Blackwater pilot “this is fun” before fatal crash

A 2004 crash that killed everyone on board -- three crew members and three U.S. troops -- was caused by pilots from a Blackwater plane taking a low-level run through a mountain canyon in Afghanistan, testimony revealed Tuesday.

"I swear to God, they wouldn't pay me if they knew how much fun this was," the doomed plane's cockpit voice recorder captured the pilot saying shortly before the November 27, 2004, crash.

The account of the crash emerged during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Blackwater's performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You're an X-wing fighter Star Wars man," an NTSB report quoted the plane's co-pilot, Loren Hammer, saying during the flight -- a reference to the dizzying battle in the 1977 film.

"You're [expletive] right. This is fun," the pilot, Noel English, responded.

About eight minutes later, the plane slammed into the wall of the canyon, which was flanked by ridgelines that rose nearly a mile above surrounding terrain.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, is chairman of the oversight committee, which is investigating Blackwater's performance on more than $1 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2001.


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