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

flarepilot 14th Aug 2013 23:19

dear A4

OTS means OUT of Service.

tubby linton 14th Aug 2013 23:36

OK 465 I think that the UPS aircraft have the latest version of FMS fitted which will allow the flying of a Vnav path. The FCOM references .
The airbus mod required is 12454 ,12455 or later to be able to do this.

tubby linton 14th Aug 2013 23:45

According to the FCTM if the mod is fitted then it will fly a path. The sub -mode is known as Final Approach Function. FCTM ref is 2.32.72 p8. I think it was somebody at Honeywell who told me that UPS had it fitted.

ImbracableCrunk 15th Aug 2013 00:00

If you don't want to read rumors. . .
 

rumour US, rumor [ˈruːmə]n1.a. information, often a mixture of truth and untruth, passed around verbally
If you don't wan to read rumors, rumours, etc, then maybe you should go to a website that doesn't have RUMOUR in the name. Or simply wait for the NTSB's sunshine report.

Pilots (and people in general) cope with accidents by talking it out.

If you want a more facts-based website, go to AvHerald. Just don't read the Reader Comments.

PJ2 15th Aug 2013 00:03

tubby linton, perhaps slightly OT, but have you ever heard of the "Universal" FMS and if so have you heard of any problems with it? (I'm not saying that the UPS aircraft had this equipment on board, but the discussion points raising LNAV - VNAV caught my eye).

skyken 15th Aug 2013 00:05

Altimeter from Metars at the time
 
A2997 Altimeter from Metars at the time.

Murexway 15th Aug 2013 01:58


If you don't wan to read rumors, rumours, etc, then maybe you should go to a website that doesn't have RUMOUR in the name. Or simply wait for the NTSB's sunshine report.

Pilots (and people in general) cope with accidents by talking it out.

If you want a more facts-based website, go to AvHerald. Just don't read the Reader Comments.
The experienced-based comments, observations, suggestions, etc. on this website from actual, transport-category rated, commercial pilots are most informative and interesting, despite the "Rumor" name. But the number of posts from non-pilot aviation "entuhsiasts" make it much less interesting and more tedious to read. Perhaps you're right.... at least the AvHerald seems to have facts.

Thanks......

tdracer 15th Aug 2013 02:15


This seems surprisingly low.



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

I've noticed this with UPS 757 and 767 Freighters - hour/cycle count is roughly half what is normal for passenger operations (there are some late 1980/early 1990 built passenger 767s that have 100,000+ hours :eek:). They typically fly two flights per day - one to the UPS hub, one back to a destination airport (generally not the airport they came from).

BTW, regarding the witness report of engines "sputtering" - I've often heard surging engines described as "banging" or "backfiring", but never "sputtering". Reasonably sure the UPS A300-600 have PW4000/94" engines - pretty much the same as used on the 767, 747-400, and MD-11. Impressive reliability record (well below 1 shutdown per 100,000 hours), so independent engine failure is highly unlikely. It was still dark at the time, so a large bird strike is also unlikely (plus bird strike caused shutdowns are super rare on the PW4000 - fan damage and maybe a surge - but they usually recover and operate more or less normally for the remainder of the flight).

OTOH, not too many engines out there would deal well with a tree ingestion event :rolleyes:

physicus 15th Aug 2013 02:47

The apparent absence of rotational kinetic impact damage on the fan blades points at little to no power developed at impact. A late change of plans from 24 to a straight in 18 would have left them hot and high: close throttles, barndoors out, nose down, and by the time low energy became apparent, it was either too late due to preoccupation with some other issue, or a compressor surge (for whatever reason) prevented spooling up in time leading to the result at hand. Judging by the fire, fuel starvation appears unlikely.

lomapaseo 15th Aug 2013 03:19


The apparent absence of rotational kinetic impact damage on the fan blades points at little to no power developed at impact. A late change of plans from 24 to a straight in 18 would have left them hot and high: close throttles, barndoors out, nose down, and by the time low energy became apparent, it was either too late due to preoccupation with some other issue, or a compressor surge (for whatever reason) prevented spooling up in time leading to the result at hand. Judging by the fire, fuel starvation appears unlikely
not so fast :)

The engine could have creamed the rear-end (not the fan) when it hit the hill, tail first. All the picture shows so far is after the engine dislodged from the wing and flew a bit farther.

