It appears the loss of the Marine KC-130 comes down to bad maintenance on a prop blade…

Sloppy maintenance work at an Air Force depot was at the root of a tragic crash of a Marine Corps Reserve KC-130T that resulted in the deaths of 16 service members in July 2017.

Full Article, HERE. Of course they say it will never happen again, but dammit, it SHOULDN’T have happened the first time!

16 people lost their lives over this ‘mistake’. And once again, this points out how differences in requirements, e.g. operational/situational like over water, corrosion, etc. between services doesn’t make for good combined maintenance facilities. 

KC130 crash

My personal opinion, we should never have gone away from Navy NADEP maintaining Navy/Marine acft, because those folks know the requirements and strictly adhere to them, especially the corrosion issues.

I know, I know, cost savings, yada, yada, but those people ‘saving’ that money don’t have to put their butts in the seats of those airplanes like our Sailors and Marines do every day! As of today, there have been now 21 non-combat losses of acft this year in the Navy and Marine Corps. That is WAY too many, and I can’t help but wonder how many of those are maintenance related because the birds are old, need rework, and parts are getting hard to come by, but the OPTEMPO isn’t slowing down and giving the troops a break so that they can actually FIX the crap that’s broke.

And that extends across not only the air side, but ships and submarines. Deferred maintenance isn’t the answer, stopping the operations and FIXING problems should be the priority!


Dammit… — 20 Comments

  1. If you think maintenance or testing is expensive, just try not doing it

  2. The FAA wouldn’t let carriers get away with that.
    But their funding wasn’t cut by Obama and required to fulfill the mission.
    Attack subs are waiting, on hold, 2 years for maintenance slots in repair facilities.
    They’re not going out until they’re ready.
    Or war.

  3. Not doing preventative maintenance is just stupid, short-sighted, and always winds up costing waaay more $$$ in the end.
    Just yesterday I had my Impala into the dealer because the last 2 times I filled the gas tank, it didn’t want to start right back up…it started, but it cranked for about 10 seconds before starting up. Ran fine otherwise.

    Needed a new vapor sensor, while it was there they cleaned the fuel system, and the throttle body which I had replaced 100K miles ago, but now there was a build-up of carbon on it.
    Took 3 hours, and cost less than $430 bucks. Knowing my chances of being stranded in the cold, at night, in a lousy neighborhood had been decreased was priceless.
    The mechanic said the car was in really great shape, especially given how it has over 215k on it.

    And that is just a car, which if it didn’t run, I do have other options for continuing on my way. It is important, as without a running vehicle, I can’t get to my patients and do my work.

    But to bump maintenance on airplanes, or subs!!! Not acceptable at all!! Because…hello…lives!!!

    Who do we yell, stomp our feet and generally pester about this? Congress critters?? Any specific ones in particular?

  4. Bad- Exactly!

    NRW- That’s what is really scary!

    Ed- Yep, they would ground them all!

    Suz- A few dollars is WELL WORTH the comfort of knowing the car will start and run… 🙂

  5. It comes to mind that I may want to contact you on a topic related to this in the future, and I see you have a contact form. I’ve started down the road to really understanding what I do not know about aircraft maintenance. Recently, I noticed that I might be up to pursuing instead a strong passion in another area. For that reason, it may not be worth your time to give me some pointers on how I could learn how to fix this problem. That commission that is supposed to be fixing the process sounds interesting.

    That said, some pain has caused me some missed sleep, which makes me stupid fast. I don’t really trust my judgement on anything at the moment, so… Forex, I’ve only now noticed that the crashed plane was a KC-130, and not a KC-135.

  6. Hey Old NFO;

    I work in a maintenance facility and we are serious about it, having a “lawn dart” is rough for the stock you know. We have a phrase that is used frequently “You schedule maintenance for your equipment before it schedules it for you…”
    I know that the Navy is really heavy for the corrosion issues, I saw that on the P8’s I worked on, Corrosion is a big deal because of the environment that the planes operate at, not only being stationed on or near the ocean, they also operate at low altitudes Navy deals with oceans….big blue wet things with a lot of salt and salt isn’t good for metal.

