Video of Bagram Plane Crash Emerges

An unidentified individual has allegedly captured Monday’s cargo plane crash near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, that killed its seven crew members.

The video was posted to Live Leak and You Tube Tuesday. Pentagon officials have seen the video and are working to confirm its authenticity.

The plane was not a U.S. military aircraft. It was one of the many contracted airliners that fly in and out of the main logistical hub for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The aircraft that crashed Monday at about 3:30 p.m. Bagram local time was a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F, which appears to be the plane shown in the video.

National Air Cargo owns the plane. It was slated to fly to Dubai carrying unknown cargo. The U.S. and its allies have depended on these types of contracted carriers to carry everything from MRAPs to soldiers into Afghanistan.

As seen in the footage, the aircraft crashed shortly taking off from Bagram. It appears the aircraft stalls after taking a steep ascent shortly after taking off. Taliban leaders have tried to take credit for the crash, but U.S. officials have said they do not suspect a Taliban attack to cause the crash.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has started an investigation into the crash. There is no evidence in the crash footage that an attack caused it.


About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Nick

    Avationist says the weight shifted after takeoff causing the nose to pull up and the plane to stall. Poor crew.

    • Zard

      What do you do in a situation like this? Not much time to think, but you probably heard the cargo come loose and roll to the back as soon as you pulled the nose up for takeoff. The landing gear was still down.

      Looks like they had the engines throttled all the way up and tried to muscle through it, they should have throttled down and tried to glide down to a survivable crash, even if they were out of runway, with the flaps and everything they could have made this a hard landing into a ditch and jumped out alive.

      This’ll go into the training manual for sure.

      • Guest

        From reports over their ATC comms, they had a cargo shift aft. Which altered the CG of the plane… there was nothing that could be done due to the low altitude… if the CG is off balance enough, all the nose down input in the world won’t bring it back until gravity takes over.

        • Zard

          So you detect the problem when your 10-50 feet off the ground (double checking pitch and angle of attack) and you simply throttle back, crash and crash early. It doesn’t get any worse than this stall at 1000 feet. If he had any reason to think the plane wouldn’t fly after passing V1 this would certainly be one of them.


        If this had happened at a higher altitude, like that China Airlines flight, they could have recovered. I think that sadly, this might have been pilot error. He might have pulled up in a very high ascent (way to high for a “mere” 747) and didn’t give it the full beans. That resulted in a stall. From there, it went into an uncontrolled descent. Oddly loaded cargo is probably not the cause; it would have affected the plane before this stage of flight (as soon as wheels were off the runway). Taliban probably had nothing in this. No bombs (from what I can see) went off. Only thing that could have happened would have been a hi-jacking, but a crew of seven could have stopped two or three rogue members of humanity.

        • UAVGeek

          Ok let’s get something straight here. AFT CG is often times an unrecoverable situation. It does not matter what the aircrew does if this is ACTUALLY what happened. Once that nose goes up, you can have 100% max power and you will still be behind the power curve. On top of that you have the very very bad stall characteristics of swept wing high subsonic aircraft designs.

          Think I’m kidding? You can actually test this with model airplanes. Take an F-86 model, and weight it so that it’s 3% aft CG. Try and take off see what happens.

          It will fly straight until you apply aft stick. Then it will violently pitch up, one wing will drop, then the airflow from the wing will blanket the tail and it will fall in a flat attitude all the way to the ground (if it does not spin).

          On top of that if they followed standard practice most planes are load planned towards the aft end of their CG range for better fuel efficiency (less tail downforce= less drag)

          The aircrew was doomed as soon as they hit Vr.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Thanks. But at the time of that writing, I didn’t know the cargo has gone AWOL.

          • Restore Palestine

            Oh, so NOW you “know” the cargo had gone AWOL?

            What was the cargo like? What did it say to you?

          • USS ENTEPRISE

            Uh, uhm. What? Are you like a paranoid investigator? Most people here are agreeing that the cargo sort of slid about. That was my reference.

