Losses and Aviation Safety

USMC KC-130J SUFFERS LOSS OF PRESSURIZATION AT 21,000 FEET

The KC-130J aircrew expertly executed appropriate procedures and safely landed at MCAS Miramar

On Aug. 15, 2017 at approximately 11:20 A.M., a KC-130J belonging to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352 departed Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar with 46 passengers and experienced a loss of pressurization at 21,000 feet during a scheduled training mission.

As reported by a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) news release, the C-130J aircrew expertly executed appropriate procedures and safely landed at MCAS Miramar.

Noteworthy four Marines and one Sailor from 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion based at Camp Pendleton, California, displayed symptoms of decompression sickness the following day and were treated at Naval Medical Center San Diego. However they were treated and released, and did not require hospitalization.

The cause of this incident is currently under investigation.

Actually this is the second accident experienced by USMC KC-130s in a month. On Jul. 10, 2017 in fact a KC-130T from VMGR-452, a Reserve unit based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., crashed into a soybean field in Mississippi.

According to Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James, commander of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, the KC-130T, BuNo. 16500, suffered an emergency at cruise altitude.

“Indications are something went wrong at cruise altitude,” he claimed. “There is a large debris pattern.”

He added that there were two debris fields, one half a mile north of Highway 82 and a half a mile south of Highway 82.

The KC-130 crashed between the towns of Itta Bena and Moorhead and was bringing Marines from MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina to Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro in California.

Currently KC-130Ts are being phased out in favor of the newer KC-130J model. VMGR-452 is the only Marine unit still using the KC-130T.

Photo credit: Cpl. Joseph Abrego / U.S. Marine Corps

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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