B

      Wow, you’re good. You can tell from this video that the flaps are ‘full down,’ not just set for take-off. The NTSB needs your expertise. I bet they will miss that, and just believe the flight data recorder. Be sure and tell them that the pilot should have taken off with the wheels up to keep from killing the airspeed. They’ll appreciate your help.

      • Parrot Sarnoso

        I almost got killed on a DC-3. We overloaded it with fuel and some cargo, landing gear got stuck during take off, never retracted, this drag killed the airspeed, we returned to the runway, thanks God !..wings were shacking, airspeed near stall, full power. And yes, I am a pilot. That 747 has full flaps, is not a mere 10 degrees.

        • Ed Kostiuk

          Where were you flying the DC-3? I have over 5,000 hours on the Marine Corps C-117 (DC-3) having had a similiar problem back in the 70s with and overloaded a/c.

    • Joe Citizen


  • Did it completely evaporate leaving no trace of the plane ever being there. No body’s, seats, plane engines, nothing at all left at the scene?

  • scott

    I bet someone may have left the pitot covers on.if true those pilots thought they were putting out more then they really were.time will tell.

  • rotboy

    I just left Afghanistan 3 weeks ago, i was also assigned in bagram (AFB) for three months back in 2011 and worked at the far end of the runway, i had flown in and out of bagram many times as an auditor and was quite familiar with the layout there, this is bagram no question, the picture below also shows a picture taken from a vehicle, it is a Toyota pickup with gold decals, this is a very common vehicle used in Afghanistan by all, government and contractors. This accident is authentic and i have many friends in bagram and have talked with them this past week the accident is very much true, i have flown on many cargo planes traveling all 4 corners of Afghanistan either by the US Airforce C130 mostly and many private contractor flights or helicopters, i will say from more then 100 flights esp. Cargo planes the cargo is well secured and inspected esp the US Airforce flights, how I know we are usually onboard first, then the cargo is loaded, passengers site toward the front of the aircraft so you have a birdseye view of the cargo loaded and the personnel loading it and what they are doing to secure it. My heart goes out to the crews onboard that lost their lives, they are professionals and take their job very seriously.

  • mrbenmp3

    Rest in Peace.. laptop gia re

  • Larry Evers

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the National Air Cargo Family for their loss. National’s distinguished cargo service to the US military and coalition countries world-wide is without question. Many factors contribute to a tragedy such as this, no need to try to “Monday morning quarterback.” May God comfort everyone affected by this loss. (L Evers {USAF retired} in Tampa, FL).