  7. The decision to make everything “joint” is illustrated well here. And I don’t blame the grunts who follow orders and SOP’s. There are a lot of uninformed egos at the top who don’t put their asses in the seats.

    At the same time, Joint Special Operations Command has been a success, but a lot of the decision making has been pushed as LOW as possible. Thus, caring for Navy equipment is almost always managed properly.

  8. When doing critical maintenance, one should always maintain to the best standards. Which means the Air Force should have been maintaining to the Navy standards for corrosion et al.

    Damn Carter, who started this whole Peace Dividend thingy. You think for a Nuke he’d understand, but… no.

    And then the Clintons (yes, looks like She actually had more involvement in day-to-day decision making than He) and Al (Bundy) Gore and Congress at the time for Peace Dividend II.

    And, yes, Obummer and his flock of evil idiots for Peace Dividend III.

    Our people paid for PD I during such disasters as Desert 1.

    PD II led to, well, 9-11 and all that and having non-armed fighters trying to intercept civilian airliners and only having the “I am turning my multi-million dollar front-line fighter into a $30K missile” ram approach to knock the liners down. And ships way behind repair schedule. And Black Hawk Down. And, and, and.

    We won’t ever recover from Peace Dividend III and the fiscal legacy of BHO (which translates into Latin as “Horrible Bowel Movement” or so the voices in my head tell me so.)

    Dammit. It’s like we never learned from the draw-down after the Rev War, the Mex War, the Civ War, the Spanish-Ami War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam…

    A friggin prop? Disgusting.

  9. We in the Navy joke about PMS being Pre Meditated Sabotage. I had a grizzled old Master Chief interchangeably called it Preventing Mayhem/Messages Systematically, ALWAYS remembered that.

  10. Not just government/military. I’ve been involved in a minor fashion with pointing out some deferred maintenance issues in the private sector. It hasn’t failed yet. But if it does in the cascading way that the worst case scenario could create (and actually is statistically likely), it would be national news.
    Next year’s budget…does change the maintenance budget…Down.

  11. Sounds like someone should be investigated for Negligent Homicide.

    When I first reported to an aviation unit, there had just been a crash in which two known cowboys flew their UH1 into a hillside; the company commander told the pilots that “if you ever do that and an enlisted man is aboard and dies, you’d better die, too, because I will Court Martial your sorry ass for murder.”

  12. If I had to guess, the military is filled with Obama officers who can not only kiss ass, they can kill with the demand for bureaucratic BS. They need to be rooted out, and shot at sunrise.

  13. Well, someone please tell me why the .gov, .mil folks are doing critical component depot level maintenance. They do the work, do not warranty their work, nor repair to a level of reliability.

    Would an airline put work into a depot? Would depot artisans be qualified to repair commercial parts or airplanes?

    What makes it worse is that depots equal votes, cush union jobs with no fear of screwing up. Happened at CCAD, workers caught falsifying rotor blade tests. They walked…union saved em.

    Just read about Title 10 of the USC. Given a choice would you take your car to a .mil depot for repair, your kids to a .mil hospital, or your wife to the VA?

    Sore subject with me, I know I paint with a broad brush, but…excellance in maintenance and govt depots are never used in the same sentence.

  14. A friend was nav on a C-130 in the Arctic practicing INS. At FL220 the skin between the wings peeled off. In doing so it ripped the fuel lines of two engines on the same wing (I do not remember which wing). The result was an uncontrollable spin from which the pilots did not regain control until 9,000 msl.

    Very fortunate for my friend is he had just returned from the cockpit to strap in to his seat only a short moment before the failure. Unsecured items were sucked out the hole above his head.

  15. Should be a way to have the managers at the highest levels emulate Army parachute riggers. At random times and random selection, they jump with chutes they packed.

  16. A buddy of mine crews USAF C130 and says that report was received with very somber looks at their own props.

  17. As a former USAF aircrew member, I’ll say none of us really trusted the aircraft we’d get back from depot. More maintenance issues on those then anything else, and they had to deal with us being on the same damn base. Over half the time we’d red ball the aircraft before preflight finished, although my personal favorite was when we turned on power to our consoles and the cabin filled with smoke. They’d replaced worn wires with some sized too small.