C-130 Hercules Tragedy

C-130 Hercules Tragedy | Frontline Videos

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Failed LAPES Maneuver

This USAF C-130E Hercules was displaying its Low-Altitude Parachute Extraction System (or LAPES) when it crashed at Fort Bragg on July 1, 1987. 

The maneuver, which was a low-level airdrop technique, calls for a parachute to pull the cargo out of the Hercules’ rear door as it makes a touch-and-go. However, in this instance, the C-130E pilot failed to pull up after it deployed the M551 Sheridan tank.

As a result, the aircraft hit the tree line and burned itself into the ground. Four out of six board were killed, including a soldier on the ground, and injured two more crew members.

The cargo plane’s tail section was almost a mile from where the tank was dropped, while debris scattered down the runway.


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