Cargo Plane Crashes in California : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Cargo Plane Crashes in California

The Associated Press Thursday, Feb. 17, 2000; 12:33 a.m. EST

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.  A DC-8 cargo airplane crashed into an automobile wrecking yard while trying to make an emergency landing late Wednesday, according to broadcast reports.

It was not immediately known how many people were on board. The plane, which belonged to the Emery Worldwide transport service, typically carries a crew of three, Sacramento television station KXTV reported.

The crash set up to 200 cars on fire and caused explosions over a 200-yard-long area, fire Capt. Dan Haverty told KXTV.

Witnesses told the station they saw the plane take off from the former Mather Air Force Base and then turn around.

KCBS radio said the pilot reported trouble, circled back to make an emergency landing and then crashed.

There were no immediate reports of injuries on the ground.

Flames covered several hundred yards, and a piece of the aircraft was seen burning in a nearby wrecking yard.

Since its closure as a military base, Mather has become a civilian airport and the Sacramento region's air cargo hub.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), February 17, 2000


Hazardous Cargo Plane Crash Ignites Inferno

DC-8 Slammed Into Wrecking Yard Near Sacramento

David Krough, Staff Writer, February 16, 2000, 9:21 p.m. PST

SACRAMENTO, Posted 9:30 p.m. PST February 16, 2000 -- A field of flame erupted from a plane crash in an auto-wrecking yard near Sacramento Wednesday night.

KOIN 6 News reports the plane, an Emery freight DC-8, had just taken off from Mather Airfield, about 12 miles east of Sacramento, when it dove into the Earth around 8:30 p.m.

Several fires from burning debris lit up a vast parcel of land like torches in the night while crews fought to keep the blazes under control.

There were no survivors.

The Associated Press reports the plane carried hazardous materials.

-- hot (, February 17, 2000.

Tonight's teevee news said 3 died, and the cargo was transmission fluid plus other hazardous stuff (fuses?). The fire chief said he was informed the trouble was with "unsettled cargo". The pictures were quite spectacular, because the plane crashed in an auto wrecking yard and the fire spread to the cars, which began to explode. Shades of Dante's Inferno - all black with jets of red and orange, and tiny figures of firemen trying not to get too close while hosing down the wrecking yard.

Not sure if this crash story is on topic or not. One ground witness said she saw the plane taking off normally, then it turned and immediately thereafter crashed. An expert who was dragged into an interview by the 10:00 news thought that the cargo may have shifted aft, making the plane uncontrollable. We will hear more theories, no doubt, in coming days. However, it is interesting that this would happen at the same time planes in other places are grounded for mysterious smoke in cabins, etc.

-- Margaret J (, February 17, 2000.

Cargo plane crashes near Sacramento, California

RANCHO CORDOVA, California (CNN) -- A DC-8 cargo plane crashed late Wednesday, apparently after taking off from former Mather Air Force base in California, near Sacramento.

It was not yet known how many people were aboard, and whether they survived the crash. The plane was believed to have a crew of about four people.

A witness told the local television station that he was sitting in his office and heard the explosion -- the plane burst into flames. Salvage cars in the area were also in flames and exploding, he said.

The craft had just taken off, witnesses said, and appeared to be experiencing problems; it was turning around when the crash occurred.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), February 17, 2000.

HAWK, Thanks for the notice... I used to say, "Its too dangerous to be in the air..." but now I think I'll changed that to: "Its too dangerous anywhere there are planes overhead!"

I hope this isn't another incident where the crash cause is undetermined. Do these planes also carry flight recording devices? and if they do, do you know if this one has been located?

If there is no recording device, what happens next?...a long investigation? BRyan

-- S BRyan G (, February 17, 2000.

More on the plane crash. Reports says explosives on board...crash may have been caused by off center/shifting load.

Cargo plane crashes near Mather; crew of three killed By Steve Wiegand Bee Staff Writer

A DC-8 cargo jet been carrying "detonating devices" crashed shortly after takeoff from Mather Field on Wednesday night, killing its crew of three and transforming the area into a hellish tableau of flame and smoke.

The Emery Air Freight plane, which had just taken off from the former Air Force base, apparently had mechanical trouble and was attempting to return to the field, when it suddenly went into a dive and slammed into an adjacent auto recycling yard shortly before 8 p.m. There were no reports of casualties on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration operations center in Los Angeles reported that Flight 17, bound for Dayton, Ohio, had trouble on takeoff, turned to the left and had "an extreme center of gravity problem."

"There was no chance of rescue," said Capt. Dan Haverty of the American River Fire District. He said there apparently were no injuries on the ground.

The pilot reported unsecured cargo shortly after the plane took off, Haverty said. The plane's manifest listed clothing, automatic transmission fluid and a small amount of detonating explosives as the cargo, he said, adding that it was not immediately known what the explosives were.

The plane crashed into an auto wrecking yard, setting 100 to 200 cars, some with gasoline in their tanks, on fire and setting off periodic explosions.

Flight 17 took off at 7:50 p.m., bound for Dayton, Ohio, and the pilot immediately called back to the airfield's departure control and told them he had a severe problem with his center of gravity, said Jim Whitehead, manager of the FAA's regional operations center in Los Angeles.

