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UPS cargo crash near Birmingham AL

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UPS cargo crash near Birmingham AL

Old 16th Aug 2013, 02:55
  #181 (permalink)  
 
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This, plus the fact that quite a few people have said that they struggled to find any Flightaware data for approach and landings to RWY 18 suggests that this is a rarely used runway at this airport.
I've landed there a lot, mostly on 06, sometimes on 24, and in light jets on 18. Probably most airline pilots are more familiar with 06/24, but presuming you're legal for it, an assignment to runway 18 shouldn't be a problem.

Last edited by Murexway; 16th Aug 2013 at 03:25.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 03:14
  #182 (permalink)  
 
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The crew elects to do a GPS approach onto RW18. It is a long evening and both crew members are tired, so instead of using the GPS approach charts take out the LOC charts for RW18 by mistake.
I would imagine that if the LOC/DME was in service they would have been shooting that approach (we'll know soon enough what approach they were cleared for). As is depicted on the chart, at runway threshold the DME reads 1.3 (to the far end, like SFO 28L). If they thought they were farther from the field than they were, they would have been high, not low.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 03:24
  #183 (permalink)  
 
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18 tends to be used by the GA traffic.

As for the name references... Jimmy John would normally be the witness, but on that side of town it was definitely somebody named something like D'Marquis, Mo'Nique, or Sha Nay Nay ... or my favorite.... Barakisha.



As for the visuals on the approach... There would be almost no lights for 3/4 miles before the runway lights, so that should have not matched the mental picture....unless they usually didn't land on 18....
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 04:35
  #184 (permalink)  
 
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If they were planning on doing a GPS approach then they might not have even tuned up the LOC with associated DME. The only distance reading would have been to the threshold from the FMC. This would have left them low instead of high.

I know it's a bit far fetched but..... stranger things have happened.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 05:01
  #185 (permalink)  
 
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And how do we know this???
Turbine D, We don't know it, but there was some educated speculation, earlier in the thread, that they were flying at 190 knots per hour just 1 nm from the airport, so might not have had the flaps down.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 05:49
  #186 (permalink)  
 
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The only thing that does not look right are the four reds on the PAPI's. However their calculations show them to be right on profile and the black hole effect makes them feel like they are on profile. They continue the approach in spite of the uneasy feelings they have about the PAPI's. While they discuss what is wrong with the airport systems they are unable to see the dangers that lurk around them. Before they can do anything else they have hit some trees/powerlines and it's game over.
Completely feasable but if true there is no logic, no conversation other than G/A once visual 4 red is seen @ said altitude. Other than cloud cover leaving them below DH or a critical altitude.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 06:03
  #187 (permalink)  
 
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Here's an assessment from 'consultant' and 'aviation expert' Kit Darby:

Kit Darby is an aviation expert with more than 30 years of experience.

"When they got down closer to the airport they found themselves too high and too fast and they really made a very steep descent," said Darby.
Pilots identified in Birmingham UPS cargo plane crash - CBS Atlanta 46

http://www.kitdarby.com/

He may be right but I'd be a little cautious on that call given what little we now know.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 07:16
  #188 (permalink)  
 
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they were flying at 190 knots per hour
Interesting concept...
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 07:33
  #189 (permalink)  
 
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Using the elevation feature on Google Earth (appears to be accurate) you can trace out the terrain on the approach path to runway 18.

Some observations.

The house pictured with debris in the yard and tree damage is located 1.0nm from the threshold at an elevation of 766 feet, 122 feet above the elevation at the threshold (644 feet).

The aircraft appears to have impacted the trees at a height of around 50-70 feet agl, or 172-192 feet above the threshold, or 816-836 feet asl.

At 1.0nm (6076 feet) from the threshold the altitude corresponding to a 3.24 degree glidepath (GPS approach) would be 1036 feet asl. (tan(3.24) X 6076 + 644 + 48)).

At 0.61nm (3706 feet) from the threshold and on the centerline (+/- 200 feet) the terrain rises to 835 feet, 191 feet above the elevation at the thresold.