          • UAVGeek

            To add to that, the only way to right a ship that’s in deep stall is something that some aircraft actually exploit for super maneuverability: Thrust vectoring. Something a B-747 does not have.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Its an optional extra ;-).

          • Restore Palestine

            UAVGeek, that’s BS.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Apollo 11.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Moon dust! (Brought over from the Apollo missions)

          • Restore Palestine

            Please save me some.

        • Bagram_pilot
      • Mark

        Did you learn this maneuver on Flight Sim? Applying full power to correct for a stall would be THE FIRST thing I would do. They MAY have been at or near stall speed when the incident occurred. Think high, hot, and heavy, and at their altitude they may very well have been in the height-avoid region—rendering a safe recovery impossible or nearly so. Seriously man don’t Monday morning quarterback these guys especially when it appears you have no aviation experience whatsoever.

        • Rest Pal

          I’m not sure you want to use that analogy. The plane crashed and the pilots died. That’s far worse than a quarterback throwing ALL interceptions on every pass throughout the game (assume the coach was drunk and drugged and refused to bench the QB).

          Flying planes can be deadly when US military is involved in any way. There is nothing wrong in Monday-morning-quarterbacking. And you had better do it as often as possible when you flying any plane in Afghanistan.

    • Jon

      You dumbass 7 people lost their lives and you are calling them poor crew without knowing any of the facts. I’m studying aviation safety in school and if the reports of a weight shift are correct it is irrecoverable. There is not enough power or elevator input to recover. Standard practice at airfields like bagram is to do max climb to get the aircraft as high as possible when it crosses the airport perimeter fence. You can’t automatically blame the loadmaster as well, you never know when a strap will break or when an attachment point will fail. Unfortunately with metal fatigue it is really hard to identify a failure until it happens. RIP to the crew, a real tragedy.

      • talon2load

        Well stated Jon! Tiedown fatigue is always something to consider…weakest link can start a chain reaction.

      • Nick

        ‘Poor’ as in those poor people, not poor performing. Few people deserve to die like that.


          Correction: no one deserves to die like that.

    • kahlid latif

      Armor vehicles rolling back would have broken through the airplane tail. But, may be so.

      • NavyGuy2007

        Depends on how far back they slid and how much momentum they carried. Would defiantly shift a lot if weight, and possibly cracked the pressure dome.

        • Rest Pal

          You don’t even know what exactly was in the plane and you have already started theorizing about it on the assumption that something heavy had slid back.

    • White Wolf

      After reviewing the film it has the same appearance as the ah64 did sudden loss of power nosing up in an attempt to recover control with no runway left. I will wager to guess that there was no contact with the tower either!

  • Sev

    Lets wait until we get the flight recorder and voice recorder before drawing conclusions. The stall couldve been caused by any number of things. Bad weight and balance, improper trim settings, a break in the cargo restraints sending the cargo aft.


    My god. While I don’t like to suppose things, it looks like the plane stalled, and fell into an uncontrolled descent. Dang.

  • Chris

    I have load planned many aircraft with everything from pallets, wheel and tracked vehicles. Either this bird was not configured properly or the cargo shifted due to tie down failure or failure to tie it down.


      Tie down failure, my guess. No expert in plane crashes, but wouldn’t the cargo have affected the plane during take off?

      • Rosalee

        If it shifts it can make a huge impact during take off………….I remember flying in a DC 3 which was part courier and part cargo and the cargo was heavily tied down the center part of the plane…….we sat against the bulkhead……


          Thats what I am saying. Maybe it failed after take off but before this tragedy?

        • dba7

          I read that the 747 was carrying 5 x MRAPs. Considering how heavy MRAPs are, just one coming loose would’ve started a chain reaction and eventually caused enough weight to be shifted quickly.

          I’m sure the crew knew what was happening by hearing the sound of crashing MRAPs.


          • blight_

            This is the price of moving things by air.

            It won’t be long before airship pundits show up and proclaim the utility of the airship over fixed wing aircraft.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Speed is a big factor in using airplanes rather than airships.

