Accident Boeing 747-428 (BCF) N949CA, Monday 29 April 2013
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Date:Monday 29 April 2013
Type:Silhouette image of generic B744 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 747-428 (BCF)
Owner/operator:National Airlines (National Air Cargo)
Registration: N949CA
MSN: 25630/960
Year of manufacture:1993
Engine model:General Electric CF6-80C2B1F
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Bagram Air Base (BPM) -   Afghanistan
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Bagram Air Base (OAI/OAIX)
Destination airport:Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC/OMDW)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Boeing 747-400BCF cargo plane, operated by National Air Cargo, crashed on takeoff from Bagram Air Base (BPM), Afghanistan. All seven crew members were killed in the accident.
The accident flight was operated as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to transport military equipment.
The original schedule was for the crew to operate flight NCR510 from Chateauroux, France to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, and then continue to the Dubai World Center at Al Aktoum, UAE. Because no Pakistan over-flight permit was obtained, the flight was re-routed as NCR102 to operate from Camp Bastion to Bagram, refuel, and continue NCR102 from Bagram to Dubai.
According to the load manifest, while in Camp Bastion, the airplane was loaded by National Air Cargo ground personnel with 94,119 kg of cargo, including 5 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored military vehicles that were loaded on the main deck of the airplane. Two of these vehicles weighed about 12 tons each, and the other three weighed about 18 tons each.
It was the first time National Airlines had transported 18-ton military vehicles when they were loaded on the accident airplane in Camp Bastion.
The airplane departed Camp Bastion at 07:45Z and arrived into Bagram at 09:23Z (13:53 local time). On arrival into Bagram, the crew experienced a brake overheat condition after landing on runway 03. The crew parked the airplane on the Foxtrot ramp and ran a checklist to address the brake temperature indications in the cockpit, and discussed the required cooling time of 1 to 1.5 hours.

The crew did not take on any additional cargo in Bagram, and only took on fuel for the flight to Dubai.
At about 14:27 hours local time while the airplane was still on the ramp in Bagram, the captain was made aware of a broken strap found by one of the other crewmembers, and the cockpit crew had a discussion about a possible shift of the cargo load during landing in Bagram.
There was additional discussion on re-securing the load prior to departure.
Flight NCR102 taxied out normally for departure on runway 03 at Bagram at 15:14. After receiving clearance, takeoff was commenced at 15:26. The takeoff roll appeared normal. The airplane rotated normally around the Charlie intersection of the runway. Approximately 9 seconds after the crew called to rotate the airplane, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) stopped recording, and approximately 3 seconds later the flight data recorder (FDR) stopped recording. According to witnesses and video evidence, after becoming airborne, the airplane continued to pitch up until it appeared to stall, turn to the right, then descended to impact with the ground just beyond the departure end of runway 03 and to the right.

An investigation of the wreckage revealed at least the aft-most MRAP broke loose of its restraints during takeoff, shifted aft and damaged the FDR/CVR before penetrating the aft pressure bulkhead. The MRAP’s aft movement was determined to have compromised at least Hydraulic Systems #1 and #2 and may have contacted the stabilizer jackscrew assembly.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "National Airlines’ inadequate procedures for restraining special cargo loads, which resulted in the loadmaster’s improper restraint of the cargo, which moved aft and damaged hydraulic systems Nos. 1 and 2 and horizontal stabilizer drive mechanism components, rendering the airplane uncontrollable. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration’s inadequate oversight of National Airlines’ handling of special cargo loads."


09:55 UTC / 14:25 local time:
KQSA 290955Z COR 10017G30KT 9999 SCT085 BKN140 BKN200 17/06 A2992 RMK PK WND 09032/0856 LTG DSNT NW CB DSNT E SLP213 WND DATA ESTMD ALSTG/SLP ESTMD COR 13

10:55 UTC / 15:25 local time:
KQSA 291055Z 02007KT 9999 FEW040 BKN080CB BKN150 18/06 A2994 RMK PK WND 06026/1005 WSHFT 1027 LTG DSNT NW CB DSNT NW SLP124 WND DATA ESTMD ALSTG/SLP ESTMD

10:58 UTC / 15:28 local time:

10:59 UTC / 15:29 local time:
KQSA 291059Z 35011G17KT 9999 FEW050 BKN065 BKN090 14/05 A2993 RMK WND DATA ESTMD ALSTG/SLP ESTMD

11:55 UTC / 16:25 local time:
KQSA 291155Z 33008G17KT 9999 -TSRA SCT050CB BKN090 BKN170 13/04 A2996 RMK CB OHD MOV N SLP139 60000 70000 51014

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB/AAR-15-01
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report


Wall Street Journal
National Airlines


  • 28th worst accident in 2013
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 2nd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) NTSB; Bagram Air Base (BPM/OAIX); 2014; (publicdomain)

photo (c) NTSB; Bagram Air Base (BPM/OAIX); 2014; (publicdomain)

photo (c) NTSB; 2014; (publicdomain)

photo (c) NTSB; 2014; (publicdomain)

photo (c) A1C Sarah Lipfird, USAF; Camp Bastion; 29 April 2014; (publicdomain)

photo (c) Paul Nelhams; Shannon Airport (SNN/EINN); 16 August 2012; (CC:by-sa)

photo (c) Václav Kudela; Praha-Ruzyne International Airport (PRG/LKPR); 02 February 2013

photo (c) Václav Kudela; Praha-Ruzyne International Airport (PRG/LKPR); 02 February 2013

photo (c) Jiri Starek; Praha-Ruzyne International Airport (PRG/LKPR)

Revision history:


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