It's Raining Humvees
April 21, 2016 10:47 PM   Subscribe

 
"With God as my witness I thought Humvees could fly."
posted by benito.strauss at 11:01 PM on April 21, 2016 [142 favorites]


The cameraman's glee is most excellent.
posted by dazed_one at 11:08 PM on April 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


Three out of "hundreds" doesn't sound too bad. The Furious 7 folks had a 25% failure rate.
posted by effbot at 11:15 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Always amusing when something so big, heavy and solid hits something hard enough to splash.
posted by Punkey at 11:18 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Rain, bird shit, idiots, and their High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:21 PM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is why you should always wear your seatbelt, kids.

In the plane. Far away from the cargo part of it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:44 PM on April 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


"With God as my witness I thought Humvees could fly."

I am proud to be associated with the subset of humanity that posted this as the very first comment.
posted by mikelieman at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2016 [62 favorites]


The unbridled joy of the dudes recording this is the best part. Ostensibly these Humvees are associated with their jobs, but at this moment any concerns about that are entirely overtaken by the utter delight that comes from shit blowing up.

Also wonderful: after three have dropped and one is on fire, then someone suggests to call it in.
posted by schroedinger at 12:05 AM on April 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


Three out of "hundreds" doesn't sound too bad.

I'm REALLY curious about this. What are the loss rates for materiel when it's dropped like this? My first reaction was "Whoa, three loadmasters biffed it in rapid succession?" But I have no frame of reference and as far as I know, maybe the guys in the foreground were recording because they're used to it?
posted by qbject at 12:36 AM on April 22, 2016


"However, things do happen, and that’s why investigations come up to identify what went wrong, what happened so we can learn from here and continue so when we do real operations, these things don’t happen”

At least the crews weren't inside.
posted by hat_eater at 12:37 AM on April 22, 2016


qbject: "What are the loss rates for materiel when it's dropped like this? My first reaction was "Whoa, three loadmasters biffed it in rapid succession?" But I have no frame of reference and as far as I know, maybe the guys in the foreground were recording because they're used to it?"
1) When the first humvee detaches from its chute, the reaction isn't a stunned gasp or an "oh my gawd". It's a disappointed "damnit" when the chute initially seems to work, immediately followed up by an "OH! YES!" when it fails.

2) Somewhere between the second and the third humvee crashing, you hear somebody say "called it."

My guess is somebody told somebody else they hadn't hooked up the humvees right, somebody else claimed they damn well had, and then the first somebody went out in the field awaiting a spectacle.

Either that, or deliberate sabotage.
posted by brokkr at 1:03 AM on April 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


Dropping a large amount of stuff has always been a preferred US military strategy.
posted by Segundus at 3:04 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


That is the sight of some careers ending and the beginning of a long investigation. Like the article says, at this point dropping things out of airplanes is pretty routine, so a repeated screw-up (or sabotage?) like this stands out, especially with the hints on the video that someone might have known.

I'm glad they were dropped over an empty field, at least.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:30 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, they can't have much control of where it lands after they push it out of the plane, so I'm guessing even in real war conditions they only do this over an empty field: You don't want to have to retrieve your humvee off somebody's roof.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:39 AM on April 22, 2016


Seems to me that the people heard in the video aren't the ones that packed the trucks to be dropped. I got more of a "Lets see how badly they screw up this time!" vibe.
posted by clorox at 3:46 AM on April 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


Thank you for this fine free entertainment, American taxpayers!
posted by Devonian at 3:58 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's a real Catch-22 vibe to this and to the whole US Army WTF Facebook page.
posted by chavenet at 4:06 AM on April 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


"It's a bird!"
"It's a plane!"
"Fuck! Run!"
posted by pompomtom at 4:20 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


As a former Airborne infantry officer who once had responsibility for six anti-tank humvees, the real horror had to have been the paperwork after the accident. It would have gone on for months.
posted by procrastination at 4:42 AM on April 22, 2016 [24 favorites]


It would have gone on for months.