The folks on scene already know this answer even without the DFDR so I'm intent on listening for a clue in the next NTSB summary.

olasek 15th Aug 2013 03:30


the significant point is that the ‘altitude’ is not on the required glide path, which in an RNAV procedure might be confusing
There should be nothing confusing about this particular chart for someone who is a reasonable skilled IFR rated pilot, and even less so for an ATP with thousands of hours behind his belt.

ImbracableCrunk 15th Aug 2013 04:04


The experienced-based comments, observations, suggestions, etc. on this website from actual, transport-category rated, commercial pilots are most informative and interesting, despite the "Rumor" name. But the number of posts from non-pilot aviation "entuhsiasts" make it much less interesting and more tedious to read. Perhaps you're right.... at least the AvHerald seems to have facts.

Thanks......
Quite true. The double-edged sword of free speech. AvHerald for facts, PPrune for discussion.

Capn Bloggs 15th Aug 2013 04:14


Originally Posted by PEI 3721
The Jepp chart for the Loc18 approach does not have a cross reference to DME/ALT box as a LOC/DME approach would have.

Why on earth, in this day and age, don't the Americans have a distance/altitude scale on their NPA charts? It then doesn't matter what the steps are or what the FMS is doing, just get on, and stay on, the distance/altitude scale and you'll be safe.


Originally Posted by PEI 3721
The procedure altitude check appears to be at the FAF ‘BASKN’

Although I don't use FAA charts, it doesn't look to me like the Procedure Altitude is published here; the 2300 is merely a "not below" altitude. It would be interesting to see the Jepp chart for this approach, as it publishes the Procedure Altitude on the chart.


Originally Posted by Olasek
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.

Say what? 2600 an altitude "check"? "Better be not lower than 2600"?? It's a mandatory "not below" altitude and by my calculations happens to be fully 900ft below the "normal" profile for the RNAV approach.


Originally Posted by Olasek
There should be nothing confusing about this particular chart for someone who is a reasonable skilled IFR rated pilot, and even less so for an ATP with thousands of hours behind his belt.

So what profile would you use down final, or would you just "dive and drive"?

olasek 15th Aug 2013 04:20


not below" altitude and by my calculations happens to be fully 900ft below the "normal" profile for the RNAV approach.
There is no profile at BIDPE yet, as there is no profile at COLIG, profile doesn't start before FAF. You look at a straight line and the picture confuses you because this is just a drawing, it is out of scale and it is meant to be a shortcut. Also if you don't like "altitude check" (I didn't invent this term) you may call it step-down fix. Everybody familiar with IFR operations should know what step-down fix is.


So what profile would you use down final, or would you just "dive and drive"?
Dive& drive is a perfectly valid choice, it all depends on aircraft equipment.

BuzzBox 15th Aug 2013 04:38


Dive& drive is a perfectly valid choice, it all depends on aircraft equipment.
Oh boy, here we go again... :ugh:

Airbubba 15th Aug 2013 04:51


Dive& drive is a perfectly valid choice, it all depends on aircraft equipment.
That may be how they did it back in the old days with piston twin equipment but it is defintely not currently taught in widebody FMS aircraft from what I've seen.

Why not is explained in this FAA circular:

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...%20120-108.pdf

The whole idea of the RNAV (GPS) approach is not to dive and drive.

Capn Bloggs 15th Aug 2013 04:53


Originally Posted by olasek
There is no profile at BIDPE yet, as there is no profile at COLIG, profile doesn't start before FAF.

Well it should (and be published). You guys need to be dragged into the real world.

Airbubba 15th Aug 2013 05:25


Well it should (and be published). You guys need to be dragged into the real world.
Huh?

Step down fixes are not on the final profile path on many approaches. And even if they are, non-standard temperature can cause them to be above the extended profile. The feds have been harping on this in recent years, here is a discussion for ILS approaches, it is a similar situation for non-precision approaches with vertical path guidance:

FAA Releases Updated Guidance on Instrument Landing System Intercepts | NBAA - National Business Aviation Association

And here is the circular:
http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviat.../InFO11009.pdf

olasek 15th Aug 2013 05:26


The whole idea of the RNAV (GPS) approach is not to dive and drive.
Wrong, RNAV with VNAV, there is no VNAV in this approach. If aircraft has no equipment to help him with the vertical part then dive & drive is perfectly fine. Obviously this Airbus was supposed to fly it per airline's SOP but there may be a lowly GA aircraft flying behind it that will in fact do dive & drive - it still happens every day. I stick what I said - depending on the equipment and pilot's training, I refuse to view aviation through the prism of "big iron" only. If my G1000 box in my SR22 doesn't turn this particular approach into LNAV+V and provide me with "advisory" glide path then I am no better off then some steam gauges Cessna circa 1965 flying the same approach.


