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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

Old 3rd Oct 2010, 17:02
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I am thinking that the procedure to fly unpressurized at 250 means that someone expects a fire to be suppressed enough to enable flight. However, I would sure like some more info on this. Even if 250 does work in suppressing the fire, eventually one has to descend...

At this time, we do not know when in the flight profile the smoke became so thick, or how much time was spent at lower altitudes, etc.

Last edited by F111UPS767; 3rd Oct 2010 at 19:23.
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Old 3rd Oct 2010, 17:33
  #662 (permalink)  
 
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Feathers

"If"... Yes, if it was like that they were doomed anyway. But what if it wasn't?

They didn't follow Boeing procedures. Not that I blame them, I would have done the same, it's just that with hindsight I realize that it might have been better to stay at 250. Maybe that would have suppressed the fire enough to let the outflow valves cleared the smoke and they could have been better prepared for the landing.

Maybe...

Smilin_Ed

"What would have helped these poor guys more than anything else is a third (or fourth or fifth) crewmember to go find the fire and try to put it out. "

Have you ever looked down in a fully loaded 747? Even if there's no fire you can hardly walk along the pallets... Read some of Guppy's posts... he knows what he's talking about. They could have had 10 guys from NYFD as jump seaters and with the equipment we carry it still wouldn't have helped.
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Old 3rd Oct 2010, 17:54
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Having dealt with 74f, and also chemistry I am trying to work out what on earth can save this.

An inerting device would not have worked.

Keeping the nasty Li batteries away would.

You can't ban them because they will always find their way over here, or where ever that might be.

To kill an Li fire is very, very difficult. Most will say CO2 or N2 type extinguishing, but H2O is by far the best, in other fires it will kill you.
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Old 3rd Oct 2010, 21:37
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Originally Posted by rottenray
There is a notion amongst smug programmers that all they need is a "concept" and enough "examples" in order to successfully mimic the advanced decision-making process even the least smart of humans use on a daily basis to sh*t and then wipe the backside.
Not amongst those I know, and I've been learning from and working with them for the last 12 years. In my experience any software engineer worth their salt would be horrified at the thought that a statement so blase could be made.

Can you name any examples, or are we talking about the school of "My Dad always said", the college of "It stands to reason" and the university of "Some bloke in the pub said so"?

@barit1

Let's be honest here though - without the input of the state you wouldn't have the Hoover Dam, the freeway system, the Boeing 707 (which was derived from a tanker design) or Concorde. Sometimes the "free" market is so focused on short-term profit that it can kill innovation in its tracks. I also don't think you'll find that many statists that demand central planning for everything, either.

We're veering off-topic here though, so I don't know how long these posts will stick around.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 01:09
  #665 (permalink)  
 
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DozyWannabe:
...without the input of the state you wouldn't have the Hoover Dam, the freeway system, the Boeing 707 (which was derived from a tanker design) or Concorde.
I don't believe the state invented anything here. Government provided capital to pull together already-proven concepts into new applications, but whatever invention was done was by private industry.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 02:11
  #666 (permalink)  
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Altitude decompression sickness

A US Air Force study of altitude DCS cases reported that 87% of incidents occurred at 7,500 m (24,600 ft) or higher
The 25,000 foot question explained. More here;

Decompression sickness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 05:52
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On the Boeing Freighters you do not descend to FL 250. When you arm the fire suppression system for the main deck the pressurization system dumps the Cabin and maintains an internal pressure equal to FL 250. This allows the aircraft to remain at altitude for best range and quite possibly best forward speed.

Speaking for myself, if I have fire and the regulated cabin altitude of FL 250 is not suppressing the flames, maintaining your original cruise altitude will permit raising the cabin to a higher altitude an possibly suppressing the fire faster or retaining a greater margin of time required for the emergency descent to landing.

The ideal situatuation is to stay as high as you can and as rapidly as possible dive to your intended diversion airport or controlled point of impact with the water.

Even with a battery fire, the batteries have very limited amount of energy to release. Once they have shorted out the lack of oxygen in the cabin (in theory) should provide you with enough time make an emergency descent to landing.

If the inferno damages the airframe, the low pressure on the pressure vessel should help to retain some or most of the structural integrity.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 08:34
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On the Boeing Freighters you do not descend to FL 250.
Item 7 on our B744F QRH checklist for FIRE MAIN Deck states:

-Climb or descend to 25,000 feet when conditions and terrain allow.
This step is done immediately after pressing the CARGO FIRE DEPRES/DISCH switch which does indeed among other things depressurize the aircraft to a cabin altitude of 25,000' or airplane altitude, whichever is lower, but the checklist still has you climb/descend to 25,000'.

