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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

Old 13th Sep 2010, 00:46
  #501 (permalink)  
 
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The cheapest option?
Everything stays just like it is. We loose the occasional aircraft, the company gets the insurance money, they save money on crew and the customers get the bill.
Risk vs cost, and as long as it doesn't happen too often, all is well.

Well, not really, but from a bean counter point of view, it is.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 01:05
  #502 (permalink)  
 
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ExSp33db1rd,

With respect, your comments to MAS -- especially your last sentence --sound presumptuous; even a tad arrogant.

This discussion is not restricted to the boundaries you suggest; it's about a horrific crash (sorry, I don't like the word "accident" in this context). At this point there is no information available (publicly) that suggests DG as a cause. And the discussion re another crew member, or other mitigation suggestions to deal with onboard emergencies, is just one small aspect of the overall discussion of this occurrence.

(IMO) MAS's question and concerns re the safety and security of cargo ops are both valid and of interest. Many of us in this business believe that freight ops have been left dangerously far behind in the rush to provide increased security (both real and imagined) for passenger ops.

grizz
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 01:40
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For some of those who find that number unbelievable, I'm sure many of those packages are "envelopes"...i.e.-overnight letters...

None the less, the situation remains the same...Night Freight is what it is, and pilots accept it as such...

Unless you as a trusted "Ground CREW" deliberetly load some spooky stuff on my A/C, I'm behind you 100%
Yes, many of them are the overnight letters but the volume will fill 120+ planes a night.

I was on vacation last week when one of my crew members called to tell me of the accident. I have to say that in that moment my heart sunk and I felt physically ill. Every night I go up those stairs and talk to my pilots while they sign off the load plan and NOTOC and I'd hate for any one of them not to come back the next night.

After reading RustyNuts answer, I'm afraid to ask the obvious question; Don't you screen all cargo?
If not, we have the worlds largest security hole flying over our heads.
There really is no way to screen every package, and it's not just UPS. Take a package to a FedEx counter, or even the post office and they will ask you if there is anything liquid, perishable or potentially hazardous in the box. They don't -- can't really -- confirm that you're not lying to them when you tell them no. They have the right to open any package but there is just no time to do so.

Add to that, most people probably don't understand that things you buy in the grocery store or at Walmart are hazardous. I told my mom about the accident and her first question was "What happened?" My guess then was a HAZMAT fire so I told her so. At first she was shocked that we transported hazardous material and asked "Like what?" When I pointed out just about everything under the sinks in her bathroom and kitchen she had no idea. I'm betting that she's not alone.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 01:41
  #504 (permalink)  
 
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It might have been already covered, but just looking through these posts, I have a question about the crew actions. I flew the 744 freighter, and if I had been over Bahrain with smoke I would have pulled the throttles and speedbrakes and landed at Bahrain. Why go back to Dubai?

And xspeedbird is right. Passenger screening is a sick joke and perfect security is not obtainable. Cargo screening is even tougher to achieve, ie impossible.

I disagree with those who claim that security, whether for terrorists or criminals or in this case poorly packed packages, is best stopped at the airport. There is no such thing as airport security. No airport security has ever stopped an attack or an error. We should be prepared for whatever comes our way, and have procedures for every contingency. We should know that in the end it is the flight crew that will have to handle the problems, protect themselves and the passengers. Relying on $10 an hour fools and charlatans in the TSA (I know, they get more than that but that is all they are worth) to protect us is idiotic. And the problems faced by the workers at the distribution centres of the major freight companies are insurmountable.

Remember 9/11? how long did it take before the FAA changed their advice to cooperate with hijackers instead of fighting them and keeping the flight deck door shut no matter what? Yes, it took 2 years after 9/11 before they changed that advice. So much for the authorities.

We are on our own.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 03:34
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Well you guys aren't on your own - this fire problem has an engineering solution! Since fighting a fire is next to impossible in a closed space made up of thin aluminum, the only realistic option is to starve it of oxygen - that could be done. Even that is of no use for chemical fires that are self-sustaining (Valuejet). But for the large majority of cargo fires, cutting off the oxygen supply should be enough.

-drl
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 05:18
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Just an idea about something that was used in the early days of automobiles: engine exhaust. It could be routed into the cargo cabin in case of suspected fire. It's oxygen is already depleted, and the volume needed would cool quickly enough.

Oh, and it would be a lot cheaper than nitrogen for tank ullage inerting.

Before you get all wound up, think about it, seriously. I pressurize the fuel tank in my Model T Ford to 2 psi with exhaust gas. It feeds the carb, and provides inerted ullage (space above the fuel.)

