National Air Cargo’s 747 Literally Falls Out Of The Sky – VIDEO


Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 3:30pm (UTC +0430),  National Air Cargo flight NCR 102 lifted off from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport, on a routine cargo flight. Flight NCR 102, a Boeing 747-428BCF (N949CA), operating with a crew of seven, was ferrying general cargo and five military vehicles in support of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, when it literally fell out of the sky.

The Boeing 747 freighter reached an altitude of approximately 1,200 feet when its nose quickly rose up, stalled, then suddenly pitched downward and slammed into the ground. (original wording of this sentence has been edited)

The initial theories, based on aircraft radio transmissions,  indicate a sudden shift in the aircraft’s cargo causing the aircraft’s balance to be thrown off.   This incident is being investigated by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation

The catastrophic crash of National Air Cargo’s Boeing 747 falling from the sky was amazingly captured on a dashboard camera passing in front of the aircraft as it lifted off from Bagram Airfield.

Below is the video of the aircraft crash. This video is not for the squeamish and certainly should not be watched by those with a fear of flying.     Accidents happen, and statistically air travel remains far safer than driving in your car.

Ending this post with “Happy Flying” seems a tad inappropriate for the four pilots, the load master and two mechanics who lost their lives, so I’ll end with this …

… G-d Speed To You Seven On Board NCR 102.



  1. Not an engine stall but an aerodynamic stall. Cargo suddenly shifting to the rear could send the weight and balance of the aircraft too far rearward, pushing the tail down and the nose up and causing an excessive angle of attack (AOA). When the AOA is too steep, the aircraft can stall.

    A stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by an airfoil as the AOA increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the airfoil is exceeded. Stalls in fixed-wing flight are often experienced as a sudden reduction in lift as the wing’s AOA exceeds its critical angle of attack.

  2. Greg,

    There was an IT issue going on with my blog that prevented me from embedding the video properly or logging in to the dashboard. Sorry about that. I see Craig has posted a link … thank you. The video should be properly appearing now.

    Happy Flying!


  3. Dave,

    Thank you for the detailed info. The info, as it was relayed to me, was simplified to the sudden change in pitch resulted in an engine stall. I appreciated your insight.

    Happy Flying!


  4. The cargo flight N8-102 crew were heard on VHF air-band frequency reporting that some of the load of five heavy military vehicles weighing more than 70 tons in the cargo hold had shifted and the National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 stalled. National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 crashed and erupted into flames on impact. The crash site was near the end of the 11,849 ft long runway 03 within the perimeter of the Bagram airfield. All seven crew – Jamie Brokaw, pilot, Monroe, MI, Brad Hasler, pilot, Trenton, MI, Jeremy Lipka, pilot, Brooklyn, MI, Rinku Summan, pilot, Canton, MI, Michael Sheets, loadmaster, Ypsilanti, MI, Gary Stockdale, mechanic, Romulus, MI, Timothy Garrett, mechanic, Louisville, KY were killed on impact.
    The loadmaster performs the calculations and plans cargo placement to keep the aircraft within permissible center of gravity limits throughout the flight. Loadmasters ensure cargo is placed on the aircraft in such a way as to prevent overloading sensitive sections of the airframe and cargo floor.
    The loadmaster primarily supervises loading crews and procedures. Once positioned aboard the aircraft, the loadmaster ensures the cargo is secured against movement. Chains, straps, and integrated cargo locks are among the most common tools used to secure the cargo. Because cargo may shift during abrupt maneuvers, the loadmaster must determine the appropriate amount and placement of cargo restraint.
    There are many things that could go wrong. If it was palletized, a lock could of failed. A chain holding the vehicle might of been weak and broke. Or a tiedown could of failed. There are many things that could of happened to cause the high nose pitch. Cargo shift is a high probability. Center of gravity on an aircraft is very important, especially on cargo planes. Watching the video makes me think that the cargo load got loose and shifted back and caused the rapid nose high pitch. It´s a very deep stall because the aircraft seem to be almost vertical in the rolling.

    Similarly August 11, 1997, a Fine Air DC-8 aircraft loaded with 45 tons of fabric, departed Miami International airport, just moments into its flight the DC-8 came tumbling down killing at least 5 people. The DC-8 upon takeoff became tail heavy, stalled and then crashed in a Miami, business district just several hundred feet from the runway. Investigators have recovered several cargo latches from the DC-8 and it has been reported that only one of the latches was in the locked position. This would indicate that the cargo on the DC-8 upon takeoff had shifted to the tail off the aircraft making it tail heavy producing an uncontrolled sharp nose up in the rolling.

    During the takeoff roll from runway 25R at Frankfurt at 0804Z, October 11, 1983, Flying Tigers 747-200 had the similar load shift. The pallet/load which shifted was pipes used for nuclear power plant cooling systems. The airplane was not written off and was flying again about 6 weeks later, having been repaired by a Boeing swat team. The swat team removed the aft fuselage and tail sections, replaced the pressure dome/bulkhead, aft fuselage and the tails sections

  5. Will those people with no aerodynamic knowledge please stop commenting.
    Turbo Fan Engines (Gas Turbines) do not stall so to speak. Rather they have compressor stalls, but this does not STALL the engine as such, like a car engine
    The aircraft suffered an aerodynamic wing stall.
    When the AOA (Angle Of Attack) of a modern day aerofoil exceeds 16 Deg the wing will no longer be able to create “LIFT”
    Looking at the video, It does look like the aircraft had a weight & Balance issue.
    To the eye, its seems as if the aircraft’s weight was too far AFT. The weight may have shifted during take off or on rotation slightly after the aircraft reached its (V1 SPEED)

  6. Matthew, Thats for putting our the right info on the difference on a compressor stall and an aerodynamic stall. I don’t think most of them reading this site know the difference between the two. It sure looks like a aft CG issue for sure just from watching the video.

  7. Gents,
    pilots could have stabilized the 747 if they were at a higher autitude or in this case collapse was inevitable?
    Thank you in advance!

  8. “Ending this post with “Happy Flying” seems a tad inappropriate for the four pilots, the load master and two mechanics who lost their lives…”

    Seriously, “seems” and just “tad”?….It stinks to high heaven.

  9. “Gents, pilots could have stabilized the 747 if they were at a higher autitude or in this case collapse was inevitable? Thank you in advance! Dymas”

    Without having cause for stall, impossible to know if high altitude could help. As of now only proper assumption to make, the pilots would have both shaker stick and audio stall warning, and would have reacted accordingly.

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