A deadly crash in Arizona killed two pilots and a crew member, the first civilian death in the Air Combat Command’s Hercules fleet.
The C-27J was en route to the airport in the Phoenix suburb of Payson when it crashed on Jan. 23.
The crew of the aircraft survived the crash, but two of the four people aboard died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
The incident has raised questions about whether the aircrafts pilots had adequate training to safely navigate the air, and whether the Air Command was able to track and respond to the accident as quickly as it could have.
“The pilot and crew were flying the Hercules, but the pilot and co-pilot had not been certified for the Hercules program and did not have the necessary training to operate safely,” Air Force spokeswoman Heather Kuzmacher said.
The two pilots, Capt. Michael Bork and Capt. John G. Cramer, were among those who died.
The pilots had been with the Hercules fleet since 2002 and were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
They were assigned as “flight instructors” and had flown over 400 flights in the aircraft.
“Their skills were exceptional, and they have a great respect for the men and women of the Air Guard and the Air National Guard,” said John M. Miller, chief executive of the National Aviation Teachers Association.
“They were a great, valued, and well-respected members of the family,” Miller said.
“I will always remember the courage and resilience of these two men and their families,” said Lt.
Gen. Mark A. Welsh, commander of the U.S. Air Force Pacific Command.
“I also will always be grateful for their service to their country.”
A spokesman for the U, Air Force, said the accident remains under investigation and the cause remains under review.
The Hercules is a heavy-lift aircraft that is used for cargo and support of ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It has a top speed of about 180 mph (255 km/h), and it can carry up to 200,000 pounds (80,000 kg) of cargo.
The plane, which is being used by the U Air Force in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations, is used by Air Force forces in the U-2 and U-3 reconnaissance aircrafts and is the mainstay of the air force’s air operations in the Asia-Pacific region.