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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

Old 6th Sep 2010, 17:32
  #321 (permalink)  
 
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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...
This is the single most important issue that should be understood in this discussion.

In ANY instance of smoke or fire warning or confirmation, it is imperative that the aircraft be put on the ground immediately, and if over water, ditching must be considered. History has shown that there is about a 10 minute window. After that, it is unlikely to be a recoverable or survivable situation.

We can discuss EVAS or fire suppression or any other method of combatting inflight fire/smoke, but the bottom line is that ANY instance of smoke/fire is time critical.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 18:18
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Blue Up, Post #310

It's the Quick Action Index that I was speaking of, not the actual checklist that has the larger font. My appologies if I was not clear.

One has to wonder how well the electronic checklists would be visible in a situation such as this. At least the paper version can be held up in front of your eyes if that would make any difference?
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 18:20
  #323 (permalink)  
 
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In ANY instance of smoke or fire warning or confirmation, it is imperative that the aircraft be put on the ground immediately, and if over water, ditching must be considered. History has shown that there is about a 10 minute window. After that, it is unlikely to be a recoverable or survivable situation.
That is my view too. My policy on the first sign of any smoke or fire warning, unless it was indicated of being from a known source (eg an oven etc) would have been to initiate a descent towards the ocean in preparation for a ditching. I would then have levelled off at 2000ft or so and made best speed towards the nearest airport. If the situation then deteriorated rapidly I would have been in a position to effect a (hopefully timely) ditching. If the situation was resolved I could then have diverted or continued to destination as desired and dependent on fuel capability.

The debrief afterwards may or may not have been uncomfortable, but I wouldn't have cared, at least I and my crew and pax would have been alive!

The difficult thing in all of this is being brave enough to make the initial decision to descend expeditiously. Certainly a useful discussion point in the cruise.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 18:23
  #324 (permalink)  
 
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The NTSB will thankfully divulge the CVR transcripts and the entire decision making process in audio form will be revealed.
Remember the GCAA is the lead investigator for this crash and the final report will be from them.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 18:44
  #325 (permalink)  
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Small point, but the DC-10 incident was at Newburgh, New York, at the old Stewart Air Force Base.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 18:50
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During walk around saw a pallet waiting to be loaded. 1430 local DXB. OAT 40 plus. Part of the goods was visible. Put my hand on a metallic piece, possibly part of a kitchen electrical appliance. Almost left some charred skin on the appliance. Evidently this pallet had been out baking in the sun all day. Got me thinking....what if there were some sub grade batteries lodged in sub grade material toys!!! hell they put chemicals in baby milk don't they?
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 19:13
  #327 (permalink)  
 
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I have refrained from commenting so far but it is now time to add to a lot of the nonsense that has been posted so far.

I have probably spent most of my 46 year commercial flying career flying around with "dangerous cargo" ranging from plastic explosives, AVPIN, crew members who haven't changed their shreddies for two weeks to "nuclear waste" with an NEC of 24,000 lbs equivalent.

However, what I want to talk about here is smoke/fire in the cockpit.

This is the ULTIMATE KILLER.

I simply cannot believe those of you out there who have ultimate solutions such as, if the UPS crew had followed your wisdom, they would be alive and well if they had only followed your fantastic advice.

Have you any idea what you would do when you are sat upon a fire such that you cannot even see six inches in front of you and your legs and the rest of your body is starting to melt?

Smoke and fire in the cockpit was always one of my big topics when I was training.

I will relate a very true story.

I was training two SFOs to move to the left seat. Although smoke in the cockpit was not actually part of the syllabus, I made the pair of them do one each (in the simulator) because I always figured that this was about the most difficult scenario that a new captain (or an old one for that matter) could ever face.

We got out of the simulator at around 0300 and arranged to meet for lunch after a sleep.

"Isn't it spooky" said one. "What's spooky" said I? It transpired that when we were doing our smoke drills, SR111 was going into the Grand Banks.

So now I would like to move on to Manufacturers and their Advice.

I can always remember my only experience (outside of the military) of smoke in the cockpit. I was captain of one of Fred Laker's fine DC-10s on my way from LAX to LGW. At about 30 West, the F/E asked the pair of us up front if we could smell burning. (I have to explain to the youngsters that we used to smoke cigarettes in those days so sense of smell was not as good as it is now).

Neither of us could so we carried on (for the MS pilots, there is not a lot else you can do at 30 West).

Then the F/O said that he could smell smoke. That made two out of three so we got the QRH out and started doing an electrical isolation drill. I knew from my time in the simulator that this would take up to 30 minutes to complete.

So, we have the F/O flying and I am watching and monitoring the QRH with the F/E. Then the sun started to come up and I suddenly spotted a wisp of electrical smoke coming out of the F/Es seat!