If they hit the trees at the lower of the estimated altitude of 50 feet (816 feel asl) at 1.0nm final it seems possible that the threshold and PAPI's might have been obscured by the sloping hill (835 feet located 0.61nm from the threshold).

At 0.61nm (3706 feet) from the threshold the altitude corresponding to a 3.24 degree glidepath would be 902 feet asl. (tan(3.24) X 3706 + 644 + 48)). This is 67 feet above the 835 foot terrain (hill).

Some questions.

Is my math correct ?

Is the elevation feature on Google Earth that accurate ? Appears so when checked against known elevation points on the airport.

A 67 foot clearance over terrain just over half a mile from a runway threshold is interesting. What are the glidepath terrain clearance parameters used for certification of non-precision instrument approaches ?

Given the terrian clearance would you get a warning using a TAWS or EGPWS system flying this approach at the correct 3.24 degree glidepath ?

JC
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 07:59
  #190 (permalink)  
 
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Murexway- I've gone into microsleeps on a number of occasions, one that I remember was on final approach to PHL back in 1993 at a regional. An extenuating circumstance was that I was just beginning to feel the first symtoms of what would become a really nasty flu. (I went home). More recently I experienced a microsleep just after top of decsent into ANC, flying for a carrier with better than FAA FTLs but after a long sector. I just started this trip with a guy who told me he had a microsleep much later on an approach into ANC due to constant swapping from back to front of clock. I'm sure your MEX turns are tough, but flying your body's day versus night in the same trip even a long rest period is hard.

I also flew for a freight carrier with a hub sort in the midwest in the late 90s. I was lucky in that I slept pretty well on the daytime layovers. But the outbound flights (similar to UPS sort) were always hard even though I always napped in the hub during the sort. The human body just wants to sleep at certain times and it will do so.

Murexway, you're pretty hard on somebody suggesting a catastrophic incapacitation. We lost a Captain who had a heart attack rolling out in a DC-8 in Indy on 32 roughly 13 years ago. He started to drift off centerline and the F/O took control but couldn't stop it before they ran into the mud off the end. The engineer had to pry the guys hand off the thrust reversers. No movie, it can happen and it takes awhile to recognize incapacitation. Does your airline train for it? Mine does, although truth be told we always know its coming in training. It can be very ugly (ala JetBlue), it may come on slowly, or it may be very fast.

The reason your post got my attention is not that I think you had two people asleep at the controls or one incapacitated. You just don't seem to treat these things as a serious consideration because they haven't happened to you. By downplaying them you do the public readers and your fellow aviators a disservice in not letting people know how serious fatigue in particular can be. But somebody might have not been feeling well, or had microsleep, or just been really tired coming out of the hub sort and it might have effected descision making and reaction times. Its the biggest problem the industry faces. Its why you have people in the other forums and threads saying they wouldn't shoot a visual in SFO after a transpac flight. Microsleeps happen a lot, at just about every airline, and no phase of flight is immune. The body doesn't care. I would not be surprised to find fatigue listed a related factor here, on the other hand nobody will really know how they both slept the day before.

Passenger 389- Nobody is being insulting saying fatigue might be a factor. It isn't like the guy said they planned to have a sleep and wake up on short final. Unless you've been there, done it, and got the T-shirt with back of the clock flying you don't know what it feels like.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 09:43
  #191 (permalink)  
 
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well, it is a valid expression for acceleration (but mighty tiny value - 0.02 m/s^2)
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 10:45
  #192 (permalink)  
 
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Sooeet analysis updated and expanded

The analysis put out by Sooeet on the 14th was updated today with a new page adding more information. It explains really well the FlightAware data, but I'm still puzzled as to what exactly caused UPS 1354 to crash. I'm leaning to PE based on the flight profile which to me looks gungho and devil may care.