  • Josh

    I’m no aerospace engineer, but that doesn’t look like a good angle for a cargo plane on take-off.


      When you take off from Bagram, you don’t take off like you are lifting from O’Hare. You wanna leave that aerospace quickly.


        Iraq isn’t a particularly peaceful place, no matter if you are on the Taliban or US side. Bagram has had its fair share of “shady characters” stalking the outer perimeter of the airport.

        • Jeff murphy
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        • Jimbo

          Bagram is in Afghanistan.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            And that is where the crash happened. Second line of the article.

          • Dfens

            Yeah, I’d imagine the take off from Bagram is like the noise abatement take off from hell. The load probably broke loose soon after rotation and their fate was sealed. It wouldn’t have taken a lot more altitude for them to at least have been able to lighten the hit when they reached the ground, but they were fresh out of that stuff.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            That is what I am seeing. I wonder, though, what the black box will say.

          • Dfens

            I actually wonder if it would be possible to fly the airplane backwards in a severe case of aft cg like this aircraft experienced? They could use the horizontal stabilizers like canards, and would have to deal with the instability in yaw by sawing on the rudder furiously. They’d still want to get as high as they could, then cut the engines. It sounds as desperate as it actually would be, I’m sure. It might be something interesting to try the next time I’m in a simulator, though. I wonder if XPlane would handle negative airspeed without the math model going all to hell?

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Uh, backwards? How will they see where they are going, above all else?!

          • Dfens

            There wouldn’t be any way to see where they are going. It would be a 100% desperation maneuver, but if you’re absolutely going to die anyway, what the hell.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Go out backwards? Well.

          • Dfens

            They teach V-22 pilot how to autorotate. It’s not that different.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Well, it kinda is. A 747 has about the same commonalities with a V-22 as a Submarine and a Destroyer. V-22’s don’t use jet engines, which I think is a really large thing you have to consider. But also, a 747 is substantially heavier than a V-22 fully loaded or not.

          • Thomas L. Nielsen

            Additionally, rotorcraft are designed and built to be able to autorotate, as this is a standard engine-out recovery procedure.

            To the best of my knowledge, no fixed wing aircraft (past or present) is designed to fly backwards, even in a dire emergency (the exception being, of course, hovering VTOL aircraft). Just consider what would happen to the aerodynamics over the wings and control surfaces [shudders].

            Regards & all,

            Thomas L. Nielsen

          • Dfens

            Good to see you caught on to what I was saying…

          • JohnnyRanger

            I’m pretty sure the lifting force would occur forward of the wing in that scenario; IOW the wing would not be there to get lifted up into the low pressure area. And that’s assuming the taper of the trailing edge generated any/enough low pressure at all. So probably no help for those poor guys, unfortunately.

          • Restore Palestine

            HaHaHa. So what does Bagram have to do with Iraq? Is Afghanistan in Iraq, loony? Or Is Iraq in Afghanistan? Let’s hear your spin. Come on.

          • USS ENTERPRISE

            Okay. Bagram is in Afghanistan, no doubt. But would you take off normally from Iraq? NO. I admit, I confused myself a little there, but that is what I meant.

      • Josh

        So the best way to do that is point your nose at an 80 degree angle?


          In a fighter, the Cobra Maneuver. If you are flying really anything else, not suggested.

  • Penyfan

    Tha loadmaster perished in the accident. I would have to believe that he would have checked the load plan and load locks prior to block out given the nature of the load (vehicles). Keep in mind that the vehicles had likely been lashed onto unit load devices (ULDs) prior to uploading into the aircraft. The acute angle of attack on takeoff would tend to suggest extreme CG shift aft; hence, lashing failure (vehicle to ULD) could have contributed to this very sad incident. A similar accident occurred in Miami in 1997 when the load shifted aft on a Fine Air DC8-61F on takeoff. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a very sad day. Rest in peace, dear crew.

    • Restore Palestine

      The pilots might have been enjoying too many samples of the cargo in the back.

      In a situation like this, bet on “pilot error” and the probability of being right would be well over 90%.