One of the electric motors in his seat was burning out. We laughed about it afterwards for he was actually sitting on the "fire" whilst conducting the orchestra so to speak but I had already experienced in a previous life a quite nasty incident when a rheostat burned out on an overhead panel.

I will be very interested to see what Boeing and (more importantly) their lawyers will do about the 744 QRH/FCOM.

A lot of you out there are probably unaware that all manufacturers manuals have passed through the legal department many times over before the final document can be printed.

A classic example is the old electrical smoke isolation drill that British Aerospace had printed on Pages 4A and 4B of the BAe146 QRH. I think (and I'm guessing now) as a result of a "happening" somewhere, the pages suddenly disappeared in an amendment. Pages 4A and 4B were suddenly empty and marked "Deliberately Blank".

When I queried this with BAe, I was told that this brought the BAe146 in line with the Avro RJ. The advice given to the Avro RJ pilots was "Land at the nearest suitable airfield". The CAA not only allowed this but (I assume) had allowed the lawyers to back date this reprehensible advice to those of us left on the BAe 146 freighter.

There is NO DOUBT that you have probably less than 15 minutes to get a burning aeroplane down on the sea or the land before you die.

Perhaps the lawyers and the accountants might like to consider this?

PS I, and a lot of others who wanted to stay alive, kept our old QRH handy.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 19:16
  #328 (permalink)  
 
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The cause of the fire will be discovered during the investigation but I think all crew members should consider the information received about an event that happened the week before this accident on the ground in one of our aircraft. Those batteries you may have bought at the market in Shanghai may not have been a good deal.

Last weekend we experienced a lithium battery event. The battery
essentially spontaneously erupted into flames. While the investigation is
ongoing, I would like to make you aware of some disturbing similarities we
have seen in all the events that I am aware.

First, this battery was not properly packaged for shipment. In this
event the battery was inside a personal flashlight inside a personal
backpack.

Second, the malfunctioning battery was NOT a name brand produced or
purchased within the USA. It was one produced and procured in China.

Third, these fires are NOT successfully dealt with by Halon (the
agent in our fire extinguishing systems on board our aircraft). It was
fortunate that a full (or nearly full) water bottle was next to the
flashlight so that when the battery went high order and erupted into flames
the plastic water bottle was compromised and the water was then dumped onto
the burning flashlight (the Halon was effective at containing the burning
backpack).
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 19:27
  #329 (permalink)  
 
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An excellent post JW411
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 19:37
  #330 (permalink)  
 
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@jw411

Great post

Conclusion:

Know the systems well, common sense, don't rely just on papers.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 19:55
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jw411, excellent post.

The fact of the matter is that these crew members faced the most difficult emergency that pilots can face.

The reality is that in the event of a cargo or cockpit fire, it is virtually impossible to clear smoke from the flight deck. In the event of a main cargo area fire, smoke/superheated gasses will get to the flightdeck eventually. (Even if the procedures to limit smoke are followed.) Donning goggles and O2 masks will buy some time, but the lack of clear vision will render aircraft control impossible at some point. Checklist procedures may be fine in a training scenario, but ultimately, the only solution is to get the airplane on the ground and get out.

I have had firsthand experience with smoke in a cockpit, and it is unbelievable how rapidly the ability to see the panel deteriorates. In seconds I could not see the instrument panel or the guy sitting 3 feet away. Fortunately, we were able to identify the source, and stop the smoke.

If this was indeed a cargo fire, then cargo compartment fire extinguishing and EVAS must be mandated. Fire suppression won't cut it. Crews must be able to extinguish a fire and get the aircraft on the ground.
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 21:41
  #332 (permalink)  
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Top Bunk...Great post...glad someone else agrees with me...
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 22:24
  #333 (permalink)  
 
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JW411 - I always wondered why? Thanks.

A classic example is the old electrical smoke isolation drill that British Aerospace had printed on Pages 4A and 4B of the BAe146 QRH. I think (and I'm guessing now) as a result of a "happening" somewhere, the pages suddenly disappeared in an amendment. Pages 4A and 4B were suddenly empty and marked "Deliberately Blank".

When I queried this with BAe, I was told that this brought the BAe146 in line with the Avro RJ. The advice given to the Avro RJ pilots was "Land at the nearest suitable airfield". The CAA not only allowed this but (I assume) had allowed the lawyers to back date this reprehensible advice to those of us left on the BAe 146 freighter.
I had a suspected 'fire in the rear toilet' call from # 1 soon after T/O - which, after reducing power promptly to get back on the ground as soon as possible turned out to be 'only dense white oil bleed air smoke'.

That all happenned in 2002.

Now I don't fly any more; Like 25% of other 146 pilots, who have lost their health.

