Minn. man among those killed in Afghanistan cargo plane crash - KMSP-TV

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Minn. man among those killed in Afghanistan cargo plane crash

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FOX 9 News has confirmed a Minnesota man was among those who died in a cargo plane crash caught on camera in Afghanistan on Tuesday.


NOTE: The content of the video may be disturbing for some.


Jeremy Lipka was a civilian pilot of the 747 plane, which crashed just seconds after taking off from Bagram Air Force Base at around 11:20 a.m. local time. It was carrying a load that included military vehicles, and had seven Americans on board. 

"I know those people. They're all very talented," said Steven Koehler. "This is not something that normally happens. It's rare for it to hit so close to home."

Most recently, Lipka lived in Michigan, but he grew up in Pine Island, Minn., near Rochester.

Lipka's step father told FOX 9 News the family only knows a few details, and those have come from a shocking video that surfaced on YouTube after the crash.

A dash-cam captured footage of the cargo plane taking off. A former 747 pilot who analyzed the video for FOX 9 News said he noticed right away that the pitch, or the angle of the plane on takeoff, is too severe and too steep.

"As far as weight and balance, if there was a major shift, it would be very hard for the elevator to control the pitch, the nose altitude," Timothy Barzen explained. "You can see the air would separate from the wing and that would cause a stall."

Barzen estimated that the pitch of the plane could have been as high as 30 degrees. Normally, pilots aim for a pitch of between 15 and 18 degrees on takeoff.

"Pitch of the airplane is so important because it's the speed of wind over the plane that creates the lift," Barzen said. "If you increase the pitch enough, the air separates from the wing."

The Taliban took credit for the crash, but officials in the Air Force base don't believe that's the case because there was no insurgent activity in the area at the time of the crash.

Experts with the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the scene and conduct the investigation alongside local Afghan officials. They hope to recover the black box and voice recorder from the wreckage.

Seven crew members working for National Air Cargo -- a civilian operation based near Buffalo, NY, that does a lot of military work -- were on their way to Dubai when the plane crashed. Many of the crew members were based out of Michigan.

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