According to the air force’s newly released accident investigation report, the C-130J pilot used the night vision goggle (NVG) case to keep the aircraft’s elevator up as tall cargo was loaded on the ramp.

However, over the next 50min and during the final preflight check, the pilot and copilot seemingly forgot to remove the hard case prior to takeoff.

Once the aircraft became airborne just after midnight, it continued to pitch upwards, quickly reaching 42° nose up.

In the 11s from lift-off to the first stall warning, the pilot and copilot incorrectly assumed it was a trim malfunction and therefore used the wrong procedures to try and regain control of the aircraft.

The C-130J had been airborne for just 28s when it careered into Jalalabad Airfield’s perimeter wall and guard tower right of the runway at 112kts (207km/h) and 14° nose down. The descent rate was in excess of 2,438m per minute, and the aircraft exploded on impact and was completely destroyed, the accident report says.

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