First a bit of disclosure. The SIB (Safety Investigation Board) has released a classified briefing about the cause of the Shell 77 crash, which I have
received a copy of. Also to note, an FCIF (Flight Crew Information File) was released after the crash that was FOUO, and will not be released to the
public. Finally, an AIB (Accident Investigation Board) about the crash will be the declassified version that has not been released to the public, but
is in the military world right now. I have also heard the audio from the cockpit voice recorder, which colaborates the SIB's findings, sort of.
**One question I will NOT answer is where or who I recieved the SIB and FCIF from, as it is classified**
Per AFI 91-204, the following is privileged information:
220.127.116.11. Findings, conclusions, causes, recommendations, analysis, and the deliberative process of
safety investigators. Diagrams and exhibits if they contain information which depicts the analysis
of safety investigators. This includes draft versions of the above material.
18.104.22.168. Information given to safety investigators pursuant to a promise of confidentiality (paragraph
22.214.171.124. Computer generated animations, simulations, or simulator reenactments in which safety
investigator analysis is incorporated. Animations made exclusively from recorder data (including
Military Flight Operations Quality Assurance data) are not privileged.
126.96.36.199. Photographs, imagery, and animations that reveal the deliberative process of the board,
including photographs with markings.
188.8.131.52. Life Sciences Material that contain analysis by a safety or life sciences investigator.
NOTE: 72-hour histories, 14 day histories and interview narratives by Medical Officer are only
privileged if privilege was granted.
Ok so here's what movement has happened so far. The first thing to release was an FCIF to the 135 with "lots" of focus on flight control section
dash-3 stuff, basically saying review before flight. Now, a huge emphasis was put on the rudder, horizontal stab trim actuator, basically flight
control systems with no reason as to why they were releasing the FCIF. This was the first indication that it was a mechanical failure of a flight
control system...but theres more.
After the FCIF was released, and the Four Star was briefed on the cause the families were formally briefed by the SIB. The SIB (secret) report was
then released to all tanker crews. This is where it gets interesting. The SIB doesn't come out flatly and say pilot error. But there's some weird
stuff in this report that I've never seen in a SIB briefing. For example, in the AIB (declassified version, not released to public yet) they do not
call it flat out pilot error, but place emplasis on the flight manual in the FCIF and further talk of training flights tell us the crew did make a
mistake (wrong reaction). A mechanical problem with the Rudder followed by an incorrect choice by the crew. This is confirmed by the tapes too. But
here's what the SIB says (paraphrased a little cause of classification)..
During the climb out of Manas AB, the PCU failed and they had been flying the jet manually due to the rudder power circuit breaker being popped open.
On the cockpit voice recorder, the co-pilot is heard very clearly saying that it was tiring work and he's getting tired too easy from having to use
manual rudder control. So they discussed the problem and decided on a course of action that broke a critical dash 1 warning, regarding resetting the
rudder power circuit breaker. Consequently, they reset the rudder power circuit breaker while the rudder was being applied in the full deflection by
the co-pilot. Well as you could guess, the rudder slams over hard, rips off the tail, and sent the tanker into a Dutch roll, subsequently breaking
apart the aircraft.
So if we look at the entire events and how they unfolded, mechanical failure of the PCU and the rudder power were the culprits that led the crew to
make the human/pilot error of resetting the circuit breaker with the rudder in full deflection. The crew did everything by the book, with the
exception that they forgot about the warning talking about rudder deflection and resetting the breaker. The Co pilot had the jet, the AC was turned
around talking to the boom operator about the location of the circuit breaker and giving a job briefing. As soon as the boom operator (alledgely,
although unclear, but thats part of a booms job) reset that circuit breaker, the crew of Shell 77 sealed their fate. The AIB is not calling it flat
out pilot error, because of it being a sensitive area with the families and such. However, the classified SIB does every thing it can short of saying
"PILOT ERROR" to place the blame on the captian. But they even went a step further in the report, and did something absolutely uncalled for,
spinning me into a world of fumes.
There's a section after the investigation portion of the report that states our Aircraft Commander of Shell 77 was Q3'd (Unqualified level 3) by an
Evaluator Pilot during a non-checkride flight because of the handling of the Student Demo portion of the flight, appx 3 months before the deployment
to Kyrgyzstan. Really? There gonna smear his name in the classified version, and put out there trying to say hes a less than average pilot and
The AIB release has been delayed a few weeks for what they are calling administative reasons. But the two versions differ a bit in story, which is
bull crap if you ask me.
IM STILL FUMING!!!