        Pilot error. How do you know this? Were you on the flight? Do you have the black box? Are you an aviation expert (can answer that one, NO)? Do you comprehend anything relevant, important, or correct? Are you mentally stable? NO, in fact NO is the default answer to all the questions.

  • JH
  • JH
  • Justin
  • aarongilliland

    No apparent debris or vapor trails prior to impact. I’d like to see the Taliban explain how they shot down an aircraft without marking it. Are any civilian cargo fleets outfitted with softkill APS?

    That stall looked awful. Not enough speed for the pitch control surfaces to do anything, not enough altitude for recovery.

    • Restore Palestine

      Can you see the electromagnetic waves that might have been messing up the plane’s electronic instruments.

      • aarongilliland

        Electromagnetic waves, eh? That’s a pretty broad category… Radio? Laser? Microwave? Ultraviolet? Flashlight? Slightly warm rock?

        What systems do you suppose would be affected?

        • Restore Palestine

          Can’t tell ya. I can’t see the electromagnetic waves that might have been messing up the plane’s instruments (not saying that there were actually any directed at the plane).

          • aarongilliland

            Well let’s see. To get into the stall configuration he was in, and assuming it wasn’t caused by a shift in the CG, there would need to be a loss of pitch control. That means tailplane; horizontal stabilizers and elevators. Those are actuated hydraulically by independent systems which are pressurized by the engines and independent backup pumps. But this is academic since we already know that there wasn’t a total loss of hydraulic control; you can see the ailerons being actuated to stop the plane from rolling.

            Both pilots would have direct pitch reference out their windows as they were close to the ground and in daylight. Even if their artificial horizons completely failed and there were no stall warnings, they’d easily know their relative pitch and how to counteract it.

          • Restore Palestine

            There is no point going into all that. If you must make a determination of the cause right now, pilot error is the obvious and safest bet.

            You don’t need a CG shift or system failure to get into that stall configuration. Bad piloting is sufficient.

            Did you take a close look at the angle and height shortly before stall?


        What?! If the Taliban has “electromagnetic waves” (ray guns” then why have the not, say, brought down EVERY SINGLE US AIRCRAFT?

    • techd

      ***Look at the video just before the impact, there is debris flying off the aircraft from I think the wing

      • techd

        It is hard to see. Maximize the video, slow it down if you can and look at the port wing just before impact. A large piece of something is flying off. Can anyone else confirm?

        • yesjb

          Sorry, I can’t. The resolution is that good on my monitor. But I can see that the nose wheel is down. Did they have a problem raising it? It would have slowed them down in the climb-out.
          My initial thoughts:
          For some reason, high angle of attack and slow speed the plane stalled and initially dropped the left wing. Then the right wing dropped as if the plane were starting into a spin. But it looked as if the plane was also sliding backwards (load shift?)
          The as the plane nears the ground it starts to straighten out as if the pilot is trying to recover, and in fact it looks as if the plane is recovering. But at this point they’re just too close to the ground. The plane struck flat suggesting a partial recovery.
          A pilot’s worst nightmare!

          • techd

            Thanks for taking a look. I wonder if the heavy equipment inside the aircrash was banging around so hard that it was knocking off chunks of planet before impact, although it looks like it is coming from the wing.

            Regarding the load shift possibility – I often see heavy loads secured with just chain. You have the solid cargo, attached to a chain which is then attached to a solid fixed point. In that situation, there would eventually be failure someplace due to fatigue as there is essentially no stretch in the chain and you would have extremely large and oscillating impulse forces.. If aluminum is involved anywhere in that equation the failure would happen much faster. Do loadmasters typically use some kind of dampening in order to prevent this type of failure? That was really a heartbreaking video.

  • John

    RIP. I read that the crew radioed that they had cargo shift onboard right before the crash.

    This clip reminds me of this C-2 crash on youtube. It crashed immediately after takeoff.

    One of the commenters wrote that it was carrying crates (properly secured) with heavy generators inside of the crates (not properly secured). I also read that the original loadmaster refused to certify the cargo and the CO of the carrier still insisted that the c-2 take off and ordered more junior loadmaster to take the flight. The original loadmaster was told he would be court martialed for disobeying a direct order. He watched the crash from the deck.

