C130 and RQ 7 collision, fingers pointing at C130 crew.

Avweek has confirmed what we have heard from a couple of sources. Only the official report will tell what really happened. Somebody must have been watching this unfold on radar though and could have given avoiding action to either party.

Investigation is under way, but “the [Shadow] was where it was supposed to be, doing what it was supposed to,” says Col. Robert Sova, UAV capabilities manager at Army Training and Doctrine Command.

The Shadow was in a holding pattern 4,500 ft. off the end of the runway, where it had been directed by air traffic control, when the C-130 “flew right through,” Owings says. “The manned aircraft did not do what it was procedurally supposed to, nor were they where they thought they were,” Sova says

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An initial analysis may absolve the AAI RQ-7 Shadow of blame for a mid-air collision with a Lockheed Martin C-130 over Afghanistan on August 15, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Rather than colliding with the manned aircraft, the unmanned RQ-7 was overtaken from behind by the C-130, sources said.

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7 thoughts on “C130 and RQ 7 collision, fingers pointing at C130 crew.
  1. “The Shadow was in a holding pattern 4,500 ft. off the end of the runway, where it had been directed by air traffic control”

    I don’t know who’s idea that was, but staying in a holding pattern off the end of a runway isn’t very smart, is it? I know if I were in a manned aircraft, my response to ATC would have been “You want me to hold where?!?” Most holding pattern locations are usually away from airports and out of the traffic pattern.

  2. I am shocked by one of two situations.

    1) A Colonel involved in an accident investigation would comment on the aforementioned investigation.

    2) A Colonel with, at best, secondhand knowledge of an accident investigation would make uneducated statements implying that he had a solid basis upon which to make this statement.

    Frankly, however, this preemptive CYA is not shocking for anyone who has spent 4.3 seconds in the military, particularly if those unfortunate 4.3 seconds were in the presence of a UAV driver.

  3. In this situation, the holding pattern is so close to the airport to facilitate base security. The Shadow was being used to protect the base perimeter so it had to be holding close to the field.

  4. Take note: The public comment by Col. Sova reveals him to be unprofessional at best and utterly incompetent to speak on any matter concerning aviation accident investigations at worst. His statement is clearly an attempt to preempt the official investigation and protect his UAS turf. Having flown real aircraft for hundreds of hours in this theater, I can tell you that all this talk about things assigned by “air traffic control” is laughable and frightening to those that actually have their pink ass sitting in their planes, instead of operating them from a safe bunker somewhere. Keep this in mind:

    1)Afghanistan is a combat environment
    2)Aircraft ingressing/egressing this FOB are not on IFR flight plans

    Consequently: I reserve the right to fly where and when I need to to avoid the ever-changing threat and keep my passengers and crew safe. I always inform ATC (such as it is) of what I am doing and where I am and take their advisories about the position of UAS aircraft into account. By the way, most of the time these UAS aircraft are not where ATC says they are (i.e. not where they are supposed to be.)

    Big Picture: UAS aircraft should take care to give manned aircraft a wide berth to every extent of their capability because THEY ARE NOT MANNED!

  5. How many bird strikes per year in that part of the world? Done some flying there myself, some pretty large birds in large numbers there, Eagles, Vultures etc. They dont report to ATC neither!

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