Quote: Sometimes, a 99.96% success rate isn’t good enough. That’s how often the Air Force’s MC-12W Liberty spy planes arrive overhead when needed by U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
The twin-turboprop planes are modified versions of the Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350. Their crew of four includes a pair of pilots and a pair of backseat sensor operators, who funnel video to ground-pounders down below. The fleet has played a key role in the killing or capture of more than 700 high-value insurgents in Afghanistan over the past four years, the Air Force says.
rc135x From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4400 times:
An interesting report, but Time's emphasis on the limits of the MC-12 itself misses the point entirely.
This was pilot error from the beginning. Blaming the lack of visual references is duplicitous. Even in CAVU a pilot should spend maybe 5% of his visual cross check in the cockpit and that would have caught the deceleration in the climb. Too long for the PIC to intervene. Poor training and crew management? You bet.
But there is nothing in the report to suggest that the airplane was at fault.
Another sad story of crew inexperience leading to fatalities.
Workload can get high with lots of radios and tactical considerations. They did not have nap of the earth flying and small arms fire issues, but I would think things could and did get busy for them at times.
number of *pilots* in extant US combat aircraft: A-10 x 1; F-16 x 1; F/A-18 x 1; F-15 x 1
MC-12 "combat" role: stand off special operations
I just don't see the need for 2 pilots in an MC-12 based on "combat environment" when the front-line combat aircraft have only a single pilot (it doesn't matter how many mission specialists/WSOs are on board jets like F-15Es and F/A-18Fs because the crash was related exclusively to pilot performance).
Quoting JohnM (Reply 5): Workload can get high with lots of radios and tactical considerations.
Not a problem for FAC A-10Cs now any more than it's been for FACs ranging from O-1s and O-2s to OV-10s and OA-37s, all of which were normally flown by a single pilot. If the pilot can't hack it s/he shouldn't be flying alone in ANY airplane.
Ultimately the failings of the pilots should not be obscured with extraneous noise about the need for 1 or 2 pilots on the MC-12.