"He impacted the ground in a wrecking yard in a ball of fire," Whitehead said.

Passing motorist Ernie Killinger said the plane hit the ground belly- first.

"I saw the top of the plane. It was like he was crash-landing," said Ernie Killinger of Orangevale, who was driving home when he saw the plane crash.

"When the plane come out of the flames, I saw the front half of the fuselage come out of the flames and the cockpit was straight up and it just rocked back and forth until it was engulfed by the flames," Killinger said. "I thought at one time it would outrun the flames."

"It was one big boom, almost like a bomb," said Scott Catchot, co- owner of Cadillac Auto Recycling, which is next to the 15-acre yard where the plane hit. "The whole sky lit up."

Catchot said the blast violently shook his building, causing the plate-glass doors and windows to bow several feet. He said that he and several others ran to the back wall of the burning yard, which is part of a business called the Insurance Auto Auctions, and could see the plane's fuselage.

"It looked like there were ribs sticking out, and the side was bent in," he said. "There were explosions about one second apart when the cars' gas tanks went up -- just 'boom, boom, boom.'"

A huge black cloud grew hundreds of feet high from the crash and spread oily smoke the color of a deep bruise across the sky. A California Highway Patrol helicopter buzzed the area, warning watchers the smoke could be toxic and to evacuate the area.

Emery Worldwide officially opened its new air-cargo facility at Mather in March. Three years ago, Emery was one of the first air- cargo companies to move to Mather after the Air Force left, operating from a temporary site. Thursday, it held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its 33,800-square-foot permanent facility.

Emery is based in Redwood City and operates in 229 countries from more than 500 service centers around the world. Emery Worldwide is a subsidiary of CNF Inc., a $5.6-billion transportation company based in Palo Alto.

The DC-8, made by the McDonnell-Douglas company, which is now part of Boeing, is one of the earliest jet-powered commercial planes. The plane was discontinued in 1971 in favor of other models.

The crash comes little more than two weeks after the U.S. aviation world was shaken by the crash of an Alaska Airlines MD-83 into the Pacific Ocean off Southern California. Eighty-eight passengers and crew were killed in that crash. In the aftermath, other MD-83s were grounded for repairs to their horizontal stabilizers, which control the pitch of the plane's nose.

Mather Air Force Base closed as a military operation in 1993. In its heyday, it not only housed Strategic Air Command bombers on alert pads, but also was the Air Force's largest and busiest training base, churning out first pilots and then navigators by the thousands.

In 1982, a B-52 bomber attached to the 93rd Bomb Wing at Castle Air Force crashed on takeoff at Mather a week before Christmas. The crash, which killed the crew of nine and injured some nearby residents, stirred concerns of Air Force and local officials about the field's safety because of its proximity to neighborhoods and heavily-traveled Highway 50.

In 1995, it officially became Mather Airport, a civilian commercial air field. In addition to air freight operations, the field has been used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.


-- Carl Jenkins (, February 17, 2000.

Must have been an overflowing buffer in one of them there computerized cargo tie-down straps.

-- Mikey2k (, February 17, 2000.

Mikey, you might be on to something. Truth be known, this plane was spaying the area and made a U-turn, resulting in a shifting of the bio-chem payload.

-- Ra (tion@l.1), February 17, 2000.

My Dear Mikey,

Sir this type of diatribe is beneath you. I do so wish that you wold exhibit both the candor and intelligent expertise that I have seen you display in other postings..

Ra, is now, has always been (apparently) and will always be a non-factor in any informative gattering of intelligent conversations. But you sir, do contribute to an intelligent discussion ( if you can get past your childish need to display your dislike for some one personally). Rather than listen to what they are saying.

Now..I do have a question for you sir! Does the DC-8 have the same type of gimbal nut/jack screw arrangement that the MD-80 series air craft do? Could a sudden out of trim air craft, at such a low altitude and at such a low speed (remember they where taking off). Loose their control suddenly. (Remember now)! A shifting cargo--to the rear! Mimics a down ward attitude of a stabalizer excately.

I do believe that you can contribte an informed respondse to a serious question sir. And I am honestly serious with my question.

As for the moronic Ra...There is nothing I care to hear from him/her/it. Their only expertise (admitted by them/it) was and is a need to be entertained (I guess the sky is cloudy today and "they" can't watch the dust motes dancing in the sun rays again).

But I DO pace alue on your observations (when you are not trying to tear at another personally) sir.

"As for me...I shall finish the Game"!


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), February 17, 2000.

Shakey, it would appear that Mikey and Ra are injecting some badly needed humor before you have a chance to give one of your expert opinions on this crash. I suggest you finish your game (before your hand wears out) and go back to sniffing glue or whatever jerkoffs like you do in the dark.

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), February 17, 2000.

My dear Me. Sifting

Sir being both crude and rude. It is easy for one to understand why you must think that others enjoy the same low pleasures that you do sir. It must truely be lonely for you young one. To be so in love with your self, that you think being married your hand is wedded bliss.

How ever...It does assure the world of at least one benifit. That you are the end of your line. I Just hope that you are still able to get your "hand up" in the years to come!

