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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

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UPS Aircraft Down In Dubai

Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:17
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Blind Pew:

Had a mate have a cockpit fire on a Swissair MD80 ex Munich. Within a couple of minutes the could see hardly anything, did a 180 and carried out an autoland downwind.
Check again, no autoland, far from it. They had preciously few instruments let alone automation left and handflew the thing, changing over controls between PIC/FO several times in the process. They were extremely lucky and also very skillful getting it on the ground. We were all stunned here when the extent of the damage became known. (Reason was a defective Emergency Power Switch).

http://www.bfu.admin.ch/common/pdf/1602.pdf

There are several accidents / incidents known with cockpit/cabin fires. Many ended in tragedy (Saudia 163, SR330, SR111, Valuejet just to quote a few). Time is the absolute essence in these. I recall some statement from Boeing after SR111, stating something to the effect that either an airplane would land within 15 minutes after discovering an in flight fire or "the accident is a fact". Sent chills down my spine when I first read it and is burned in my memory ever since.

I also recall a crew of a DC10 freighter at SFW Newburgh who got violently criticized for abandoning their checklists and putting it down fast, pre SR111. I think some people were thinking again afterwards.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:24
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MD80

Thanks for the correction - age.
Great link - confirmed the total flight time 20 minutes, smoke appeared after 10 mins, 2 mins later elected to return to MUN, emergency declared and after a further eight minutes they were on the ground but could not see out of the cockpit.
The skipper was very bright and also an excellent pilot, think a lot of our guys might not have got away with it.
Spoke german with a funny accent though!

Last edited by blind pew; 3rd Sep 2010 at 21:35. Reason: timeline
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:26
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I also recall a crew of a DC10 freighter at SFW Newburgh who got violently criticized for abandoning their checklists and putting it down fast, pre SR111. I think some people were thinking again afterwards.
That is basically true. The crew landed with their goggles pressed against the instruments. They walked away from it - just barely.....

It was undeclared hazmat, by the way. I'm sure that'll be a focus of this investigation.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:35
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Main Deck Suppression?

Huck and MacRider noted only fire detection on main deck, no suppression. Given that only mitigation is dumping cabin pressure, one ends up in a Catch 22 with increased oxygen feeding a fire below about 8,000 ft as one attempts to land. Any other suppression methods available upon descent (other than the previously cited handheld)?

Is it just too expensive, or beyond the laws of physics to provide fire suppression to the loaded main deck of a 747 or other heavy cargo aircraft? Or is this just an economic issue for the freight carriers?
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:36
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If it is generally agreed that there WAS a fire on this aircraft, then that makes it the 2nd cargo hull loss in a relatively short time with fire confirmed/alleged on board after LH @ Ryadh.

@blind pew

never mind, thanks for reminding us of that incident. I was fully aware of it, knew the FO on and off, can't recall who the captain was. It was a massive piece of great airmanship, they could have done with a medal or so for saving that one.

@Huck

That is basically true. The crew landed with their goggles pressed against the instruments. They walked away from it - just barely.....
I recall reading the NTSB report on that one and that the PIC and FE were severely criticized because in the rush to get down NOW they forgot one or two items, which the experts afterwards found could have contributed to the difficulties in extinguishing the fire. I thought to myself even then, and that was pre- SR111, that this was a fairly easy thing to say to them for someone who had not been there. With the background of SR330 (bomb explosion with fire) I thought even then they did a phantastic job to get it down and to be alive.

We don't know if this was an issue here, from what our friends who overheard the whole thing (and how terrible that must be I don't want to contemplate), it may well have been.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:45
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Guy on CNN is a senior trainer with Emirates. Spoke to him... he reckons there was thrust on the engines and no sign of fuel dumping. Looks like it was a shallow descent to the impact sight. He is safa by the way.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:52
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It seems to me that it should be possible to fill the cabin of a cargo plane with halon and isolate and over-pressurize the cockpit with say nitrogen with the crew on O2. That would drive the smoke from the cockpit. You wouldn't need a hermetically sealed cockpit.

