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DOVER AIR FORCE BASE -- The results of an investigation into the C-5 Galaxy crash at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, found that human error was the cause.

The accident investigation board determined the pilots and flight engineers did not properly configure, maneuver and power the aircraft during approach and landing.

Following a normal takeoff and initial climb, the C-5 aircrew observed a No. 2 engine "Thrust Reverser Not Locked" indication light. They shut down the No. 2 engine as a precaution and returned to Dover AFB. The board determined that during the return to the base:

-- The pilots and flight engineers continued to use the shut-down No. 2 engine's throttle while leaving the fully-operational No. 3 engine in idle.

-- Both instructor and primary flight engineers failed to brief, and pilots failed to consider and use, a proper flap setting.

-- The pilots' attempt at a visual approach to runway 32 resulted in the aircraft descending well below a normal glidepath for an instrument-aided approach or the normal visual flight rules pattern altitude.

-- The aircraft commander failed to give a complete approach briefing that would have included non-standard factors, configuration, landing distance and missed approach intentions.

All 17 people on board the C-5 survived the crash, but three crewmembers were seriously injured when the aircraft stalled, hit a utility pole and crashed into a field about a mile short of the runway. The other passengers and crewmembers sustained minor injures and were treated and released from local hospitals.

The aircraft was assigned to the 436th Airlift Wing and was flown by members of the 512th Airlift Wing, a Reserve associate unit at Dover. It was bound for Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and was carrying 105,000 pounds of replenishment supplies.

Following the accident, the wreckage was dismantled and removed from the crash site. The crew compartment has been salvaged for use in C-5 aircraft crew training. The compartment, commonly referred to as the aircraft's flight deck, was loaded onto a C-5 and airlifted to its final destination at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, where it will be used as a modernized C-5 software simulator.

"This was the first-ever C-5 flight deck transported (as cargo) via airplane," said Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Martin, the air freight superintendent who oversaw a crew of specialists transporting the flight deck from the mishap scene to the plane.

The crew compartment was recovered in May, using power saws to separate it from the fuselage and a crane to lift it. "Once we had the flight deck off of the fuselage, we stored it on one of flatbed trailers," said Chief Master Sgt. Jon Lynn. "The removal process left many dangerous, sharp corners and cuts. We trimmed up the flight deck to reduce the hazards around it and make it shippable."

Once the compartment was transportable, it was hauled from the mishap site, stored and finally prepped for airlift. It took six Airmen to successfully load the 15,000-pound flight deck onto a C-5 for shipment. Due to the unusual shape and size of the flight deck, it had special loading requirements and transporting procedures.

Once the compartment was loaded, it was flown and delivered to the depot at Robins AFB, where it will be repaired and modified to perform its new functions. "The role the flight deck will play in the future is invaluable," Chief Lynn said. "We are effectively taking a mishap aircraft and using it to prevent future mishaps." At Robins, the recycled crew compartment will be used to contribute for training and the testing of aircrews.

The wings were later removed by an Ohio-based contractor. Using giant mobile shears, InterGroup International, a company that buys, reprocesses and sells post-industrial scrap, chopped the wings off the remaining C-5 shell from the site of the mishap.

Prior to cutting the wings off the aircraft, the contractor prepared the site for demolition and cleaned the interior of the aircraft of any contaminants and waste, including all insulation, plastics, tubing and wiring. Over the course of the next week, the rest of the aircraft was dismantled.

It took approximately 30 minutes for the mobile shears to remove the wings - a process that resembled something animal-like, as the shears chewed through each giant wing until they fell to the ground.

Neil Gloger, InterGroup International site manager, explained that the wings and the remainder of the aircraft will be cut into three-by-four-feet sections, then melted and recycled. The scrap will be processed locally and then sent to a secondary location to be melted, said Mr. Gloger. The recycled scrap metal will be used for general products. The scrap value of the remaining aircraft is estimated at $60,000 to $80,000, Mr. Gloger explained.

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