My best guess would be that, as the cabin is still pressurized to 25,000', having the aircraft at the same altitude would decrease Delta PSI to almost zero and thus diminish the flow of air within the pressurized hull, further discouraging combustion.

MD
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 10:18
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Patty747400 (#693)...

I don't agree with your latter statement...and I've flown in many a 747 freighter, with and without the nose job!

EW73
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 15:37
  #670 (permalink)  
 
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Once a Lithium battery gets going, it will only stop when it has been cooled or it has consumed itself.

Laptop fires in pax a/c are managed by water and isolation from neighboring combustibles, but that can't be done with something deep inside a pallet that might well take several minutes struggle to reach.

The real problem is propagation to adjacent batteries or ignition of adjacent combustible materials.

It should not be that hard, if not already done, to design a container for li-ion batteries that will contain a runaway, maybe with a cube of dry ice. If that can't be done, then shipping by air has to be a no-no.

If the pallet is sealed so that O2 can't get in, consumption of adjacent combustibles would be limited. But it would be necessary to allow venting for the climb to cabin altitude and subsequent descent. Perhaps a temperature sensor would prevent repressurisation on descent. Perhaps a CO2 container inside each pallet that released at high temperature would help.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 20:41
  #671 (permalink)  
 
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Razoray
And that's just not good enough....I'm not saying that if there was a Fire Fighter on board that the UPS plane would not have crashed, but at least it gives the crew a fighting chance, and if anything buys them some much needed time...

I don't disagree with you.

It is of interest to see somebody post the rumor that one of the crew had gone to try and fight the fire. Guess: If that is so, perhaps the location of the two dead pilots' bodies suggest one not being in the cockpit? We shall see, hopefully, as more of the investigation's details emerge.
Mariner
Fires are feared by sailors and aviators alike.

The sailor can at last resort jump in the ocean without first having to manage a controlled ditching ... though at some latitudes, that just makes you a cold dinner for the fish … in either case.

Torquewrench
Considerable design time has been lavished on carefully automating all of the official, routine duties of navigators and flight engineers. However, this can easily blind designers to the fact that there were many unofficial, non-routine exertions often carried out by such members of the crew, especially under emergency circumstances, and these are unlikely to be addressed by even superbly foresighted ...


To which Machaca objected.

Machaca, I remember in the H-2, we were at about Airframe change 131 when I entered the fleet. The designers can’t foresee it all – their being human, that isn’t any condemnation of designers.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 22:48
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The reason for the descent is due to the rapid drop in temperature in the cabin as a result of shuting off the trim air. The procedure also shuts down packs 2&3 which supply air to the main deck and lower cargo lobes. Obviously the aircraft will become very cold very quickly.

Remaining at cruise altitude can buy you time, lower cabin pressure remains an option where as at 250 and below it is not, that additional reduction in pressure and the available oxygen for the fire, put another way you have more time and a lower probability of flashover.

Colder temperatures would also delay the time for heat to transfer that would otherwise ignite combustable materials near the smoldering components that have previously ignited. Example, the pallet next to the one that caught fire. the lack of oxygen, colder temperatures, and distance (albeit 5-10cm) could make it more difficult for radiant heat to become a secondary ignition source and allow the fire to spread. I will grant you that this may be a very small benefit given the heat soaked nature of cargo relative to the ambient temperatures at altitude.

Depriving the fire of oxygen accomplishes everything that Halon, CO2 or other fire fighting gasses do. Once you remove the oxygen time is on your side. anybody that has use halon knows how quickly a fire will re-ignite once the gas disperses. It stops the fire and the secondary ignition sources but it does not remove the primary ignition source or hotspots that can cause re-ignition.

An aircraft kept at altitude retains the benefit of oxygen deprivation, increased time to reduce the heat from the primary ignition source and possibly time to locate and put the fire out.

Last edited by Deltabravowhiskey; 4th Oct 2010 at 23:10.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 03:00
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"Quote:
ernestkgann writes:
The esteemed owners of this site may have to make an appropriate venue on these boards for UAV people. You will find that part of the psychology of pilots is the actual flying, remove that and there isn't much desire in that group to participate.
I'm apt to reply with the same snide aire and ask "participate in what?"

In most cases, by the time a pilot gets to sit in the left-hand seat of any aircraft with pax aboard, that person has "participated" in many hundreds of hours of training - in flying a plane, in calculating weights and balances, in understanding weather, in learning literally thousands of minutia regulations.

And I'll guess here, about 85% of them do it because they love flight and want to spend their working careers aloft.

