STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Pilots who have flown massive aircraft like the C-130 know all too well the challenges and dangers that come along with it.
We spoke with a veteran pilot Thursday who is heartbroken for the airmen killed in the crash in Port Wentworth Wednesday. He says problems arise from the size, the weight, and the age of these aircraft.
Derek Duke flew transport planes like the C-130 in his 30-year career as an Air Force pilot. He watched his television Wednesday through the coverage of the crash - heartbroken - but also trying to analyze what went wrong.
"Looking at the video of the crash site, the flame pattern, wondering if there were any survivors," he said.
The crash killed all those on board. Duke says many crashes for these planes happen on takeoff, especially as the large planes loaded with fuel climb steeply then begin to level off.
"There is change, not only in the power the engine is producing and the thrust of the propeller but also the airflow," he said.
He said he watched WTOC David Klugh's report Wednesday night and studied the crash video over and over. He believes the pilot did all he could first to take the plane back to the airport, then put it down wherever he could.
"You could see the plane being directed, even though it was out of control. You could tell he was trying to direct it, from the video I saw."
Duke believes the pilot put the plane down in the median of Highway 21 to try and minimize anyone else getting hurt. To him, mechanical problems can come, in spite of maintenance, after decades in the air with turbulence and other stressors. The problems come from age, not design.
"There's no replacement for the C-130 right now, other than other C-130," Duke said.