GB
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 05:22
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Hi Guppy

Appreciates you sharing your insight in the fire fighting. Some questions though:

The fire suppression in the lower cargo is based on Halon. Halon works by starving the fire of oxygen. You mean that in most cases this will not be enough? Most wide body passenger jets today are certified with the Halon suppression as the means to stay alive for hours.

The main deck fire procedure is based on de-pressurising the aircraft, fly at 25000 feet and thus starve the fire from oxygen. At the same time the outflow valves will be open and one pack will operate. Don't you think this will draw the smoke to the rear of the aircraft?
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 06:31
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"....if I had been over Bahrain with smoke I would have pulled the throttles and speedbrakes and landed at Bahrain. Why go back to Dubai?"

They weren't "over Bahrain" - they were over the Persian Gulf somewhere. Reports say "100nm from Doha" - which could mean roughly halfway between Doha and Dubai (separated by a ~200-nm-wide bay), or somewhere else on the 100nm circle centered on Doha (and also 20 minutes at climb airspeed from Dubai).

(I haven't seen a map of their actual flight path anywhere yet - except for that ugly final minute.)

Bahrain was the ATC to whom they were talking at the time. But that doesn't mean they were over Bahrain any more than a pilot talking to Denver Center from NE Arizona or central Nebraska is "over" Denver.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 06:52
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ExSp33db1rd,

With respect, your comments to MAS -- especially your last sentence --sound presumptuous; even a tad arrogant.
My apologies if it came over like that.

And xspeedbird is right. Passenger screening is a sick joke and perfect security is not obtainable. Cargo screening is even tougher to achieve, ie impossible.
I'm clearly not alone in my opinon.

Right now all we know is that a 2-man crew died doing their best with the tools and resources - be they mechanical or human - at their disposal, and don't we all want to avoid a repetition ?

Maybe the TSA will have a part to play in achieving that - but I doubt it.

Best of luck chaps.

Over and Out.

ExS.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 08:21
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Effects of altitude on a/c fires

Here's a link to an FAA study that evaluated cargo fire control by depressurization:
www.fire.tc.faa.gov/pdf/2009highlights.pdf
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 10:14
  #511 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs down

I found this on another bb. The UPS pilots are already being criticized by LH Captain Georg Fongern. Here's the excerpt (full article here) from the Süddeutsche Zeitung:

“Nach dem Ausbruch eines Brandes mehr als eine halbe Stunde in der Luft zu bleiben ist ziemlich lang", wundert sich Georg Fongern, selbst Airbus-Pilot bei Lufthansa und Vertreter der internationalen Pilotenvereinigung*Ifalpa.

Denn nach dem Absturz von Swissair-Flug 111 im September 1998 infolge eines Cockpitbrandes hatte sich die Handlungsanweisung für Piloten bei Feuer und Rauch an ihrem Arbeitsplatz gründlich geändert. "Wenn es eine Landemöglichkeit gibt, und die hatten die UPS-Piloten, kümmert man sich nicht um die Ursache des Feuers, sondern sieht zu, dass man so schnell wie möglich runterkommt", so*Fongern.
Translated:

“To stay airborne for more than 30 minutes after the fire was first noticed is a pretty long time” says Georg Fongern with astonishment, himself an Airbus pilot with Lufthansa and representative of the international airline pilot's association IFALPA.
After the crash of Swissair flight 111 in September 1998 which has been caused by cockpit fire, pilot procedures regarding fire and smoke in the cockpit had been fundamentally changed. “If there was a landing opportunity, which the UPS pilots had, then one doesn't care about the cause of the fire, but lands the plane as soon as possible” according to Fongern.

LH people always being superior...
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 10:23
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@squawk

Okay obviously you don't like that statement.

Do you like the opposite?

“To stay airborne for more than 30 minutes after the fire was first noticed is NOT a pretty long time” says Georg Fongern with astonishment, himself an Airbus pilot with Lufthansa and representative of the international airline pilot's association IFALPA.
After the crash of Swissair flight 111 in September 1998 which has been caused by cockpit fire, pilot procedures regarding fire and smoke in the cockpit had been fundamentally changed. “If there was a landing opportunity, which the UPS pilots had, then one CARES about the cause of the fire, but DOESN'T land the plane as soon as possible”
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 10:46
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@hetfield.

No, I don't like the opposite. I don't like making or reading a statement publicly without knowing all possible facts, either. There's something called professionalism and Captain Fongern hasn't demonstrated much here.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 16:49
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Mainsail

Good Day All

Firstly I am not a professional pilot nor am I a professional pilot wanabee.

