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-   -   UPS cargo crash near Birmingham AL (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/521370-ups-cargo-crash-near-birmingham-al.html)

AKAAB 14th Aug 2013 17:17

From some of the photos that have come out, it looks like they impacted the front side of a hill, impacted the next hill, and ended up on the other side. The impacts could account for some of the reports from neighbors.

Looking for a silver lining, I hope this brings to light how the DOT allowed cargo airline managements to get a carve-out/exemption from the new FAR 117 rest and duty rules coming in January. Pilots are pilots and we all need to be rested to do out jobs safely.

ECAM_Actions 14th Aug 2013 17:17


Local news says witnesses said engines sounded like they were sputtering or cutting out.
I didn't know the A300 had piston engines. :E

If the reports are accurate, maybe it was the ignitors firing after a bird strike?

* waits for the official report *

Speed of Sound 14th Aug 2013 17:17


It is just a guess and out of line.
Why is it out of line?

Until the final report is out we are all guessing as to the cause, and flarepilot's 'guess' is no better or no worse than anyone else's I've seen so far.

Sorry Dog 14th Aug 2013 17:27


I didn't know the A300 had piston engines.
;) Not my choice of words, but I can see how surges can be described as such.

VinRouge 14th Aug 2013 17:46

Is this a FATAC or did the crew get away with it (or are the details still being withheld?)

Hoping for the best, looks as if it was survivable, keeping fingers crossed that it was.

NG ExPat 14th Aug 2013 17:49

Keep in mind that this model Airbus has had several inflight rudder problems. ie AA crash after takeoff from JFK. If I remember correctly, there was also a Canadian Charter operator that lost a good portion of the tail while out on the AR's. The talk about a debris field prior to the impact site might be explained with this in mind.

As with everyone else.....waiting to see what the NTSB has to say.

FIRESYSOK 14th Aug 2013 17:59

It could also mean they impacted trees, engines surged as they failed, dropping internal/external parts along the remainder of the flight path.

Anything is possible, but there is a photo floating around that shows the left-main gear strut intact, approximately perpendicular to the fuselage with the wheel bogies inboard. IOW, the gear *may* have been in the retract position.

This could indicate a go-around was being attempted but not possible with compromised engines. It could also mean it simply came to rest that way as those struts are well built.

Purely an observation based on the photo.

Cows getting bigger 14th Aug 2013 18:17

They could have done an Asiana.

Perhaps we should all stop for a breath or two? :bored:

MPN11 14th Aug 2013 18:17

So the data you have is … … …. landed waaaay short of the RW and both crew are dead.

Has nobody considered cargo shift, terrorism, double engine failure, enthnic minority pilots or any other random suggestions? :eek:

I know it's a "Rumour Network", but apart from a few posts that contribute something there's nothing to see here. Just 2 people who were doing their job, and who are now dead.

How about waiting until there's anything to discuss? Like some facts?

Uncle Fred 14th Aug 2013 18:23

Being en vile by chance at the moment I would second the question of landing south. I am not questioning the crews decision at this time as something else must have factored in as the taxi to the cargo ramp would be just as long had they just landed on the long runway to the northeast-east.

Perhaps the long runway was closed at that time. That is why we stand at parade rest and wait for trained and competent investigators to do their work.

There were thunderstorms last evening but no squall lines or lasting foulness. Rain on and off since then.

I had reason to be on the north side of the aerodrome this morning and it was populated by the usual bevy of news trucks. I had no desire to see the site. We lost fellow aviators this morning and apart from some road closures, gawking would be inappropriate.

Compared to some of the world's airports BHM is certainly not high terrain, but it is hilly just north of the airport and terrain is terrain if it were in the dark and on a NPA. It is most definitely, as had been stated, not a flat terrain approach whilst landing to the south.

DaveReidUK 14th Aug 2013 18:30


How about waiting until there's anything to discuss? Like some facts?
NTSB on-scene press briefing today 4pm CDT.

AKAAB 14th Aug 2013 18:30

I read elsewhere that 24 was NOTAM'd out of service until 0500. Looking at current NOTAMS, it appears there is construction ongoing on 24, with ALS, PAPI, and ILS inop until October.