This is by design. For what is the greater part of the war department but a make work project?

In 1951, Eisenhower was name head of NATO. He said at that time: "If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed."

During the Vietnam war the grunts called missiles Cadillacs because the cost per was about the same. (Correct me if not Cadillacs. My memory is uncertain, but certain that it was some expensive vehicle.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:14 AM on April 22, 2016


People in the comments section of the first link speculate that the cameraman was an Observer Controller, meaning that it was his job to simply monitor and record any fuckups, only telling them afterwards why he could see something coming from miles away. Except, and I'm totally clueless here, wouldn't he be required to intervene at some point to prevent this sort of damage?
posted by daniel_charms at 5:17 AM on April 22, 2016


Ah yes, our tax dollars, hard at fail.
posted by nevercalm at 5:20 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


During the Vietnam war the grunts called missiles Cadillacs because the cost per was about the same.

My brother who was in the navy told me that they would refer to shells as "Volkswagens" or "Cadillacs" depending on whether they weighed one ton or two; maybe that's what you're thinking about?
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:24 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


So the other Humvees that did land correctly -- they're going to be fine? Wouldn't they also hit the ground with some level of force, possibly causing some sort of structural or electrical damage to the vehicles? It's not like they're made out of balloons. This is all quite curious.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:01 AM on April 22, 2016


Air Drop Mishaps
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:02 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


There is something deeply American about laughing helplessly as giant cars fall out of the sky and smash themselves to bits.
posted by ColdOfTheIsleOfMan at 6:04 AM on April 22, 2016 [47 favorites]


Well, I guess this is why you have training missions.
posted by Artw at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2016


Watch the video, complete with adult language and cackling laughter, below

Someone put this on my tombstone, please.
posted by Panjandrum at 6:14 AM on April 22, 2016 [13 favorites]


So the other Humvees that did land correctly -- they're going to be fine? Wouldn't they also hit the ground with some level of force, possibly causing some sort of structural or electrical damage to the vehicles? It's not like they're made out of balloons. This is all quite curious.

A tiny bit of googling reveals that they're packed with shock-absorbing materials. You can actually see the remains of this honeycomb material in the picture of the crushed Humvee at the bottom of the second link.
posted by daniel_charms at 6:30 AM on April 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


From the article daniel_charms posted above: A hard impact at 28.5 feet per second (worst-case scenario) should crush five layers while using the entire nine-inch stroke of the HMMWV's suspension to absorb the shock.

Well, maybe not worst case scenario...
posted by Naberius at 6:34 AM on April 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


There's some video from inside the vehicle.
posted by bondcliff at 6:39 AM on April 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


My brother who was in the navy told me that they would refer to shells as "Volkswagens" or "Cadillacs" depending on whether they weighed one ton or two; maybe that's what you're thinking about?

You are correct, and thank you! Pity that this stuff is the stuff of comedy rather than outrage. The debt keeps going up and our infrastructure keeps going down.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:48 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


"With God as my witness I thought Humvees could fly."
They just might in the future: Flying Humvee gets to Prototype Stage
posted by ShooBoo at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2016


Somewhere between the second and the third humvee crashing, you hear somebody say "called it."

My guess is somebody told somebody else they hadn't hooked up the humvees right, somebody else claimed they damn well had, and then the first somebody went out in the field awaiting a spectacle.


In my several decades in and around the military, there are three things that are inevitably said of every fuckup:

1 -- "It wasn't that bad."

2 -- "This could have been the worst thing ever."

3 -- "I knew this was going to happen."
posted by Etrigan at 7:42 AM on April 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


I was a rigger when I was on Okinawa with the 173'd, specializing in heavy drop. We dropped everything from pallets loaded with rations, ordnance, and fuel, to jeeps, and every wheeled vehicle the brigade owned. Some of the loads required six of those 100' parachutes shown in the clips.