-drl
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:53
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From AN2 Driver:

I recall reading the NTSB report on that one and that the PIC and FE were severely criticized because in the rush to get down NOW they forgot one or two items, which the experts afterwards found could have contributed to the difficulties in extinguishing the fire. I thought to myself even then, and that was pre- SR111, that this was a fairly easy thing to say to them for someone who had not been there.
Though the not the full report, here is a letter from the NTSB to the FAA describing the incident, summarizing the cause and "pointing the finger".
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 21:57
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I confirm it was not quick at all.
They started their emergency descent around the Bahrain/Doha area. I estimate their crash to have occurred after 20-25mins.
I doubt a bleed/pack smoke. He stated more then once "we are on fire" which makes me believe he actually had evidence there was fire.
Very important facts if corroborated

It puts a relative time frame on the degradation should a fire have been involved. Also provides a similar time frame if a fuel dump was commanded.

Up until the abandoned landing (as reported) it would be interesting to find out what the track of the aircraft was in the descent.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:16
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Mate of mine departed just ahead of the UPS. Said that the UPS reported "Main Deck Fire indication" and requested the closest airport from Bahrain Control. They suggested Doha which was 100 miles. After a brief pause the UPS crew requested "Why not back to where we came from". They said OK and offered a vector to the 10 mile final 12L. After a minute the UPS requested "Emergency descent due fire". They then informed ATC that the smoke was obstructing their vision and that they could not see anything. After that the comms were with DXB on 121.5 where they were cleared to descend to 9000', which was changed to descend at your discretion. The rest were bits on 121.5.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:23
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I know that it might be a stupid question I guess and you might answer "who cares in these circumstances..." - but is it allowed to dump fuel so low and over inhabitant ground and - as some seem to indicate - just before an emergency landing not on a field...? (Am not a pilot)
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:31
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It may not be specifically allowed or forbidden to dump fuel so low, but if it saves lifes.. it's better to wash those shirts soaked in jet fuel than let them burn in it.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:33
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grimmrad

Normally, you would not dump below 6000ft in a B744, but if the situation was as bad as suggested, then I suspect stopping fuel dumping was the last thing on their minds.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:33
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I guess a better question for the people who might be inconvenienced by jettisoned fuel is 'Would you prefer a diluted spray of fuel or a crashed aircraft on your property'.

However, yes, there are recommended procedures but in emergency it is preferable to allow the qualified human in the chain to decide.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:36
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Soddim, TopBunk, Dufo - thanks dor the response. Thats what i figured but wanted to get the inside info. I can fully relate that I rather have jet fuel than jet metal on my head...
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:37
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As Topbunk says, fuel dumping restrictions, along with most others, go out of the window as soon as a problem escalates to this extent.

In an emergency, what needs to be done is done - if you need to redo the wash afterwards, so be it.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:49
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NWstu

Though the not the full report, here is a letter from the NTSB to the FAA describing the incident, summarizing the cause and "pointing the finger".
err, I meant the FEDEX DC10 at Newburgh. Nobody I was aware of criticized the SR crew in the aftermath but one never stops learning... thanks for that letter.

http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/1998/AAR9803.pdf

Just had another look at the FEDEX report. It took exactly 19 minutes from the first alert to the ground egress command after landing. The Swissair MD80 took 12 Minutes from the initiation of the turn back to landing from FL180.

@blind pew: Of course! Thanks for jogging my memory here.

Best regards
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:54
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"They suggested Doha which was 100 miles. After a brief pause the UPS crew requested "Why not back to where we came from?"

Decades ago, I had a huge oil leak, at night, in a Cessna 310R climbing out of HPN for JFK. Called departure in a shaky voice--my first-ever emergency--and asked for vectors direct to JFK.

"Ah, yeah, we could do that," the bored controller said, "but why not go back to Westchester? It's just three miles behind you..."

Live and learn.
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 22:57
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Off the top of my head in the last 10 years hull losses from main deck cargo fires have been:

1996 FedEx DC-10 KSFW Newburgh, New York

2006 UPS DC-8 KPHL Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2010 UPS B-747 DBX Dubai, UAE
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Old 3rd Sep 2010, 23:13
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They suggested Doha which was 100 miles. After a brief pause the UPS crew requested "Why not back to where we came from?
Ground Distance from Dubai to Doha is 206 NM. If they were 100 NM from Doha they were practically in equal distance to DXB, which they knew and probably had the plates ready.
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