My field of expertise is the marine industry and one of the jobs I do in my professional capacity is the pre-inspection of hazardous cargo before shipment.
I accept that ships and aircraft are not the same, but the systems for dealing with hazardous cargo are similar.

IMHO The biggest problem with hazardous cargo is the stowage and packing of the cargo, I kid you not, I have seen cartons of cigarette lighters put in shipping containers with a 2000kg crate of machinery placed on top!!!!
The paperwork and correct declerations are vitally important, but don't get to hung up about it,
Correct paperwork and bad packing is much more dangerous than bad paperwork and good packing.

What do you do, both industries need robust check systems and random inspections, but as has been said before some problem cargo will always get through.

A lot has been said about a third crew member who can fight a fire whilst the two pilots fly the aircraft. Correct me if I am wrong but I assume that most cargo loaded on aircraft are unit loads (pallets or containers)
1. It would be very difficult to access a fire inside pallets or containers
2. The working conditions would be almost impossible with the heat and smoke
3. I know that in a burning aircraft health and safety rules may go out of the window, but I do not think that any airline or shipping line would allow one person to go into a burning cargo hold. You would need a fire fighting team of two or three,
for one person trying to work in that enviroment it would be tantamount to suicide.

Again IMHO the only answer is a very good fire suppression system. Ships have lots of space for firefighting kit, and minimum manning levels to ensure that you have the capacity to fight fire, you also have usually, more time before the situation gets critical, and ultimatly you have the option of abandoning the vessel.

Nobody knows if hazardous cargo played a part in the loss of this aircraft and crew but it appears that both industries have the same problems with hazardous cargo.

Please forgive a non pilot for intruding into your forum but I thought that you might like to hear opinions from an industry with similar problems.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 18:44
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Squawk7777,

Having met and spoken with Capt Georg Fongern a few times at IFALPA venues, I respect his words and his knowledge.

Having last year been involved in an incident where the cockpit (and cabin) of a B757 filled with smoke in 20-30 seconds (you have to see it to believe it)
I KNOW you want and have to get down fast. It was not an onboard fire, but engine related and we landed on one engine 12 minutes after the initial event.
Smoke removal of the cabin was not fully accomplished until on the ground, actually the smoke removal was found to have been hampered by an unrelated technical issue.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 18:51
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I normally hate reading some of the wildly crazy ideas floated about regarding such issues (Come on - chutes? Seriously?), but I have to imagine someone's run across this notion at some point in their career:

Cargo jettison. It seems quite simple.

Have any of you freight folks ever dealt with a noodling session in which this idea had been floated? Other than the obvious modifications to the aircraft (read: expense), wouldn't it be more cost-effective to lose the cargo (presumably insured) and save the airframe and crew?

There I go, thinking out loud again.
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 19:02
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Hedge36:
Cargo jettison
A bit tricky on a nose loader!
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 19:14
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Thank you Mainsail

Mainsail,

I enjoyed reading your post. Certainly makes one think.

Let's see what comes out of the investigation and what the recommendations are going to be?

Thanks and take care.

Check Six
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 19:25
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Speaking as someone with knowledge of UPS export systems in the UK, I can clarify for you that at least here, all air export packages are x-ray screened twice, once at package centre and once upon export from the airport of choice. The systems for checking packages for air export in the UK have been extremely hot since 9/11. However even with all the systems inplace, as our friend in Louisville pointed out, one or two may get through..... I would like to assume the systems are the same globlally for international shipments. (US domestic airfreight is quite another matter.)
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Old 13th Sep 2010, 19:39
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It's a predetermined weight of retardant (Halon, incidentally, is no longer produced), and fires in a single shot. If the first bottle doesn't do the job, a second can be discharged.

Many of the 747's I fly in freight service do not have a lower cargo fire prevention system. They are equipped with detection, only.
That only applies to the B742. All B744's and B744F's have lower cargo fire suppression. There are four bottles. After FWD or AFT has been selected, the DISC switch is pressed. This discharges two bottles into the selected hold. The remaining two bottles then commence a metered discharge providing 195 minutes of fire suppressionon the B744 and 210 minutes on the B744F. The difference is because the B744 leaves two packs operating whereas the B744F reduces to one. The two metered bottled fully discharge on touchdown.

As had been said several times on this thread, in the case of a main deck fire on a B744F there is no fire suppression. You have a maximum of 15 minutes to get on the ground. If you can't achieve that then seriously consider putting it on any available stretch of water (while still under control).

Dave
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