There are many working pilots who participate in these forums, as well as many who are hopeful of becoming pilots and some who gave the idea up long ago when they discovered they didn't have the right mentality for it. I'm in that last group, by the way.


Quote:
... and writes again:
No doubt the advent of remotely piloted aircraft fits in there somewhere and as a group we are nearing the cross roads of the benefits of automation versus human/manual flying.
SN3, thank you for making this clear for everyone to see:
Quote:
Clearly when you entered into the conversation, you did so with an agenda. You finally outed yourself, that's all.
I'll throw my $0.02 in. Automation has to go a long, long way to replace the human element in piloting an aircraft. There is a notion amongst smug programmers that all they need is a "concept" and enough "examples" in order to successfully mimic the advanced decision-making process even the least smart of humans use on a daily basis to sh*t and then wipe the backside.

It's utter hogwash. Artificial intelligence is difficult to do with supercomputers, let alone the limited amount of processing you can loft into the air and/or reliably link to on the ground.

Lastly, ernestkgann, I have to comment on your choice of screenname here. The *real* Mr. Gann passed away nearly 20 years ago but if he were alive, he would certainly not appreciate the type of posts you commit using his moniker.


RR"

Wow, and all I really said was that an incapacitated crew could be able to utilize the currently existing automation better. Paranoia jumps on that as an implicit call to un-man the cockpit.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 13:18
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EW73

Sorry but I do not understand what you disagree on?

The difficulties of walking on a fully loaded main deck or the lack of proper equipment for fire fighting? Or both?
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Old 7th Oct 2010, 12:34
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Depriving the fire of oxygen accomplishes everything that Halon
can.

Not true, not true at all. Halon works by not only starving the fire of oxygen, but reacting with the radicals that propogate the fire. All halogenated extinguishers work this way.

You can put out an self-oxidising fire with Halon, you can't by putting it in an inert atmosphere.

We have three different extinguishers in our labs for very good reasons, they all do a different job, on different reactions.
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 21:58
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From the FAA warning today on the carriage of lithium batteries, of which the UPS flight was carrying a large number.

The FAA's safety directive said that recent research conducted by its scientists shows that when batteries are exposed to high temperatures they have the potential to create "thermal runaway," a chain reaction leading to self-heating and the release of a battery's stored energy.

A cargo compartment fire can be hot enough to ignite batteries even if they aren't involved the initial fire, "creating a risk of a catastrophic event," the safety directive said. Once one battery experiences thermal runaway, it generates enough heat to trigger thermal runaway in other nearby batteries. Lithium metal batteries — the kind normally used in watches and cameras, for example — can create explosions forceful enough to damage cargo compartments.

FAA tests of as few as six loose lithium metal batteries stored in steel containers found that when exposed to heat they created enough explosive force to blow the lids off the containers, the directive said.

"There are currently no approved and tested containers that can sufficiently contain the known effects of accidental lithium metal battery ignition," the safety directive said. "Common metal shipping containers, pails and drums are not designed to withstand a lithium metal cell fire."
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Old 9th Oct 2010, 08:25
  #677 (permalink)  
 
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Re Lithium Batteries:
The sad thing about it is that it would be realtively easy to transport them much more safely:
They need to be empty/discharged. It is the electric charge which supports the thermal runáway. The electric energy allows to melt the separator between the layers causing a short circuit. The separator contains flammable (alcohol based) substances which cause the open fire. It is not the Lithium that burns, it's the alcohol. That's why a fire is best extinguished with water despite the Lithium which reacts heavily with water.
Unfortunately there is no regulation regarding the charge level of the batteries even being discussed at least to my knowledge.
For example for Lithium Polymer cells a pretty safe energy state would be below 3.5V. That should prevent the much dreaded thermal runaway.
Once they burn openly ignited by an external source, it's difficult to contain the energy. But that applies to Kerosene as well....
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Old 9th Oct 2010, 08:34
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Are these laptop/camera rechargeables, or the one-time consumables? The rechargeables could obviously be shipped near-discharged commercially.

Edmund
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Old 9th Oct 2010, 15:15
  #679 (permalink)  
 
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The latest FAA SAFO makes it clear that a strong enough container for lithium metal batteries will not be easy to design -- I stand corrected.

Looks to me that a way to keep the batteries good and cold might help -- that or positioning over an ejection port
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Old 9th Oct 2010, 16:06
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SaturnV

"From the FAA warning today on the carriage of lithium batteries, of which the UPS flight was carrying a large number."

Can you provide a link or citation to this warning -- I hadn't seen it.


Goldfish
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