Date & Time: Mar 31, 2005 at 2000 LT
Type of aircraft:
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Tirana - Tirana
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Assigned to the 352nd Special Operations Group based at RAF Mildenhall, the four engine aircraft departed Tirana-Rinas Airport in the evening for a night training mission with the Albanian Army. While flying at low height, about 300 feet above the ground by night and using night-vision goggles, the crew elected to gain height while approaching a ridge. Unable to climb, the aircraft stalled and crashed in hilly and snow covered terrain. The aircraft was destroyed and all nine occupants were killed.
The accident investigation board determined that the crew's loss of situational awareness placed the aircraft in too low a climb with respect to the surrounding mountainous terrain. Responding to the situation, the crew did not use all available power and stalled the aircraft during a turning climb. This resulted in a loss of aircraft control and almost immediate crash.