Blind Squirrel 14th Aug 2013 18:42

Debris apparently result of impact with trees
 

Moments before Flight 1354 crashed into a hillside less than a quarter mile away, it clipped two trees in Cornelius and Barbara Benson's yard. Splinters of pine tree tops and scraps of aluminum scattered across the yard.

The Benson's home at the intersection of Tarrant Huffman Road and Treadwell Road is the last house a plane passes over before it reaches the airport....

On Wednesday morning, a piece of the UPS cargo plane about the size of a dinner plate sat leaning against a patio chair on the back porch.

Barbara Benson said the sound of the crash woke her from a dead sleep. She saw a bright red flash through the windows

"I thought at first it was the End Time," she said.

About 50 feet past the Bensons' home, the Airbus 300 struck power lines on Treadwell Road and knocked out power for several blocks....

Judging from the broken treetops in the Bensons' yard, the plane had flown 20 feet or less above their home, which sits across the street from where the airport's property starts.

If Google Maps is correct, that puts the point of first impact just a smidge more than a mile from the RWY 18 threshold, right on the extended centre-line.

Sorry Dog 14th Aug 2013 18:49

I actually just went and looked at the accident...or at least as close as you can get without interfering.

They did clipped the tops out of several trees on the approach, and then flew over a house missing it by 40 feet or so.

The hill you see is another 100 yards beyond the house, but it rises up 50 feet up from the road and the house.

It looks like he was 20 feet low to clear the hill. You can see black impact area in the hill and most of the back half of the plane is either gone or rolled over to the over side. I suspect it was nose high, so the front broke off to where you see it now.

Speed of Sound 14th Aug 2013 18:50


I read elsewhere that 24 was NOTAM'd out of service until 0500. Looking at current NOTAMS, it appears there is construction ongoing on 24, with ALS, PAPI, and ILS inop until October.
The CNN interview with the woman who said it sounded 'lower than usual at that time of day' suggests that this flight has been using RWY 18 for a while.

Does anyone know how long RWY 24 has been OTS?

AKAAB 14th Aug 2013 19:07

NOTAMS as of 1900z today. Looks like Rwy24 was under construction.

!BHM 08/035 (KBHM A0367/13) BHM RWY 18/36 CLSD

!BHM 08/025 (KBHM A0349/13) BHM RWY 6 DISTANCE REMAINING SIGNS MISSING

!BHM 08/023 (KBHM A0347/13) BHM RWY 24 TORA 10060/LDA 10060/TODA 10060 WEF 1308050129

!BHM 08/022 (KBHM A0345/13) BHM RWY 6/24 NOW 10060X150

!BHM 08/021 (KBHM A0344/13) BHM RWY 6/24 NONSTD MARKING

!BHM 08/019 (KBHM A0342/13) BHM RWY 24 TOUCHDOWN MARKINGS MISSING

!BHM 08/018 (KBHM A0341/13) BHM RWY 6/24 WORKING PROGRESS TRENCHING 1290 NORTHEAST OF THR DSPLCD

!BHM 08/016 (KBHM A0337/13) BHM RWY 24 THR DSPLCD 1938

!BHM 08/008 (KBHM A0326/13) BHM NAV ILS RWY 24 DME OTS WEF 1308031700

!BHM 08/004 BHM OBST TOWER 877 (270 AGL) 12.1 SE LGTS OTS (ASR 1217702) WEF 1308011004-1308161004

!BHM 07/054 (KBHM A0316/13) BHM RWY 24 PAPI OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

!BHM 07/053 (KBHM A0315/13) BHM NAV ILS RWY 24 GP OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

!BHM 07/052 (KBHM A0314/13) BHM RWY 24 ALS OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

West Coast 14th Aug 2013 19:21

Did those NOTAMS happen because of the crash or were the posted prior?

