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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

Old 6th Sep 2010, 08:31
  #301 (permalink)  
 
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The FedEx DC-10 that went into Stewartfield, New Jersey got on the ground just in time. The captain is still with the company on another fleet type and has told me the tale. A very good listen. Their has been some well discussed criticism (by the company) of not using/completing appropriate checklists but at the end of the day he got the jet on the ground and saved his crew.The investigation revealed the exact package containing undeclared dangerous goods and it's origin and I believe a prosecution followed.

However, IF it turns out these two poor guys lost their lives due to the same deal, it may be more difficult to trace at a crash scene. IF this is case, the shipper will probably have no idea what they have done and sadly, get away with it scott free
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 09:19
  #302 (permalink)  
 
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Flightmech, I was asking that question earlier, how easy/difficult would it be to determine where a fire originated (if this was indeed the case with this flight) I know in buildings it's do-able, but does it all depend on the actual condition and location of the aircraft remains at the scene?

That is, does tracing an origin/shipper of a package all depend on how the aircraft ends up?

I'm also curious (sorry for the slight drift but it interests me) in te training done for shippers these days, is there any emphasis given to the actual consequences of shipping something forbidden by air, by disguising it as something it's not? Personally I was shown some pictures/video, but this may have been more due to the fact the guy taking the course was formerly a pilot rather than the company SOP itself...

As an FA, it does concern me that while they train us that fire is the worst possible onboard emergency, I've never heard a time frame given. Perhaps if we all knew that we only (statistically speaking) have 15minutes at best, it would make the crew that bit more aware of keeping alert for signs of fire in-flight (yes I am aware UPS was a cargo flight without FAs, but the principle remains.) I once had a (thankfully false alarm) smoke situation, once the captain informed me we were making an emergency descent, I can tell you my eyes were glued on my watch, if sheer will could have made time slow down I'm sure it did. Luckily not a real fire in that case but nonetheless a very scary situation!!!
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 09:30
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Undeclared DG = terrorism

Its that simple
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 09:52
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Not really. In most cases I bet the shipper has no idea what the consequences of not declaring dg could be to an aircraft and its crew. I don't think there is any intent there. Absolute stupidity and a total disregard of responsibility is what it is.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 10:00
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Undeclared DG = terrorism
It may have the same effect on the victims, but the last thing the perpetrators want is the destruction of the flight, and therefore the cargo.

It's not terrorism, it's simply a crime. Stupid, greedy, dishonest, irresponsible, but not terrorism.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 10:34
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Would it be too extreme to have each package issued with a fireproof tag which was/is reusable after a few shipments. With today's technology add a strip that indicated an extreme temperature had been reached to either show it was the package that caught fire or its proximity to the fire.

Or become more proactive. Use RFID (Radio Frequency ID) tags and a heat sensor. This would involve continual monitoring of all the RFID tags which may not be acceptable with some dangerous goods.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 11:19
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Flightmech & Over the Wing

Semantics.

I spend a lot of time on the freighter these days and although we are not in the DHL/Fedex/UPS biz it is my primary concern.

My personal view is that you need to spend as much time on the load sheet as the flight plan. Lowest common demoninator is what kills you.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 11:35
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It seems to me, they hit the ground left wing first and then the unfortunate final impact...
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 12:28
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VR display

I agree HUD would not work, but the type of optics found in a virtual reality helmet (projecting an image of the essential instruments) attached to the smoke hood and flipped down when required would do the job?

The get out of jail card would be an option to see a view in the smoke hood from a uncooled low cost thermal camera on the aircraft nose, a handy camera to have in other emergency situations too, when just seeing an horizon would make a difference such as during a night emergency.
http://www.flir.com/uploadedfiles/Eu...AS_0013_EN.pdf



Mickjoebill
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 14:05
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Sorry if I've missed a post, but there seems to be a general assumption that the fire started in the freight compartment and was caused by something in the cargo. Surely its equally possible that the fire had nothing to do with the cargo and was, for example, started by a wiring fault - remember the Swissair MD11.
That's extremely unlikely on a brand new airplane.

-drl
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 14:33
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That's extremely unlikely on a brand new airplane.
Just as likely on a new a/c as an old one in my book.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 14:55
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Flightmech writes, "The investigation revealed the exact package containing undeclared dangerous goods and it's origin and I believe a prosecution followed."

Actually the link to the NTSB report for that flight is earlier in this thread. The investigation was unable to locate the exact cause of the fire. Suspicion fell on a DNA synthesizer. Post accident investigation revealed that the chemical contents of the DNA synthesizer had not been cleaned out properly by the lab tech prior to packaging for flight.

However, they were not able to say that this was what caused the fire. It remains "of unknown origin" officially.

http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/1998/AAR9803.pdf
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 14:58
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Surely its equally possible that the fire had nothing to do with the cargo ...
Agreed. I hope my nagging suspicion of unpleasant surprises coming from this is wrong.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 16:43
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Flightmech;
In most cases I bet the shipper has no idea what the consequences of not declaring dg could be to an aircraft and its crew. I don't think there is any intent there. Absolute stupidity and a total disregard of responsibility is what it is.
In the days when we had the Dangerous Goods Manuals on board, (they are no longer provided to the crew, at least where I worked) so we could look up and verify what we were carrying, we were handed a DG Advice of a shipment of "Flourine gas, 4 canisters, N.O.S.". We looked it up in the DG Manual and it specified "Cargo aircraft only". Though we caused a delay, we had the shipment taken off the aircraft.