The procedure we used followed this scheme: the load was attached to the platform with webbing. The parachutes were attached to the load with a long sling (usually 40 to 80 feet, depending). Notice that the parachutes are not hooked directly to the platform. Then the load was pushed onto the aircraft, first load to go out is the last load to go in.

An extraction chute hanging from a bombshackle above the rear of the cargo area is affixed to the load with an extraction sling, looped around the load. Extraction chutes and parachutes are almost always attached to the load, not the platform--it would be a real disaster if the extraction chute jerked the clevises off the platform leaving the load in the aircract. The loads may be linked with 80-foot slings, so the extraction chute begins the daisy chain that empties the loads out of the aircraft. In the clips, the smaller chutes you see are the extraction chutes. the doohickey hanging on the chutes is the deployment bag.

Same idea with the harnesses hooking the chute to the load, not to the platform. Imagine a chute jerking the rails off a load as the chute deploys--wait, you don't have to imagine, just take another look at the clips. All that stuff floating down is debris from the platform, and honeycomb shock absorbing material that was placed between the hummers and the platform. As far as I could see, none of the parachutes malfunctioned. The hummers seem to have fallen off a disendigrating platform. The remnants of the platforms dangled from the parachutes all the way to the ground.

Anyhow, the whooping and hollering that punctuates a heavy drop malfunction is standard operating procedure, unless you are one of the riggers and you are anywhere near the DZ monitors, or your unit commanders. However, each of those loads had logbook or other signature device that was signed by the supervising rigger who put it together. A discussion will ensue later on that day between the the rigger, his section chief, the parachute officer, and the battalion commander. Nobody will be laughing.

Our malfunction rate on Okinawa was very low, although on one drop we had two chute malfunctions (exceedingly rare)--a jeep and a truck hit the ground pretty hard--and a mid-air disconnect on a 105 howitzer. The howitzer hit Yomitan runway tube first, burying the tube up to the carriage mountings.

It was a pleasure to the that the 173'd carries on all our traditions faithfully, enthusiastically, spectacularly.

Airborne!!
posted by mule98J at 7:53 AM on April 22, 2016 [108 favorites]


Metafilter: the loads may be linked with 80-foot slings, so the extraction chute begins the daisy chain that empties the loads out of the aircraft.
posted by Naberius at 8:08 AM on April 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


One alternative to incompetence or sabotage is the possibility that this was an early field test of some new component of the parachute rigging.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 8:17 AM on April 22, 2016


They were called "buzz bombs" or "V Bombers" not hum V"s
posted by Burn_IT at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2016


Operation Dumbo Drop
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:34 AM on April 22, 2016


Night Air Drop, going well.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:10 AM on April 22, 2016


Words I have learned from mule98j's comment:

bombshackle (no doubt as in "bombshackle-lackle-lackle")
clevises
posted by briank at 9:37 AM on April 22, 2016 [4 favorites]


mule98J in the first few seconds of the video a plane appears to hit an extraction chute cable; is that sort of thing common and/or dangerous?
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


looks like someone skipped a few general procedures.

might lead to a major chewing out.

probably no corporal punishment in today's army.

you'd think they'd want to keep something like this private.

do these things warrant officer oversight?
posted by qcubed at 11:02 AM on April 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


qcubed, I find your dedication to that bit admiralable.
posted by cortex at 11:59 AM on April 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: complete with adult language and cackling laughter
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


qcubed, I think that there's probably a colonel of truth in there somewhere.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:11 PM on April 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


took me a second to see yours, cortex. it was a real hummerdinger.
posted by qcubed at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2016


"With God as my witness I thought Humvees could fly."

I came in here a day later to see how long it took. Kudos! Truly Les' shining moment.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:20 PM on April 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


A minor additional laugh: at least for me, the biggest embedded commercial on the site is a recruiting video: Fly Navy!.
posted by easily confused at 5:08 AM on April 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


"mule98J in the first few seconds of the video a plane appears to hit an extraction chute cable; is that sort of thing common and/or dangerous?"