Kengineer-130 14th Aug 2013 19:38

Sky news report has a witness saying it was on fire before impact? li battery's again??....

flarepilot 14th Aug 2013 19:40

000
 
an earlier post of mine offered a GUESS as to what happened. it has been called inane among other things.

a cloud deck at 700' agl on a localizer dme approach that gets you to 600' is a bit suspicious

I've had a sudden spurt of rain/drizzle ruin my forward visibility and I always have my copilot standing by to turn on wipers.

any quick check shows the vasi /papi lights are set at 3.2 degrees making a slightly steeper approach....why? terrain.

a night non precision approach with low clouds makes one prone to visual miscues. hitting trees means the plane was low.

I do offer a question of barometric altimeter setting and its possible leading to a low actual altitude.


I would like to think we are all pilots here and that these are reasonable views ,possibilities if you will, about a tragic crash.

anyone recall the american airlines md80 that hit trees making an approach to windsor locks? (hartford ct). altimetry was a problem there.

I ,for one, welcome the ideas postulated here and now...a year from now when the ntsb report comes out, we will have forgotten this one.

wondering what the altitmeter setting was , what was given from approach control/atis, what we will find on the altimeters in the cockpit and how much off they might, SAY AGAIN MIGHT, have been.

now, it might not be altimetry, it might be something else...but shall we open our eyes and not just drop our heads?

tubby linton 14th Aug 2013 19:51

The flight data from the Flight Aware website shows the aircraft a few minutes before the crash below platform height( 1500 ft )and fast .The speeds listed are groud speeds and at 191kt ground speed you would be aiming to be in config 15/20( limit speed is 205kt), probably with the gear down. There may have been a tailwind on the approach based on the surface conditions.
The data before this shows a very high rate of descent and speed which to me suggests that the crew were trying to get the height off to go straight-in on 18., To achieve 5000ft/min + at around 250kt indicated requires the use of full speedbrake in the A306..Perhaps they had planned for 24 and had forgotten that it was notamed closed until handover to Birmingham approach
The workload would have been high with the reduction of track miles and the requirement to retune the aids and rebrief for a steep NPA onto a shorter runway and fly an approach that did not fit the mental model they had created when the flight comenced. The LOC/DME does not indicate Zero at the threshold but it is displays 1.3nm according to the chart.
The Jepp chart for the Loc18 approach does not have a cross reference to DME/ALT box as a LOC/DME approach would have. The A306 will not display the LOC DME on the PFD unless the approach is in the database and has been selected.
There are no approach lights on 18 and the runway lights are listed as medium intensity. Did the road north of the airfield look like the runway?
Others have already mentioned on here that this is classified as a special airfield for their operations.
We do not know how many days or sectors they had flown recently but the pressure to land after another long night, plus having to fly at the lowest point of their circadian rhythm must surely have played a part.

aterpster 14th Aug 2013 19:59

West Coast:


ATERPSTER

KBHM in my companies Jepp package is a special airport.
Must be something special for your company. Here is the usual list:

8900.206 - Special Pilot-In-Command Qualification Airport List: Addition of Airports - Document Information

olasek 14th Aug 2013 20:03


Sky news report has a witness saying it was on fire before impact?
Unfortunately such witnesses are notoriously unreliable...

flarepilot 14th Aug 2013 20:12

just read the altimeter setting and it was not too far off standard, so I am thinking it wasn't altimetry...29.97 is close enough to 29.92 that it shouldn't have caused the crash...

PEI_3721 14th Aug 2013 20:12

Question on RNAV RWY 18
 
Question on RNAV RWY 18 as depicted at Crash: UPS A306 at Birmingham on Aug 14th 2013, touched down outside airport
The point ‘BIDPE’ is additional to those shown on the LOC procedure. What is the purpose of this point other than for terrain clearance at that range?
Is does not appear to be part of the 3.25 deg GS path, and could be misinterpreted as a check altitude (2600ft) – 2000ft AAL, but at 8.7 nm this would be well below the anticipated approach path.
The procedure altitude check appears to be at the FAF ‘BASKN’; there is no altitude-range table to help monitor the approach. Without additional safety aids would the crew rely totally on the RNAV glidepath, and thus depend on the correct interpretation / programming of the procedure – including altimeter pressure setting?
Procedure NA without VGSI ? (PAPI OTS, #60)

olasek 14th Aug 2013 20:25

BASKN is the FAF - this is where 3 deg slope counts and points before are not subject to the "slope" rule. Also 2600 ft is the minimum allowed altitude at BIDPE, so yes, this is your altitude check, but better be not lower than 2600. Yes, this is your typical non-precision approach so there is no glideslope/glidepath. If you flew this approach in some lowly Cessna you would have no information about your vertical performance except the altimeter.