    • Steve

      Under Article 90, during times of war, a military member who willfully disobeys a superior commissioned officer can be sentenced to death.
      Seems like pretty good motivation to obey any order you’re given, right? Nope. These articles require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.

    • johnvarry

      I also heard that the crew announced the load had shifted.


      • Rest Pal

        heard from where?

  • Derrick

    Please issue an apology. You just watched 7 people die. Regardless of your thoughts on politics or government agnecy procedures this is not the forum for that discussion.

    May these men rest in peace.

  • I suppose there could have been some kind of pre-flight sabotage, but that plane was not shot down.

  • Mikey

    Words are not enough for those that were lost and their families. Our hearts and prayers go out to them and may God hold this crew close to Him always.

  • Pathfinder

    Looked like a high angle of attack/stall from the footage but I could be wrong.

    As for other comments above about shifting loads, the load master is “God” on an cargo aircraft- before the owners and before the pilot. If he he or she says the aircraft stays on the ground until the load is sorted out to their complete satisfaction, then that is what happens. No exceptions. We have run full 120,000 kg loads on AN-124-100 safely and if the load master says to do something, then: “it is written”.

    If in this case, someone bullied or forced control of the aircraft away from the load master, then they need to be investigated immediately, and if evidence indicates then prosecuted with “criminal negligence causing death” If convicted, I would also like to see them flogged for causing the death of their co-workers, but hell, maybe that’s just me?

  • Chris

    Interesting comment about the Loadmaster….. Are USAF Loadmasters configuring, tying down and flying on these civilian contracted aircraft flown by civilian crews. If in fact it is true…..hats off to the Loadmaster…. Had similar issues in the past, especially the quantity of fuel in vehicles and CFR 49/ HAZMAT… If I didn’t feel safe to fly, neither did the bird….. You sign your name when certifying the load.

  • Mark Arjomandi

    I wonder why the dash cam video shows the wrong date….

    • Steve B.

      Because in reality, it’ll always be the year 1600 something in Afghanistan so date doesn’t matter

      • Heyplooha

        Yeah, thats true, but its says February 1st, 2013….


          Huh. Your comment didn’t show up when I typed up mine. Hmmmm…….


        Yes, but in the video clip, the date reads (supposing they use the method I was taught) February 1st, 2013. That was about a month ago. (Written on May 1st, 2013). Any ideas?

        • Yellow Devil

          Supposedly it was timestamped wrong. Or maybe he didn’t program the correct date and time. I know I hardly bother with setting the correct time on my cameras and videos.


      Do you have access to Google? Type in “Time”. Americans can’t tell time. Google, which was started by two Americans (Sergei is American, holds a US citizenship), can tell time, world wide.

  • Steve B.

    Amazing how much name calling goes on here. You would think the subject matter would lend itself to a more refined discussion. I actually get a better read on the incident from one of my bicycle forums.

    That said. The viewing aspect of what is in all probability a valid video, by itself cannot be used to determine forward speed of the aircraft. At that viewing angle, a plane climbing steeply appears to have very little forward momentum, especially as the camera is itself moving forward.

    Still, it appears the plane stalled. The left wing dip and then the over correction to a right wing dip, is seemingly a stall, then an attempt to correct, with the engines redlined and loss of forward speed and lift and that’s all she wrote. The gear is still down as the crew had no time to retract as they dealt with the nose up and shift of center of gravity. Not really much more to discuss except a heartfelt thought for the families who watched their relatives die in this video.

    • yesjb

      I agree Steve B. (see my earlier post.
      But as I recall from my flying days, after a stall and a wing drop, a spin will commence in the other direction with the opposite wing dropping.
      I think that the spin was averted and the pilot lowered the nose to get flying again, counteracting the tail slide. But they just ran out of height.
      if only they had had another 500-100 feet!
      Poor buggers, they may have done everything right to recover, but ran out of air.

