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article imageGraphic: Video of Bagram Airfield Boeing 747 crash surfaces

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 1, 2013 in World
Kabul - Video evidence of the US Boeing 747-400 cargo plane crash that occurred on Monday at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan has surfaced online. The dashcam footage which appeared on LiveLeak Tuesday provides some clues as to what might have caused the crash.
Warning: Graphic video, viewer discretion strongly advised
According to the US-led military coalition, all seven people aboard the civilian cargo plane owned by an American company died.
The video, which appears to have been taken from a dashboard camera, shows the cargo plane ascending rather steeply in what appears inclement weather. It veers off course suddenly, plummets back to the ground and crashes in a ball of flames.
Aviation Herald reports that the plane, a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400, en-route to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was carrying 5 military vehicles.
According to Aviation-Safety.net, "A thunderstorm with Cumulonimbus clouds was approaching the air base at the time of the accident. A weather report shows winds began shifting from 100 degrees [from the east] at 09:55 UTC to 350 degrees [from the north] at 10:55 UTC. Accident time was about 15:00 LT / 10:30 UTC."
Vice President Shirley Kaufman of National Air Cargo, said the plane was carrying military vehicles and other cargo. According to AP, one of the seven Americans who died in the crash was 51-year-old Gary Stockdale. The others were, "pilots Brad Hasler of Trenton, Mich. and Jeremy Lipka of Brooklyn, Mich.; first officers Jamie Brokaw of Monroe, Mich. and Rinku Summan of Canton, Mich.; loadmaster Michael Sheets of Ypsilanti, Mich.; and maintenance crewman Timothy Garrett of Louisville, Ky."
Fox News reports that Brad Hasler is a Michigan father of two with a pregnant wife. In a statement released on Tuesday, Hasler's brother said: "Yesterday morning our family learned of the terrible tragedy that occurred at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, and that Brad was among the crew members who perished. Brad was a wonderful father to two young children, a beloved husband to a wife who is expecting another child, a loving son, and the most loyal and supportive brother I could have ever asked for."
The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the crash. But in a statement to AP, NATO denied the claim, saying there was no evidence of insurgent activity in the vicinity of the airfield at the time the plane took off and crashed.
According to Business Insider, a retired aviation expert Ross Aimer, said the plane might have stalled after taking off at too sharp an angle. He said: "The very high angle of the airplane... is a definite no-no. There's no way they could control that. Once you get into that, it stalls."
He suggests a reason why the plane might have taken off at an usually steep angle: "Something they were carrying might have been heavy and not tied down properly and shifted all the way to the back of the airplane."
Reader comments on The Washington Post make similar observation. A reader "Blueshift" comments:
I would have to guess, looking at the video, that this was a cargo shift. Probably heavy armored vehicles and one broke loose on take off, sliding aft and causing an acute angle of attack... It looks like the pilot was able to right the aircraft but he had no altitude to recover or slow his descent.
Another reader "Cf6driver," who claims he flies 747-400, wrote:
My understanding is that the aft pallet positions were empty; which would have allowed the load to shift unstopped and pallet locks would have not stopped them. If the shift did occur, it is likely that the aft pressure bulkhead was breached and behind that in a confined area are located the hydraulic system power packs. Damage to them would have made the airplane uncontrollable... The 400 is a wonderful plane, loads of power, very stable and very forgiving. A load shift however is something that would exceed the capabilities of the plane.
Authorities say the cause of the crash is being investigated.
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