Pilot said 'this is fun' before fatal Blackwater crash




 
--
 
October 3rd, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Pilot said 'this is fun' before fatal Blackwater crash


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A 2004 crash that killed everyone on board -- three crew members and three U.S. troops -- was caused by pilots from a Blackwater plane taking a low-level run through a mountain canyon in Afghanistan, testimony revealed Tuesday.
"I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was," the doomed plane's cockpit voice recorder captured the pilot saying shortly before the November 27, 2004, crash.
The account of the crash emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Blackwater's performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In its November 2006 report on the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that Blackwater provided insufficient oversight and guidance of the pilots involved in the 2004 crash. Dispatchers failed to ensure that pilots followed their flight plan and did not adequately track flights in the air.
The NTSB said the military "did not provide adequate oversight of the contract carrier's operations in Afghanistan."
The company's chairman, Erik Prince, appeared before the committee to defend the firm Tuesday.
The twin-engine CASA C-212, a light cargo plane operated by Blackwater sister company Presidential Airways, crashed in a box canyon well off its planned route from Bagram Air Base to the western Afghan town of Shindand.
"You're an X-wing fighter Star Wars man," an NTSB report quoted the plane's co-pilot, Loren Hammer, saying during the flight -- a reference to the dizzying battle in the 1977 film.
"You're [expletive] right. This is fun," the pilot, Noel English, responded.
About eight minutes later, the plane slammed into the wall of the canyon, which was flanked by ridgelines that rose nearly a mile above surrounding terrain.
When rescuers found the wreckage three days later, they discovered one of the passengers had survived the crash only to die of internal bleeding and exposure, the NTSB found.
When an unidentified passenger asked about the plane's route before the crash, flight mechanic Melvin Rowe told him, "I don't know what we're gonna see. We don't normally go this route."
English added, "All we want is to avoid seeing rock at 12 o'clock."
English and Hammer had been in Afghanistan less than two weeks, the NTSB found.
Federal investigators found each should have been paired with a more experienced aviator, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California. Waxman is chairman of the oversight committee, which is investigating Blackwater's performance on more than $1 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2001.
He said a company e-mail stated the company had overlooked experience requirements "in favor of getting the requisite number of personnel on board to start up the contract."
"The corporation hired inexperienced pilots. They sent them on a route they didn't know about," Waxman said. "It seems to me that it's more than pilot error. There ought to be corporate responsibility, and Blackwater was the corporation involved."
Prince said investigators concluded the crash in Afghanistan was not due to corporate error, but pilot error. He rejected Waxman's contention that the pilots "acted like cowboys."
"We provided thousands and thousands of flight hours of arrival service since then," Prince said. "Today, still, we're flying more than a thousand missions a month."
Passengers on the flight included Lt. Col. Michael McMahon, the commander of a Hawaii-based Army aviation battalion; and two members of his unit, Chief Warrant Officer Travis Grogan, and Spc. Harley Miller.
In a letter read to the committee, McMahon's widow, Col. Jeannette McMahon, wrote the accident was the result of a "gross lack of judgment in managing this company." Her husband's unit had a great safety record, she wrote: "It's ironic and unfortunate that he had to be a passenger on this plane versus one of the people responsible for its safe operation."
The families of the passengers have filed suit against Presidential Airways and its related firms. Blackwater's effort to dismiss the case is before a federal appeals court in Atlanta, plaintiff's lawyer Robert Spohrer said.
The company has come under scrutiny over its work in Iraq, where government officials accuse its contractors of killing as many as 20 civilians in a September clash in Baghdad.
The Defense Department hired Blackwater to fly cargo to sites in Afghanistan, where larger transports are unable to take off or land. Prince described the job as "rugged, Alaska-style bush flying." And he said the military violated its own regulations by flying 400 pounds of 81mm mortar rounds along with the passengers and gear.
October 3rd, 2007  
phoenix80
 
 
now I think every body is going to blame these guys for any thing wrong!
October 3rd, 2007  
mmarsh
 
 
Its certainly not the first time people have been killed (or killed others) hot-dogging in Airplanes.
High-speed, low level, flying in canyons in a terrain you aren't familiar with (and with other people aboard who assume you know what you are doing) whilst carrying high-explosives as a cargo is as reckless as it is stupid.

I wont say 'they got what they deserved', but it does show the irresponsible cowboys and showoffs a certain merc company likes to hire and the totally lack of control they have over their people.

So far in the past MONTH:

1. One group of trigger happy idiots that kill 11 civilians.
2. 2 Members who decide to go into a private gun-running business
3. Bunch of hotdoggers that kill themselves and 6 passengers whilist destroying a multimillion dollar plane and its cargo performing a stupid stunt.
4. Who knows what else?

Anybody getting getting a picture here?
--
October 3rd, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
But they are a "private" company. This is going to be a tough nut to crack
October 3rd, 2007  
Infern0
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Infidel
But they are a "private" company. This is going to be a tough nut to crack

here, i'll crack it;


a private company should not be doing the military's job
October 5th, 2007  
sven hassell
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Infern0
here, i'll crack it;


a private company should not be doing the military's job
They're not doing the militarys job.Theyre doing just whatever they please including murdering civilians.Their unnacountability is fueling the fires in Iraq and has brought disgrace on U.S. in the eyes of the western world.
If the U.S.continues to use mercenaries especially to such a high ratio of real soldiers(currently 1:1 in Iraq) that are out of control ,is it any surprise other western armies are turning their backs on U.S.?
October 5th, 2007  
03USMC
 
 
Tell it to the suits at Defense and State.
October 5th, 2007  
senojekips
 
 
Might may be right, but it will bite us on the bum before we're finished. Ask Saddam.

Here we are wondering why we are losing credibility in the world, meanwhile we have thugs running riot in foreign countries and there's every chance that the system will let them get away with it.

Ahhh well,.... It'll probably convince another few thousand Muslims that it's time to get off their collective arses and fight back. All I ask is that we remember all of this when we read about the next IED casualties, when we see the next plane load of injured and dead coming home. Our own inaction was most probably part of the cause.

Yeah,... I'm losing my sense of humour about all of this, because we are rapidly turning into our own worst enemies. The suits make policy, but it's poor old "boots on the ground" that dies because of their rash decisions.
October 5th, 2007  
Kiwi
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Infern0
here, i'll crack it;


a private company should not be doing the military's job
Bang on the money.

These private companys are not held to the same standards as the military and soley to save a buck or two, choice here.

I feel so sorry for the families that lost their loved ones, but got to say also that the military is at fault.

The needed to provide the services in the first place.

Not having cowboys running the show.
October 5th, 2007  
03USMC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi
Bang on the money.

These private companys are not held to the same standards as the military and soley to save a buck or two, choice here.

I feel so sorry for the families that lost their loved ones, but got to say also that the military is at fault.

The needed to provide the services in the first place.

Not having cowboys running the show.
Then I suggest that you let that be known by the clowns that control the purse strings. The same clowns that decided to hire PMC's instead of authorizing MILITARY UNITS to detailed to protection assignments.

For the record the US Army and Marines have no problem being detailed to the kind of services that PMC's are providing and have units that are trained to do it.

They didn't make the call civilians at Defense and State made that call not the Military.

Now I'll leave and let the Pacific Rim pontifacting continue.
 


Similar Topics
Chief Of Blackwater Defends His Employees
U.S. Rushes To Smooth Iraq's Anger Over Blackwater
Suit Against Blackwater Over Contractor Deaths Moves To Arbitration
Remains Found At Crash Site May Be Those Of U.S. F-16 Pilot
Chinese military aircraft present situation