MarkerInbound 14th Aug 2013 20:26


IF memory serves, birmingham is a special airport (among 16 others) in the US that have special concerns mainly due to terrain.

invite others to double check...don't have my jepps with me

special airports require certain additional study/mainly due to terrain features like TVL etc.
Birmingham used to be on the 121.445 list but dropped off sometime in the early 2000s. The "additional study" tends to be look at a couple pictures of the airport taken on final and read a paragraph about what makes the airport special. Takes about 30 seconds. And it isn't required if the weather is good.

Sorry Dog 14th Aug 2013 20:47


a night non precision approach with low clouds makes one prone to visual miscues. hitting trees means the plane was low.
For at least the last 1000 feet, the flight didn't appear to be descending much, but was way low.

The pic below is from google maps and I put an arrow across where the plane took out the tops of a few trees. The impact point is about 500 feet or so after the arrow or from the house in the pic. (The street pics on google are a little old since some of the trees on the left are not there anymore).

http://i39.tinypic.com/2a5ye61.jpg

If you go to maps on google (here's the location )

and zoom to street level, where you can see the berm that the front is resting on, you can see how low they where

PEI_3721 14th Aug 2013 21:03

Thanks olasek (#72 / 73). However, the significant point is that the ‘altitude’ is not on the required glide path, which in an RNAV procedure might be confusing.
This is not ‘typical’ of what is required of a commercial RNAV NPA, and does little to help the industry-wide initiative to improve NPAs, particularly with the use of RNAV.

AKAAB 14th Aug 2013 21:30

Let's be careful about building fanciful theories or extrapolating the flight data based on FlightAware info. I've looked at several of my approaches that were normal and stable, but Flightaware showed a spike in the data that wasn't factual.

The finite data will be in the boxes. It won't take long before they release some preliminary data from the recorders just to appease the media. Once we get some of that, then we can build our scenarios on facts and not wild speculation.

AKAAB 14th Aug 2013 21:33


Did those NOTAMS happen because of the crash or were the posted prior?
Prior. The last three went into effect last week.

!BHM 07/054 (KBHM A0316/13) BHM RWY 24 PAPI OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

!BHM 07/053 (KBHM A0315/13) BHM NAV ILS RWY 24 GP OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

!BHM 07/052 (KBHM A0314/13) BHM RWY 24 ALS OTS WEF 1308022100-1310042100

WillowRun 6-3 14th Aug 2013 22:21

Guess what?
 
There's a fascinating - and IMO highly important dynamic in this thread: the notion of the "what ifs" staying within the context in which they were offered, versus the "waiters" who scorn or reject or look askance at speculation on an Internet message board - one with certain membership parameters to be sure and thus far from the free-for-all left to the hoi polloi, but a mere techno-water-cooler sans geography through which the talk is plentiful and cheap, or cheap and plentiful, depending on your point of view. Regarding those who speculate, maybe it is worth recalling that OF COURSE they know to wait for NTSB's Probable Cause findings analysis & recommendations - they're readin' & postin' here, so this is a given, already. By like measure regarding those who would prefer nothing be said here about possible causality factors, it is worth recalling that OF COURSE this Community wants to share information, in a form and format inconceivable not so long ago, and something good comes of it, even if it just teaches a lawyer or barrister that approach flying is highly complex and causality analysis depends on many many factors and there's isn't a Big Teacher with an answer key to check the NTSB's work. IOW, even if the guesses are uncivilized backside (wild-arse in non-legalese), isn't the quest to lessen and reduce the holes in the Swiss cheese aided by having as many smart and informed fliers in the conversation as possible? That'll be two cents, Canadian of course, svp.