Check it out -

UPS flight 1354 analysis by sooeet.com
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 12:40
  #193 (permalink)  
 
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Util BUS

The only thing that does not look right are the four reds on the PAPI's. However their calculations show them to be right on profile and the black hole effect makes them feel like they are on profile.
I don't buy this.

You are not flying into a black hole if visibility is 10nm, you are below the scattered cloud and you can see eight bright red lights in front of you.

PAPIs either work or they don't. They are either on or off and they don't change angle once they are installed and certified. Even if I was Albert Einstein I would trust eight red lights over my calculations.

There is a very good reason why 'too low' is red and 'too high' is white.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 12:43
  #194 (permalink)  
 
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Soooeeet have obviously been reading Prune because they've corrected a couple of blunders-obviously-written-by-amateurs in this second rendition of their missive. They should also run the spell-checker through the text they post.

Credibility still zero.
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 12:50
  #195 (permalink)  
 
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@Speed of Sound, While I agree with your point, there seems to be only one set of PAPIs on 18 - I checked on Google Maps and can only find one set, just North of the runway intersection, so it'll be four reds rather than eight. Still should have told them what the problem was, obviously!
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 12:54
  #196 (permalink)  
 
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UPS crash (A300)

Birmingham was one of my stops for years, years ago.....The north south runway does have small hills on it.....Sad to say, at this point looks like night, 7,000 ft runway, crew just wanted to hit the numbers, but got the trees.....To early to say really....UPS have great crews, good training....Know few of their pilots there.....Scattered overcast, but ceiling was not that low really...light showers they reported also....NTSB says engines were ok, no other news as of yet....(according to boxes)
Since no radio statements to tower, or approach, leads one to think, just early morning TO LOW, hard to believe, hope am wrong! Either or anyway, we lost two pilots (RIP)
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 13:00
  #197 (permalink)  
 
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papis

lat long for gps is 086-45-08.3000W/33-33-50.0000N
-86.752306/33.563889
4 light system, that is correct........think the other 11,000 ft runway was closed my friend to me also...
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 13:09
  #198 (permalink)  
 
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Special airport?

Just another airport in USA, nothing special really.....Been to Aspen, Telluride, etc and many abroad that would constitute a wording of SPECIAL I suppose....Keep in mind also the A300 has very good short take off and landing numbers, compared to others in same weight class....Not like mine, I need all the room I can get.....lol.....
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 13:41
  #199 (permalink)  
 
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JimField

The analysis put out by Sooeet on the 14th was updated today with a new page adding more information. It explains really well the FlightAware data, but I'm still puzzled as to what exactly caused UPS 1354 to crash. I'm leaning to PE based on the flight profile which to me looks gungho and devil may care.

Check it out -
Rather than just posting a link to the updated page, maybe you could engage with some of the posters on here who have made valid criticisms of the blog.

I for one, would like to know why you included the approach profile for RWY24 on Figure 1. You call it a 'reference' but a reference for what, given it is from another direction and over completely different terrain to RWY18?

And on the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, maybe phrases like 'gunho' and 'devil may care' could be left until the report is out?
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Old 16th Aug 2013, 14:56
  #200 (permalink)  
 
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Airbubba: The approach plate I am looking at is dated 25 July 2012, from SE-4, AL-50(FAA). Glide slope noted as 3.28 degrees. The math went like this. (It may or may not reflect said glide slope. I don't have my old GS table at hand ...)

Hmm, you have a point, my calc was to MAP, not touchdown.

I'll try a different method.

If I start at the IAF at 3500 feet (as shown) and arrive at threshold (644 feet), I lose 2856 feet over a distance of 12.8 nautical miles.
150 kts GS gives me 2.5 nm per minute (5.12 minutes) 558 FPM.
180 kts GS gives me 3 nm per minute (4.27 minutes) =670 FPM. (Not far from ~700 fpm)

Granted, one should cross the threshold higher than 0 feet AGL. Call the total delta in alt -2800 feet and decrease ROD slightly to hit the box.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 16th Aug 2013 at 15:03.
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