Army: Botched repair caused Tennessee crash

| September 22, 2017 | 17 Comments

According to the Associated Press, that a helicopter crash in Tennessee in December 2015 was caused by an improperly installed repair part – which failed and caused the death of two crewmembers from the 101st Airborne Division;

The pilots — Kevin Weiss, 32, of McHenry, Illinois, and Alex Caraballo-Leon, 35, of Patillas, Puerto Rico — had a little more than 20 seconds notice that the helicopter was in serious trouble as it flew 700 feet (215 meters) above the ground, but the report found that the crash was unavoidable once the small part either malfunctioned or didn’t work at all.

The report says investigators found fault with work performed by three soldiers who replaced bearings on the helicopter in November 2015. The report redacted the soldiers’ names and specific explanations of what was done wrong, but recommended more inspections when repairs are made.

Category: Army News

Comments (17)

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  1. UpNorth says:

    So, how does redacting the specifics of what was done wrong help anyone doing maintenance on the helicopters?

  2. Sparks says:

    Lots of moving parts to inspect and maintain on a chopper. If you don’t do it right, every time, someone’s life is at stake. For crew chiefs, it’s theirs as well, for ground maintenance, not so much. But not telling the story helps no one do it right.

  3. Graybeard says:

    A lousy mechanic can kill you.

    And I suppose that in the military, a wrongful-death lawsuit in a case like this would not go far.

  4. Atkron says:

    I worked both fixed and rotary winged aircraft in the Navy. One of my worst fears was killing a crew because of a dumb mistake.

    Fortunately OPNAVINST 4790.2 requires Quality Assurance Inspector to witness all Safety Of Flight repairs. At the time, we were also required to have the Maintenance Instruction Manual out at the aircraft during all repairs as well…I’m sure they use tablets or something nowadays.

    I feel sorry for the crew that went down…but I really feel bad for the maintenance crew that screwed the pooch. Those folks have to live with the fact that the error they made cost the lives of two people.

    • HMC Ret says:

      In events such as this, I always pray the cause is the result of a bird strike and not pilot/mechanic error. I get the rationale for both arguments. Praying for the deceased and for those who caused the error.

  5. OldSoldier54 says:

    Man, I hope somebody learned something from this.

    I wonder all of the budget cutbacks, sequestrations, and various other DC horse crap maneuvers, that always result in DOD taking it in the fourth point of contact, led to this.

  6. The Other Whitey says:

    I sure as hell wouldn’t want that on my conscience. Hopefully it was an honest mistake and not just negligence/laziness.

  7. john scanlon says:

    A crew chief’s nightmare!

  8. ALVO says:

    I thought it was SOP that maintenance crews took “check rides” on the choppers they wrenched in the effort to re-enforce the notion that you had better do it right EVERY SINGLE TIME lest it is your ads up there. The Jesus Nut May not be used anymore but the sentiment of it’s failure while you are aboard should be all the encouragement to be at your best 100% of the time.

  9. Sj says:

    Something embellishers that served in support roles don’t get: everyone in the uniform plays a huge role in Mission accomplishment. Everyone isn’t a trigger puller. If the truck driver fails, the pullers don’t get ammo, chow…. Helos require lots of maintenance. The folks that do that are as important as the pilots.

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