My! That was refreshing! To think of it! I have heard from the last (well almost) of the great( in his opinion) self lovers! I can only conclude that his extremities are at odds with his self abusing of them. And have "laid down" on the job in strike protest (of course).

Face it little one..Being in construction or thirty plus years, I have worked around and with the "greats" in base humor! And sir...I have known Jack Parr! And you are no Jack Parr! You don't even make the grade as a "Out House Poet". Rave on Little Sheba! Rave on!

"As for me...I shall finish the Game"!


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), February 17, 2000.

But hold it for a minute Mr. Sifting!

For my question to Mr. Mikey to have drawn such a "sudden" off color jab from you...???

Can it be shill! That there is "flesh" to my question of Mikey! Indeed, taking it for granted that you are a SHILL. Did that question strike a PC nerve!!

But...Oh! I see you are busy right now. Well didn't mean to disturb you in your romantic interlude there old stud.

"As for me...I shall finish the Game"!


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), February 17, 2000.

ShakeIt me lad, looks like I've struck a nerve...ROTFLMAO.

-- Sifting (through@the.rubble), February 17, 2000.

I remember riding in a DC-8 about 25 years ago. When we flew through a thunderstorm, the wings flapped like a bird's.

Shakey, in response to your question: I don't know. I imagine that it has an electro-mechanical actuator of some sort and may very well be similar to the MD-80.

With respect to the shifting load issue: A conventional aircraft is more stable when the center-of-gravity is forward of the center of lift.

Speculation Mode ON: The load in the DC-8 may have shifted aft and made the aircraft difficult to control. Perhaps the load shifted again at a critical moment when the aircraft was low and slow for landing (anyone familiar with the area of the crash) Speculation Mode OFF.

-- Mikey2k (, February 17, 2000.

Mike, you have brought back some memories with your vision of the flapping wings. All of the older multi-engine, under-wing mounted jets had a tremendous wing span. This required that the airframe construction would allow for a lot of wing flexing to handle the payload forces. Ive been in B-52s during take-off and landings where the wings were flapping like a huge bird. The 52s had outrigger wheels at the wing tips to keep them from grounding. The 707s could flap away pretty good as well.

Back in the late 50s, Lockheed brought out a quad-engine turboprop commercial airliner dubbed the Electra. They had some fatal flaws (too stiff) in the design of the wing to fuselage area and had many failures due to separation of the wings (not conducive to good lift or sustained flight). These planes were taken out of commercial service, re-worked, and reincarnated as the P3 Orion ASW sub-killers for the U.S.Navy. I spent 10 years in the Navy as a Flight Engineer and flew the P2 Neptunes right up to my discharge in 1965. I would suspect that any significant cargo shifting on that old Eight during the critical minutes after take-off could be catastrophic. But Ill wait until the experts bring in their findings.

When I say experts you may rest assured that Hawk and Shakey are not included. I got to tell you that Im still chuckling over the a** ripping that Shakey received from Mr. Sifting. Shakey, your response sounds like some half-wit pervert caught whacking off at the Saturday matinee, then screaming at everybody that is laughing at you. Too funny!

-- Ra (tion@l.1), February 17, 2000.

Once more the words of pure "wisdom" spill from the infamous Ra's key board. His wit! Second to none, while he stares at the swrilling dust motes. A sigh of satisfaction croses his cyber face...For he is the best in the land! Bar none! No other is witty then he, under the sun.

With his pard Sifting well in hand!..Togeather they stroll off into their private land.

Safe in their knowledge of rigious indignation!...That they togeather will form their own nation!

Oneth by land, twoth by sea! They quote each other in great revelery!

Safe in their knowledge that they know what is best!..And they'll tell each other they know better than all the rest!

Their place in history is self assured!....Though past puberty neither has matured!

Thusly ends the saga of Ra and Sifting! Their hearts so light and uplifting!

May the sun be in your face Ra LOL

"As for me...I shall finish the Game"!


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), February 18, 2000.

Yes, Mikey ---

Are these essentially the same plane? What does DC-8 stand for? "Douglas Cargo 8" for the frieght carrier, and MD-80 the same structure and electronics fitted out for passengers? If so, I take my tally two 2 on the first day ......

-- Squirrel Hunter (nuts@upina.cellrelaytower), February 18, 2000.


I have to assume your question is tongue in cheek. the [D]ouglas [C] ommerical-8 is a four engined plane built from 1958 to 1972. There are no more flying in regular passenger service - they have all been converted to freighters. There about as many embedded systems in them as your garden hose. They crash all the time - look at the number of DC-8 crashes at the link I have you earlier.

-- Jim Cooke (, February 18, 2000.

There was a similar crash a couple years back in Miami FL. The plane was taking off when the cargo shifted and the plane immediately went down. Unfortunately, it crashed into a warehouse area parking lot during the lunch hour. The death count was amazingly low, however. If I remember correctly....

By the way, I do not recall the DC-8 as being on the list of planes with similar tail structures as the MD-80 series. I think the DC-9 was on the list.

-- The Postman (ringstwice@lw.ays), February 18, 2000.

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