A cargo plane has crash-landed and burst into flames near Tokyo, Japanese media report. They say the accident happened at the main Narita international airport on Monday morning local time. There was no immediate information about any casualties on board the Federal Express Corp plane.
I can see the crash site out of my hotel room and there is footage on local TV. The aircraft appears to be totally destroyed.
Video footage shows the aircraft landing hard then bouncing. Next impact is on the nose wheel, bouncing again and then rolling left to land upside down off to the left of RW34L. There was an immediate fire.
"The crashed plane, an MD-11, was FedEx Flight 80 from Guangzhou, China"
An MD-11 crashing "because of strong winds" and ending up inverted. Like at HKG?
And it's not the first time for FedEx: The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is to .... decide whether pilot error or an aircraft design or operations flaw led to the July 1997 crash in which a Federal Express MD-11 freighter ended up on its back and burning (Newark).
Hard to see initiqal touchdown, but it doesn't appear bad. Nose lowered quite violently then strong nosewheel bounce and pitch up and aeroplane became airborne again, rising about 30'. The second touchdown was very hard on the nose leg, and in the crash landing after the bounce, the left gear collapsed and massive fire broke out as left engine appears to have punctured fuel tanks and left wing broke outboard of engine, and video shows plane rolling over to left onto its back in major conflagration. It seems to be a repeating pattern with this type.
I wonder if the plane was very lightly loaded? It seems extraordinary behaviour, however there are reports of squall-type gusty winds at the time which could cause inadvertent return to the air before it was properly settled. The pitch down after the bounce was incredible. A heavily loaded MD11 would have collapsed the noseleg on the second touchdown.
A bounced landing must be recovered from first before allowing a big jet to settle back. Essential to get power on instantly and stop speed falling and hold attitude and stay airborne to collect your wits before deciding either go around or fly it back on. But the landing causes big speed loss and you are airborne too slow with the nose falling away from you into a fatal dive we see. Very unfortunate.
Fedex lost an MD11 in a heavy landing at Newark in July 97. This is their third loss of a MD11.
It is interesting the alleged loss of elevator authority in the MD11. The DC10 had a massive tailplane, the MD11 seems smaller. A lot of elevator authority is needed in a bounce like this to stop the nose falling away as you are suddenly 20 kts slower than trim speed, and suddenly airborne again in a big surprise. The key to this is: were they trying to fly it down or hold it off? If trying to hold it off and the nose drops like that, then this plane has a fundamental elevator control design deficit. The flight recorder will be the key with elevator demand during the bounce. Bounce landing training seems to be lacking these days. Simulators should have a 'bounce' button where whatever your landing is like, it will throw you airborne again to sort it out. It could possibly have helped here.
With winds like this it always gets tricky in NRT. Just go for a run around the airport and you will notice that the winds come from every direction. There was also a winshear warning on the metar for 34R, the short runway.
OK maybe partly a point techman, but aren't you oversimplifying a bit?
How about the strength of the landing gear? How about the (very) swept wing design? How about the high approach speeds? Pilot input? (can't say I haven't ever been tempted to push the nose down after a bouncy landing) How serious was this wx really?