View Full Version : Capt. Robert Freeman's arbitration hearing VS FedEx

17th Apr 2001, 14:08
Does anyone have any news on this? The hearing began on the 02nd of April,

He was the Skipper of the MD11 who was fired, wrongly in my opinion, after the crash at EWR. See the below link,

(It's a very good site by the way)

www.airlinepilots.com/safety/safety037.htm (http://www.airlinepilots.com/safety/safety037.htm)

17th Apr 2001, 19:30

Somehow, I missed the details of this accident.

Does anybody have a detailed description of the accident?

17th Apr 2001, 19:34
MD-11 landing at Newark arport in 1997. Max landing weight landing. slight skip, first tounch down was at 400 feet per minute, second was less (mind you aircraft certification requirements for structure for landing weight is 660 feet per minute, and 360 feet per minute at max takeoff weight).

Wing spar failed, aircraft slid down runway on its back. All 5 onboard escaped with extremely minor injury ( a sprained finger). Burned for a couple of hours.

Auto brakes had been set high, crew was worried about landing distance. It had been calculated with only a couple of hundred feet of margin.


17th Apr 2001, 19:37
NTSB Identification: DCA97MA055 . The docket is stored in the (offline) NTSB Imaging System.

Nonscheduled 14 CFRPart 121 operation of Air Carrier FEDERAL EXPRESS, INC.
Accident occurred Thursday, July 31, 1997 at NEWARK, NJ
Aircraft:McDonnell Douglas MD-11, registration: N611FE
Injuries: 5 Minor.
On July 31, 1997, at 0130 edt, Federal Express cargo flight 14, a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, N611FE, crashed while landing on runway 22R at Newark IAP, Newark, NJ. The airplane experienced a hard landing, bounced, and the right main landing gear collapsed on the second touchdown. A fire broke out after the airplane came to a stop and destroyed the airplane. VFR conditions prevailed at the time, and the two pilots and three other company personnel received minor injuries. The flight originated at Anchorage, AK, and was on an IFR flight plan.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was:

The captain's overcontrol of the airplane during the landing and his failure to execute a go-around from a destabilized flare. Contributing to the accident was the captain's concern with touching down early to ensure adequate stopping distance.


17th Apr 2001, 20:34
As the link that I highlighted above says, the NTSB report is flawed according to the FPA lawyers. And interestingly, Lloyds filed a product liability lawsuit against Boeing last fall. They're saying the aircraft was negligently "designed, maufactured and assembled."

This will probably open up again the debate on the MD11's alleged shortcomings and flaws, I know there have been several discussions on it here in PPRuNe.

Prof2MDA, do you have any info? The captain was an ex 'Tigers man and I think the last paragraph in the above report by Capt David Webb, the FPA president is very interesting, to the point and sadly accurate.

Mad Dog 11
17th Apr 2001, 21:25
As I once heard from a MD training captain, "The MD-11 should have been certified as an AUTOLAND ONLY airplane." The MD-11 is really a tricky airplane on landing. Comments from other MD-11 drivers?

18th Apr 2001, 04:13
Show me a pilot with MD-11 landing difficulties, and I'll show you an autopilot junkie.

62' agl on final is not the time to start getting the feel of the thing. It's like guitar or piano - your hands need practice! The Mighty Dog is a fine flying aircraft - exactly like a heavy, overpowered DC-10. You just have to sharpen the sword a little every flight.

Mad Dog 11
18th Apr 2001, 04:39
Have to disagree. The MD-11 has a much smaller tail than does the DC-10 and it's a larger aircraft. I have been told by very experienced DC and MD pilots that the DC flies a lot better than does the MD .The airplane has an artificial feel to it (LSAS for instance). And nope, I don't consider myself an autopilot junkie. I can guarantee you that I can fly as well as anyone out there. My point is that in adverse conditions, you have to really work hard in order to get a good landing out of the airplane.

18th Apr 2001, 06:10
There was a change to the LSAS software that was offered to reduce the incedents of hard landings and tail strikes on the MD11 (which has a disproportionate number of them). Fedex opted not to purchase said upgrade at the time. The accident aircraft had a previous hard landing and tail strike in Anchorage about 1.5 years earlier.

Most of the Pax carriers adopted the change. They also operate the aircraft at much lower 0 fuel weights.


18th Apr 2001, 09:23
Sorry, I am not at liberty to comment at all on this one. I will say that a lot of incorrect info is being spread about in general (as with most accidents) and would caution everyone to refrain from making any more posts on this topic until all the litigation is settled.

18th Apr 2001, 09:36
Prof2MDA, while bearing your comment in mind about the ongoing proceedings, I do think that the comments of Mad Dog do deserve to be addressed. The MD-11 tail is smaller than the DC-10, but the moment arm is longer, so...... somewhere in there the effects cancel each other to some degree. The aircraft can be trickier to land than others, true statement. However, applying basic airmanship has worked well in my case for over 6 years now. And Mad Dog, I wouldn't be so presumptious as to say I fly better than everyone else. If I can land this aircraft then anyone can, not always a greaser, but a serviceable one. The aircraft has been maligned for what seems forever, almost exclusively by those who don't fly it. Most of the problem cases that I have had to deal with have been people who claim "but that is what we did on the Boeing/Airbus/whatever" and have refused to fly it like MD said to do it. Finally, it should be said that the aircraft is a whole lot easier to land well when she is heavy, and I land it at all weights from minimum to maximum.
I've been offered other aircraft, and after 6 years I'm happy to be 'stuck' on the MD.
Keep the blue side up.

18th Apr 2001, 10:27

I accept what you're saying, it obviously is an extremely delicate case with Boeing now seemingly heavily involved and facing this lawsuit that could open up a can of worms.

I never got a chance to fly the MD11, I flew the DC10-30 for 5 years and loved it. And like the above post implies, I've always tried to listen to the actual pilots of the MD11 when wanting to know more on the supposed failings of this airplane.

Again as the above post points out, it's not your typical Boeing or Airbus but a different type of airplane and has to be flown differently as instructed by McDonnell Douglas.
I think what is very relevant here though as well is that the FPA fought very hard to stop FedEx introducing a common rating for the MD10 and the MD11 for safety reasons.