The latest Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules that was delivered as attrition to the one lost in Sweden. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

Norwegian Hercules crash: crew, training and ATC

The latest Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules that was delivered as attrition to the one lost in Sweden. (Image © Lockheed Martin)
The latest Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules that was delivered as attrition to the one lost in Sweden. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

UPDATE October 23, 2013: The official release of the report confirmed the conclusions in what already leaked out. Much to blame are the unexperienced air traffic controllers in Kiruna and Stockholm, and the Norwegian Air Force crew training and crew documentation.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force C-130J Hercules crash against Sweden’s highest mountain on March 15th, 2012, was mainly caused by interpretation failures of the instruments on board by the crew, a lack of training or preparation by the Norwegian Air Force and the lack of guidance by Swedish air traffic controllers.

According to Swedish press agency TT these are the main ingredients of a still secret report of the Accident Investigation Committee (Haverikommission), of which details have been leaked on Tuesday August 27th, 2013, and subsequently published by among others the Swedish nationwide newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The aircraft crashed during a NATO-Swedish military exercise in March last year. The Norwegian transport aircraft would make a tactical approach from Evenes, Norway, through the Swedish mountains west of the town of Kiruna, and land at its airport. The flight stopped when the plane violently hit Mount Kebnekaise, with 2,106 meters above sea level the highest peak of Sweden. All 5 crew members on board were killed instantly.

According to the details from the crash investigation report leaked to TT/SvD newspaper the terrain warning instrument was set too low. An error message about the settings was misinterpreted by the crew.

The Norwegian pilots also did not know they flew in so-called uncontrolled airspace, meaning navigation was entirely without air traffic control. According to the leaked details crew, ATC in Kiruna and air operation leaders in Stockholm had not sufficiently communicated with each other.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

See also our Overview: Royal Norwegian Air Force