    • Restore Palestine

      What makes you think there was a CG shift?

    • Tim M.

      The fact that the gear was down is a good observation and a clue. Normally the gear would have been retracted right away but the fact it was down indicates to me that the pilots were working a problem that was known at least as early as a few seconds after rotation and maybe earlier.

  • Alexis

    My mother-in law is over in Afghanistan and phoned home to check in and tell us of the horrific misfortune. M family and I want to express our deepest sympathy for the families co-workers and associates that were impacted from the devastating crash. I pray that what ever the cause was of the crash becomes determined and things like this can be avoided for future references.

  • SSgt Lawlor

    This aircraft was just at Kunsan’s flightline last week. We loaded it with cargo for a redeploying TSP going back to the States. Worked with this aircrew for a few hours on the ground and in some pretty crappy weather and they were good guys. Still hard to believe this happened.

  • tribulationtime

    Despite the pilot can´t defense himself. My opinion is that crew take -off pushing the plane to limit trying to gain altitude as manpads defense. Somehow, this time didn´t work. Nevertheless, it would be a lot of reasons to crash without a crew fail.

    • BajaWarrior

      Are you some kind of pilot?

  • marc27

    cargo shift there was no way the couldnt done anything on time to prevent the crash is too bad.

    • Vaporhead

      Until the facts come in, stop spreading rumors that it was cargo shifting. It could have easily been a flight control/autopilot problem.

  • OneFryShort

    I’m kind of glad we are assisting in the middle east destroying itself. The entire middle east is full of nothing but worthless p.o.s..

  • Dennis Allen

    Unless procedures have changed a loadmaster is part of the military aircraft crew but not so for civilian aircraft. For civilian cargo aircraft the load placement is usually computed by a load planner sitting in a chair on the airport grounds. A load breaking lose in the aircraft during takeoff could move the center of gravity aft enough to cause a severe high angle of attack leading to stall. If tiedown was preformed properly, one chain breaking or one lock failing would not cause a catostophic failure of all tie down devices. Redundancy of chain tiedown was usually the case, at least in the military aircraft. If cargo shifting during flight is determined to be the probably cause, I think you will find someone failed to secure an entire vehicle or rollerized cargo causing a cargo shift and domino effect as one vehicle or pallet slammed toward the rear of the aircraft.

    • Vaporhead

      Who proved it had anything to do with load shifting? Why not a flight control problem?

      • Rest Pal

        It’s highly unlikely the crash had anything to do with load shifting. In fact from the video clip shown one can reasonably rule out the possibility because of the way the 747 dropped. Aggressive take off pitch plus wind shear and bad piloting would far more likely have been the cause based on the video and past statistics.

  • Vaporhead

    You guys are committing the #1 no-no when it comes to mishap investigations like this. NEVER assume it was XXXXXXX without factual information. If you go into a mishap investigation with a mindset that “cargo shifted” then you will more than likely ignore other possible causal factors and the truth will never be known.

  • F-15 Eagle Keeper

    Has anyone stopped and thought for a minute, why would someone be shooting a video while driving down the road like that ? And all of a sudden there’s a 747 taking off. This person was at the right place, at the right time to video this. Looks like this person is involved with this possible sabotage / terrorist act. Need to investigate this person ASAP !!! F-15 Eagle Keeper

    • Vaporhead

      Looked to be a dashboard camera, which starts recording when you turn the vehicle on. Same type of video the Russians love to make about their car crashes.

    • Penyfan

      Looked like a military vehicle with a bonnet antenna. The one word spoken sounded like it was spoken by a Brit, Aussie or Kiwi.

  • SFP

    I have load planned many aircraft with everything from pallets, wheel and tracked vehicles. Either this bird was not configured properly or the cargo shifted due to tie down failure or failure to tie it down.

  • carolwilliams24

    Well that accord story was just somewhat correct… It appears that accident was due to the CIA having some good times with the Russian’s back in the day. Makes Russians stole the fundamental plans of that plane from the USA… Unfamiliar to them… The arrangements had a blemish in them that was deliberately included.