I didn't see the aircraft hit an extraction chute or extraction line. I saw two loads come out of each aircraft, each on its own extraction chute--the first load deploys the extraction chute on the second load. Especially on the second hummer, you can actually see the parachute being pulled out of its bag before the bag detaches from the parachute on the load. Each load has two parachutes. Then the extraction chute drifts down with the deployment bags dangling below. The next load has four parachutes attached.

The first malfunction seemed to happen because the extraction line got wrapped around one corner of the load--you could see the load rocking a little-and when the canopy fully deployed it whipped the load free from the lashings on that side, and snapping the lashings between the load and the platform--that may not be quite what happened, because I couldn't see the details well enough to be sure. Keep in mind that each of those parachutes is 100 feet across where the suspension lines meet the canopy. Two of those canopies catching air at 90 knots generates hella drag. It may well be that one malfunction can be written off to a shit happens event, but three of them will generate a bit of discussion among those who throw shit at the fan, and those in the slipstream.

We could rig up to six of those parachutes (two football fields) for a heavy drop like a caterpillar. After six, they have a tendency to get in each other's way. On a heavier, longer load we would rig one cluster on each end and hope for the best.

On multiple drops, the aircraft fly in a formation that is suppose to keep them from hitting anything dangling by a parachute. In the past mishaps have happened. The 101st had a terrible drop some years ago when a C-130 played weedwhacker with two or three sticks of jumpers. A similar jump went wrong during a drop by the 82nd about the time I was in the second week of jump school. This is why we got the big bucks (jump pay), $55 per month.

On most cargo drops, nothing is left hanging out the aircraft. On T-10 (personnel) drops, the deployment bag attaches to the harness worn by the jumper. The jumper hooks his static line from the bag to the static line cable in the aircraft. The weight of the jumper uncoils the static line, and pulls the canopy out of the bag. The bag remains attached to the aircraft, dangling out the door. A mechanical retriever pulls these bags back inside after the jumpers have cleared the aircraft. Imagine that the bags you see in the video were dangling out the aircraft by a static line instead of coming down on an extraction chute.

Some aircraft are tricky for the jumper. On C-123's you have to make a vigorous exit or the prop wash will bang you along the side of the aircraft until your chute deploys. Jumpers' canopies have (rarely) become entangled in the D-bags of the previous jumpers, and more rarely, the jumper's D-bag gets wrapped around the whirling D-bags, and he gets dragged along behind and about 90 knots until the problem gets resolved.

We were taught to put our hands on our helmets to show that we were still conscious, at which point the jumpmaster will cut all the trailing D-bags loose, and the jumper, now free falling can then deploy his reserve chute. This is not an optimal move, but it's better than being banged into jelly and then dragged along the runway for a quarter of a mile when the aircraft lands. If the jumper is not conscious, they will try to reel him in; problem is that the static line winch pulls only so much, and the danger is that the tension will snap the dangling static line, dropping an unconscious jumper, who won't be able to deploy his reserve chute. A jumper from the 173'd recently died when she got caught up in the D-bags.
posted by mule98J at 12:52 PM on April 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


This is not an optimal move, but it's better than being banged into jelly and then dragged along the runway for a quarter of a mile when the aircraft lands.

When I was in jump school, our instructor told us that if it got to this point, they would call out the fire trucks to lay down foam on the runway, and after the landing, we were to collect our body parts, hold them above our heads, and return to the aircraft for debrief.

We were not entirely certain whether he was joking.
posted by Etrigan at 5:02 PM on April 23, 2016 [6 favorites]


One the one hand I'm very "lol, awesome" about this. On the other hand I'm very "that's probably a million dollars a throw of kit just smashed to pieces across the floor of the desert".
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:58 PM on April 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Interesting that exactly one from each set detached. Repeated mistake by new riggers?
posted by tavella at 4:11 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well, tavella, at least they were consistent. This indicates that perhaps additional training can correct those mis-executions. Hope for the best!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:53 AM on April 27, 2016


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