Here's the reason - from last weeks successful Australian High Court decision:

Flight attendant wins in toxic-fume case

Maybe in the future aircrew and customers will HAVE to be warned in advance of the invisible and visible dangers from oil smoke?

DB
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 23:01
  #334 (permalink)  
 
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JW411... very good post. Balanced, and gave something we can all learn from.

As mentioned before... time is critical. Smell smoke? Start the clock and find somewhere to go. Fast! 10-12 minutes...max.

flaphandlemover (post #318) - great pictures. Looks like the folks in Cedre and Semmer have some SERIOUS thanking to do... that was just too close. Either some very skilful flying, or an indisputable miracle.

My heart is heavy thinking of what those two poor souls were faced with, that particular evening, with that situation...

Let's hope we can all learn from this - whatever the cause of the fire, as the more sensible posts have suggested here, suppression or egress is not really the factor here. More stringent controls on what is carried, and how it is packaged is the issue.

If nasty things weren't unknowingly carried, or were contained better, then suppression or egress is barred... Apart from the 1-out-of-thousands-of-flights where a/c systems are at fault, the checklist will protect you, but the time-rule still applies. Don't try to reason... Land. ASAP.

My heart goes out to those poor guys that night.... they flew my biggest fear.

Fire in flight. Nothing scares me more.

Last edited by Bartholomew; 7th Sep 2010 at 00:20. Reason: spelling and (eventual) logic
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Old 6th Sep 2010, 23:35
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Thank you for your response PJ2.

From my experiences, 95% of DG trained staff are very competent, and well trained. Unfortunately this appears to be getting less and less so. Once again money is the problem, companies are looking to pay minimum wage staff to do non-minimum wage jobs.

I spent quite some time at a very Big Airline, and their attention to DG was excellent, staff paid well, training was spot on, and procedures almost watertight (double signed checksheets etc). I would be happy to fly on an aircraft with freight checked by just one member of their old staff, never mind two, safety was paramount, not cost.

However, recently the cheap option has been the choice for most UK handling firms. Young kids on 13k a year checking RADAC etc with just bare-minimum training, supervision and motivation. I spoke to one not so long a go whose idea of a check was "shake it and see if it rattles or leaks" and if it didn't the boxes were ticked and off it went.....

Then we have the actual shippers (no doubt egged on by certain cargo agents) who will do anything to avoid paying top dollar, whether that be dodgy documents, packaging, anything they think they will get away with.

I know this is a very generic discussion, and I don't wish to detract to the main subject of this tragic accident, just that cargo fires appear to be one of the "killer" items that receive very little attention until one occurs. This may or not be one, it is far too early to speculate.

There are many categories of "dodgy" DG, from undeclared items, which are by far the most dangerous, to technical "snags", no emergency phone number on the DG cert etc.

As the industry attempts to cut costs and lose very experienced, knowledgeable and intelligent staff I can see an increase in incidents, the same way as there will be increases in load errors etc as CLC becomes common place.

As always, beware the weakest links.

Fly safe all.
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 04:00
  #336 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Ex Cargo Clown
As the industry attempts to cut costs and lose very experienced, knowledgeable and intelligent staff I can see an increase in incidents, the same way as there will be increases in load errors etc as CLC becomes common place.
Deregulation promised passengers, industry leaders and employees alike that aviation could be done cheaply. It cannot.

It was assumed, and not by pilots, that automation promised that airliners could be crewed cheaply because the airplane "flew itself". This legitimated the notions that crew complements could be reduced, training footprints shortened and standards lowered without result. The proof of such folly is in the numbers.

Many knew in the early 80's that cheap yet profitable aviation transportation was a devil's promise and both expected and wrote that the quality of accidents would change while the quantity would remain stubbornly level. It can be done inexpensively and smartly, but not without serious feedback loops which tell managers when they've cut too close to the bone. It is precisely that expertise which is undervalued because the products of flight safety are, "nothing happened". In the discourse of business which values "quantifying" above all else, one cannot quantify for flight operations who are focussed on profit, "what does not occur". There is no ledger entry for "money (and lives) saved". The necessary tension between operations and safety managers should be strong but often, safety departments are organizationally placed under operations, funded by operations and staffing decisions are made by operations.

A flight safety department requires institutionalized, formal independence from both flight operations and maintenance.

The industry's efforts to reduce the accident rate yielded spectacular results into the early '70s where it has essentially leveled off but the causal pathways are materially different, led by loss of control and CFIT. The precursors to such accidents are almost certainly in the data but it requires intelligent, experienced eyes to see the patterns and then present them to a management legitimately although perhaps exclusively consumed by the daily pageant of on-time departures and related operational issues.