Speed of Sound 14th Aug 2013 22:25

Yellow arrow shows where aircraft hit the pine trees.

http://i1280.photobucket.com/albums/...ps94666a0a.jpg

captjns 14th Aug 2013 22:25


I do offer a question of barometric altimeter setting and its possible leading to a low actual altitude.
We were discussing the same thing in our office. QNE in SDF was about 3009 and about 2996 in BHM at the time of the accident. Could lead to lower than indicated, and possible instrument error too.

Just theory if the altimeters were not reset to local station pressure during descent.

A4 14th Aug 2013 22:37

Apologies for asking what may be an obvious question to some. What does OTS actually stand for? I can understand OOS, U/S etc but OTS I'm not familiar with. I was going to ask in the Asian/SFO thread.

Murexway 14th Aug 2013 22:39


There's a fascinating - and IMO highly important dynamic in this thread: the notion of the "what ifs" staying within the context in which they were offered, versus the "waiters" who scorn or reject or look askance at speculation on an Internet message board - one with certain membership parameters to be sure and thus far from the free-for-all left to the hoi polloi, but a mere techno-water-cooler sans geography through which the talk is plentiful and cheap, or cheap and plentiful, depending on your point of view. Regarding those who speculate, maybe it is worth recalling that OF COURSE they know to wait for NTSB's Probable Cause findings analysis & recommendations - they're readin' & postin' here, so this is a given, already. By like measure regarding those who would prefer nothing be said here about possible causality factors, it is worth recalling that OF COURSE this Community wants to share information, in a form and format inconceivable not so long ago, and something good comes of it, even if it just teaches a lawyer or barrister that approach flying is highly complex and causality analysis depends on many many factors and there's isn't a Big Teacher with an answer key to check the NTSB's work. IOW, even if the guesses are uncivilized backside (wild-arse in non-legalese), isn't the quest to lessen and reduce the holes in the Swiss cheese aided by having as many smart and informed fliers in the conversation as possible? That'll be two cents, Canadian of course, svp.
Information is good. Idle, uninformed speculation just takes up space. I don't post here to educate lawyers.


Let's be careful about building fanciful theories or extrapolating the flight data based on FlightAware info. I've looked at several of my approaches that were normal and stable, but Flightaware showed a spike in the data that wasn't factual.

The finite data will be in the boxes. It won't take long before they release some preliminary data from the recorders just to appease the media. Once we get some of that, then we can build our scenarios on facts and not wild speculation.
+1

Lonewolf_50 14th Aug 2013 22:40

Isn't it a habit to get the altimeter from ATIS at your destination before you begin the approach? :confused: Regardless of the runway and approach active, the altimeter setting applies to the whole airport.

Airbubba 14th Aug 2013 22:44


We were discussing the same thing in our office. QNE in SDF was about 3009 and about 2996 in BHM at the time of the accident. Could lead to lower than indicated, and possible instrument error too
I think you mean QNH, not QNE in SDF and BHM.

If it was never reset to QNE (STD in the 'bus) after takeoff in SDF, they would inevitably get a call from ATC when leveling off in RVSM airspace enroute.

But, as you conjecture, if it was switched back out of standard and then never reset from the SDF QNH, the path guidance on an RNAV (GPS) approach would indeed lead to a point short of the runway.

lomapaseo 14th Aug 2013 22:47

Previous CFIT accidents have involved severe engine damage both while shredding through trees as well as a bounced impact with the ground where the engines take multiple impact damage before being tossed ahead of the aircraft.

This might be present where one engine is severely damaged while another engine shows little signs of rotating in the fan.

best not to jump to conclusions upon viewing the first couple of days photos.

Loose rivets 14th Aug 2013 22:56

This seems surprisingly low.




The plane was built in 2003 and had logged about 11,000 hours over 6,800 flights, Airbus said in a statement.

Orestes 14th Aug 2013 23:00

This screengrab is from the following web site:

2 killed in explosive UPS cargo plane crash in Birmingham, Alabama - NY Daily News

It looks like the fan was turning very slowly if turning at all on impact.....

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopo...pe_635/ups.jpg


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