We did the flight again the next day. Again, we were handed DG advice showing the same shipment was on the aircraft. Again we delayed the flight while the shipment was removed.

Later the next day I thought I would try something. I phoned our cargo people at the shipment's destination to see if "my" shipment of flourine gas had arrived. It had.

Stupidity? "Terrorism?" Neither, in my opinion. "We" were the problem in someone's mind and this was just someone or a few different people, with, as you observe, an abominable absence of imagination, trying to "do the right thing" as the shipment had been accepted for delivery and they wanted the customer happy.

Whether anybody was aware of the cargo-only designation, I did not find out; it was in the DG Manual. The irregularity went to the regulator and I believe the shipper was banned; not sure what occurred "internally".

Apparently we followed United's example of removing the DG Manual from the flight deck, (can anyone from United comment, please? Do you guys carry the DG book? Anyone?) We were told that the cargo people would be checking appropriateness for shipping and that we didn't have to do that anymore. Though not flying anymore, I still think it's wrong.

Thinking about the removal logically, unless the assessment was made that consulting the manual was somehow "ineffective" and therefore pointless, it can't otherwise be safety-related and it can't be weight so it must be economic - as in keeping the manual up to date and spending time training crews how to use the manual effectively. Also, perhaps it was a "source of departure delays" ?...

I flew the DC8 freighter for a number of years. Then, and perhaps now, it's a different world than carrying passengers. In my experience, the care taken with passenger flights was apparent - with freight, not always so. It's always a rush to load and depart and always something abnormal to deal with such as broken floor locks, (nevermind the chemicals - more than one departure had stuff slide on takeoff) or broken, leaking packaging. Perhaps a factor not often mentioned is, freighters almost always operate during crews' low-circadian cycle times. The goal that drives all this is a satisfied shipping customer, and making money.

The discussion concerning solutions to fire on board freighters offered here which vary in practicality and/or effectiveness, (EVAS, Gas-filled bags for viewing instruments, robust fire-fighting equipment in upper and lower decks, parachutes, etc etc, and all the problems that freight dogs know about which haven't even been described here) don't address those human factors issues we all are aware of, of the obvious human factor of good people making a rare bad decision or a mistake they didn't catch in time, while satisfying the main "goal" described above. The solutions offered belong to the "symptoms" discourse, not the discourse of "originating factors".

The answer isn't more regulation or disciplinary proceedings or even wages, etc. As it has always been with hijacking, the place to stop the risk of fire on board due to inappropriate shipping, packaging etc, (as described above), is on the ground.

While stringent SOPs and tactical provisions are in place in the air, hijacking is almost exclusively prevented before flight. The place to stop risk of fire on board is similarly on the ground.

Clearly, the exceptions are SW111 and a few other accidents which have other antecedents.

The one common theme in the thread is, Once smoke is confirmed, get the aircraft on the ground. I always wondered about the options and what we would do over the Pacific, thousands of miles from any airport...

PJ2
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 16:57
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Just as likely on a new a/c as an old one in my book.
Don't think so, combustibles have been thoroughly expunged at this late date. The type of insulation in SR that caused most of the problem is no longer used.

-drl
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:04
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I have to disagree to some extent PJ2, I've sat the 5 day DG course and 2 day refresher every 2 years, and most people to my knowledge who do DG checks whether a loadie, handler or airline do a pretty good job. I'd suggest those doing it day in day out would spot errors quicker than a F/C sat with a DG manual.

As to incomplete NOTOCs, that is unforgivable, as is missing a CAO item (they have different PIs for one)

Having also dealt with skippers who know better than the manual (a tiny minority, but they are out there) I'd still trust well trained, well paid, checkers with reputable companies to do everything correctly. Including a skipper who would not accept than compressed oxygen was not RFG (flammable gas).

It's the shippers I don't trust, especially those on a "budget".
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:10
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Local TV coverage is minimal

Just watched Dubai one, Emirates evening news, and there was NO mention of the accident.

4 year old smoking kid in Asia, but nothing about the biggest, and potentially most serious accident in their city.

Incidentally Aviation herald has a very good set of maps showing the site. (look on Pprune Italian thread for link).

glf
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:11
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It's not always easy. I always checked the cargo manifest (passenger aircraft with generous cargo capacity) but I had to ask for it. It was not shown to the captain as a matter of course.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:21
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Flightmech

The FedEx DC-10 that went into Stewartfield, New Jersey got on the ground just in time. The captain is still with the company on another fleet type and has told me the tale.
thanks for that. I had wondered what happened after having seen him criticized. For what? he was the only one I recall who's managed to live to tell the tale from a full fledged fire in cruise in recent history.

Wonder what went through his mind when he heard about SR111.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:27
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Ex Cargo Clown;

Thanks very much - that's the kind of feedback I was wondering about. I've had the DG course as well, (we did it every year at annual recurrent) and got a small certificate that we were required to carry along with our licences. I think you're right about the processes in general - experienced eyes, etc. Just to be clear I'm not "gazing towards cargo people" here but rather asking the questions and making an observation about human factors vice any sense of "negligence". It's hard to capture the sense of a freight operation in anonymous text while at the same time avoiding drawing conclusions from only that text. The rarity of such accidents alone, speaks to the safety of the process. But we have a another fire-on-board accident and we're all thinking about why.

best,

PJ2
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