Such factors are part of a larger phenomenon which is essentially political and therefore economic in nature and far too large a discussion for one thread which extends back to 1970 or so. But it is the pattern which connects many threads here on PPRuNe and everywhere aviation is seriously discussed.

All of these observations are in reality far more subtle, seemingly inconsistent and difficult to discern than can be portrayed in a threaded conversation. At some point, regress from the cockpit to larger organizational factors must necessarily be book-ended, problems analyzed and solutions highlighted and communicated for change.

What is the pattern that connects Islamabad, Tripoli, Mangalore, Amsterdam, Madrid, Buffalo, and Sao Paulo to name a few?

PJ2
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 07:07
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Another grim reminder of what can happen with smoke.
Just an extract from the ATC tape, South Affrican Airways SA295 B747-244B Combi crashed into the indian ocean November 28, 1987

295 : PILOT IN COMMAND OF FLIGHT SA 295
MRU : MAURITIUS APPROACH CONTROL
TIME SPEAKER RECORDED INFORMATION
23:48:51 295 Eh, Mauritius, Mauritius, Springbok Two
Niner Five
23:49:00 MRU Springbok Two Niner Fife, eh, Mauritius,
eh, good morning, eh, go ahead
23:49:07 295 Eh, good morning, we have, eh, a smoke,
eh, eh, problem and we're doing emergency descent to level one five, eh, one four zero
23: 49: 18 MRU Confirm you wish to descend to flight level
one four zero
23: 49: 20 295 Ya, we have already commenced, eh, due to a
smoke problem in the aeroplane
23: 49: 25 MRU Eh, roger, you are clear to descend
immediately to flight level one four zero
23:49:30 295 Roger, we will appreciate if you can alert,
eh, fire, eh, eh, eh, eh
23:49:40 MRU Do you wish to, eh, do you request a full
emergency?
23:49:48 295 Okay Joe, kan jy ... vir ons (Okay Joe can
you ... for us)
23:49:51 MRU Springbok Two Nine Five, Plaisance
23:49:54 295 Sorry, go ahead
23:49:56 MRU Do you, eh, request a full emergency
please a full emergency?
23:50:00 295 Affirmative, that's Charlie Charlie
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 07:07
  #338 (permalink)  
 
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Foxhunter:
First, this battery was not properly packaged for shipment. In this
event the battery was inside a personal flashlight inside a personal
backpack.

Second, the malfunctioning battery was NOT a name brand produced or
purchased within the USA. It was one produced and procured in China.
I had some experience with lithium batteries in a former life in the marine electronics business, EPIRB/SART, stuff like that. We had some brand new batteries stored at a location in Asia and came in one morning to find the office filled with soot and smelling like....., not nice.
The battery that went bang was inside a sturdy plastic container with a cap screwed on tightly. The cap had blown off and dented the steel shells and the walls. The explosion did not start a fire, but only because there was not any flammable material close to the unruly battery. The whole office/storage area of approximately 200 meters square had to be completely washed down twice to remove the soot, I can only imagine what it had been like when all this took place. All this from a battery weighting around 300g and not being manufactured in China, but by a well known and respected "Western" company.
"Properly packed" as dangerous goods would not have made much of a difference, more likely kindled the fire.
Per
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 07:49
  #339 (permalink)  
 
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Just a reminder of what can happen and what to do

All laptop owners should watch this video in order to know why Li Ion batteries catch fire, how to extinguish the fire and more importantly, how not to do it. See the heap of ice at the end of the video!

> http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/4...ml#post5834284
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Old 7th Sep 2010, 07:57
  #340 (permalink)  
 
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Not long after the SAA Combi fire I had a SAA Capt. under supervision with our airline as a new entrant, and this, his first trip with his new airline, was a 747-200 freighter.

Shortly after take off we had a main deck cargo fire warning.

Due to the trainee Capt's status we also carried a regular F/O, so we were 4 on the flight deck and I was able to send the F/O to the back of the upper deck to initially look through the viewing window, and he came back to report that all appeared well, no sign of anything amiss on the main deck as far as he was able to see - at that stage.

The tech.log had evidence of a previous false warning, but was I going to show a recent SAA Captain that his new airline ignored fire warnings ? On top of which I had my own hide to consider !

I returned, and just before commencing the approach decided that as all still seemed OK, we would dump fuel to max landing weight instead of boring straight in overweight.

As we eventually taxied in the fire warning light extinguised, so when the engineers came aboard - like - wots' the problem !!

Turned out that the aeroplane had not long before carried a cargo of Durians, an obnoxious fruit with a very heavy, sickly, sh**ty type smell ! and the heavy vapour was still lingering in the fire detection censors - maybe ?

I was not officially censured but quietly criticised by some in management. Too bad, we were all still alive with a - more or less - servicable aeroplane.
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