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60 Minutes: Blackwater Aviation Crash in Afghanistan
Old 02-24-2010, 15:31   #1
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60 Minutes: Blackwater Aviation Crash in Afghanistan

60 Minutes did a piece on a 2004 plane crash in Afghanistan that killed all 6 on board, 3 contractors and 3 US soldiers. The plane was operated by Presidential Airways (Blackwater Aviation).

The president of Presidential Airways insinuates a passenger, LTC McMahon is responsible for the crash that killed all on board (13:10). LTC McMahon's widow filed a lawsuit against Blackwater/Presidential Airways; Blackwater attempted to have the case tried under Islamic law, in Afghanistan (12:43).


Older news story on the crash:

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Old 02-24-2010, 15:49   #2
Utah Bob
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Saw that. What a Jackass!
I hope she took them for a bundle.
Too bad a lot worse can't be done to them.
It was only a matter of time before those pilots killed somebody. Total lack of accountability by Blackwater. What a surprise.
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Old 02-24-2010, 16:13   #3
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I'd like to know what kind of experience the pilot in command had.

I'm kinda surprised that this guy got even hired, as far as I remember, Presidential had some pretty high time/experience requirements for rotary-wing, can't see why it would be different for fixed-wing but the jackass pilot acted like a complete inexperienced fool.

I got mad, listening to that recording ...
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Old 02-24-2010, 16:17   #4
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The transcript and recording start at 0318:37 (7:18:37 a.m.
local time)
PILOT: I hope I'm goin' in the right valley.
CO-PILOT: That one or this one?
PILOT: I'm just gunna go up this one.
CO-PILOT: Well, we, we've never or at least I've never done
this Farah.
PILOT: We'll just see where this leads.
CO-PILOT: Twenty seven million people in this country, boy,
you wouldn't wouldn't guess that cause there just
everybody's scattered out.
PILOT: Yeah.
PILOT: But I'm now I mean I was really surprised at how you
can almost always look down and see somebody or somethin' er.
CO-PILOT: Yeah, yeah, there's seem to be dwellings just
about every where you go.
CO-PILOT: Yeah this is fun!
PILOT: We're not suppose to be havin' fun though.
CO-PILOT: Exactly.
PILOT: No fun allowed god-(expletive).
CO-PILOT: It's supposed to be all work we can't enjoy any of it.
PILOT: Exactly.
CO-PILOT: Cause we're getting' paid too much to be havin' fun.
PILOT: You're god-(unintelligible) right.
MECHANIC: I don't know what we're gonna see, we don't
normally go this route.
MALE PASSENGER: (expletive).
MECHANIC: Let me get out of the way.
MALE PASSENGER: Naw I'm alright.
MECHANIC: Get yourself a drink.
PILOT: All we want is to avoid seeing rock at twelve o'clock.
PILOT: (unintelligible).
CO-PILOT: Yeah you're an x-wing fighter Star Wars man!
PILOT: You're (expletive) right.
PILOT: This is fun!
PILOT: Okay, it's about time we're gunna start climbin' I do
PILOT: Okay we're comin up to a box up here.
PILOT: Yeah I think this valley might peter out right up here.
CO-PILOT: Yeah it shows us ah you got about twelve I don't
know thirty miles of ah higher altitude, then there's
another valley in the general direction that we're going.
PILOT: Yeah, peters right on out.
PILOT: It was good while it lasted.
PILOT: Yeah. It'd be nice to get a real good through my MP3
player in here.
CO-PILOT: (expletive) yeah.
CO-PILOT: That'll be great.
PILOT: Phillip Glass or somethin' suitable new age'y.
CO-PILOT: No, we gotta have butt rock that's the only way to
go. Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister.
PILOT: I swear to God they wouldn't pay me if they knew how
much fun this was.
PILOT: Well let's kind of look and see if we've got any
where we can pick our way thru. Doesn't really matter it's
gunna spit us out down at the bottom anyway.
PILOT: Let's see find a notch over here.
PILOT: Yeah, if we have to go to fourteen for just a second
it won't be too bad.
CO-PILOT: Boy, it's a good thing we're not too heavy today I
PILOT: Yeah, oh, I wouldn't have done this if we were at gross.
PILOT: We can always turn around up in here.
CO-PILOT: Yeah we could we could do a one eighty here if we
had to.
PILOT: Come on baby, come on baby, you can make it.
MECHANIC: Okay, you guys are gunna make this right?
PILOT: Yeah h-h-I'm hopin'.
MECHANIC: Hope we don't have a downdraft comin' over that, dude.
(Sound similar to stall warning tone single beep)
MECHANIC: Got a way out?
PILOT: Yeah.
PILOT: We we can do a one eighty up in here.
MECHANIC: Yeah, I'd pick one side or the other to... ah.
PILOT: Drop a drop a quarter flaps.
PILOT: (expletive).
MECHANIC: Okay, yeah, you're... ah.
CO-PILOT: Yeah let's turn around.
PILOT: Yeah, drop a quarter flaps.
MECHANIC: Yeah you need to--ah--make a decision.
(Sound of heavy breathing starts)
PILOT: God (expletive)!
MECHANIC: Hundred, ninety knots, call off his airspeed for
him (unintelligible).
(sound similar to stall warning starts and continues until end)
PILOT: Ah (expletive, expletive)!
MECHANIC: Call it off, help him out, call off his airspeed
for him (unintelligible) butch.
CO-PILOT: You got ninety-five.
CO-PILOT: Ninety-five.
PILOT: Oh God!
PILOT: Oh (expletive)!
MECHANIC: We're goin' down.
(End of recording: 0350:00, 7.50 a.m. local time)
Source: National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB)
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Old 02-24-2010, 19:12   #5
Papa Zero Three
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I watched the 60 minutes segment just now and like most stories, I have another side of this story.

I actually was the guy on the other end of the phone when the Black water office/rep called down to Kandahar to see if that aircraft was on the runway. When I asked how long it was overdue I was told it had been missing for 18 hours and they were now looking for it. After that "we" spun up and it was a 7th Grp Mtn team along with the PJs from next door that ended up doing the mission. Aside from it taking 24 hrs getting the team and needed assets and airframes to Bagram, they did not have a pinpoint location on the crash sight. That took another 24 hrs to utilize the correct mechanism that is used in these types of situations to determine that the crash was in 3 separate pieces along the mountain side at roughly 15k feet.

IMHO, had Blackwater been quicker to start calling people instead of waiting 18 hours after the flight was overdue, we might have pulled at least one person off that crash site alive instead of it just being a recovery mission.

On a side note, one of the COAs that was sent down from Bagram that I absolutely could not believe was for a HALO mission into the crash site. Once I explained how out of the world that was given the altitude and that it was on a side of a snow covered mountain they finally decided to move the 47s and the team into position at Bagram for an air infil onto the mountain side.
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