You guys need to be dragged into the real world.
Say what? What guys? Talk to the people who design approaches or kindly read some IFR textbook.:ugh:

Airbubba 15th Aug 2013 05:47


Wrong, RNAV with VNAV.
Uh, don't know if you know someone who has Jepps but chart 12-2 dated 2 MAR 12 is the RNAV (GPS) RWY 18 at BHM, presumably this is the chart the UPS crew was using. I doubt they would be using the LOC RWY 18 but I will concede that it is possible and legal. And, if they did do the LOC approach, they would normally have vertical path guidance from the FMS.


I refuse to view aviation through the prism of "big iron" only.
I'm not trying to be pedantic, I realize you perhaps don't fly large aircraft for a living.

The only aircraft smaller than the A300 that UPS operates is the B-757 so I guess in that sense you could call it a light twin. But somehow I don't think they would be doing a dive and drive in a widebody in 2013.

olasek 15th Aug 2013 05:53


But somehow I don't think they would be doing a dive and drive in a widebody in 2013.
I can agree with this.

My only point was that there is nothing on this particular RNAV approach chart that gives you a glide slope, this is not LNAV/VNAV nor is it LPV both of which would give you a slope.

ironbutt57 15th Aug 2013 05:59

Many approaches that don't have VNAV/LNAV minimums published, are still encoded in the database....however in FBW bus...(dont know about the A300) it is prohibited to fly these in Final Approach mode...looking at the approach chart posted on Avherald, it sure is a less than optimally designed approach especially if flying the transition from TDG VOR

Airbubba 15th Aug 2013 06:12


My point was that there is nothing on this particular RNAV approach chart that gives you a glide slope, this is not LNAV/VNAV nor is it LPV both of which would give you a slope.
So, are you claiming there is no vertical path guidance on an RNAV (GPS) approach? In my experience, you do have vertical path guidance on an RNAV (GPS) approach in an FMS widebody like the UPS A300. The gotcha is that the aircraft knows where it is horizontally but depends on altimetry to generate the vertical path since the GPS doesn't do vertical position well without something like WAAS correction as in the LPV approach which you mention. Hence the RNAV (GPS) is still a non-precision approach.

Do you see that [3.24°] notation on the planview chart? Are you familiar with a D-DA?

olasek 15th Aug 2013 06:29

Again, you keep referring to "FMS widebody" and I am talking about this approach in general with no particular equipment in mind, clearly there are differences between just LNAV like this one and full LNAV/VNAV, too bad this runway doesn't have it yet. Yeah, I know many FMSs can handle constant angle descents but unfortunately my SR22 can't do it but instead can do LPV which most "widebodies" can't :}. But my G1000 can turn a given LNAV into LNAV+V and give me this desirable glide slope but it ain't guaranteed.

slowto280 15th Aug 2013 06:55

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

Overnight Cargo - 52 weeks x 5 days x 2 legs a night x 10 years = 5,200
With the short legs these airplanes fly, just about right.

Short leg passenger operation - completely different story.

So sad for these guys and families of - just another day at work - enjoying (even loving...) what you do and getting a darn good paycheck for doing it - then in an instant - finished. Crap! :ugh:

SMT Member 15th Aug 2013 07:34


This seems surprisingly low.
Not for a freighter, particularly not one bought brand new by an integrator. Keep in mind the nature of their business, which is limited to operating as little as 2 sectors a day. It is ops normal for integrators to have their aircraft standing around all day, and only operate for a handful of hours during the night.

Tscottme 15th Aug 2013 07:43

Kengineer wrote

Sky news report has a witness saying it was on fire before impact? li battery's again??....
Remember the Avianca 707 that ate it near NYC some years ago. The crew ran it out of fuel. There was no post-impact fire. The media and witnesses still reported witnesses as seeing fire before impact.

fatbus 15th Aug 2013 07:52

Was there any distress call prior to? What kind of approach were they doing?Wx seemed ok. Wait to hear the initial findings before coming up with ANY theory . We were not there!

ironbutt57 15th Aug 2013 08:16

witnesses ALWAYS see a fire before impact...might have been on fire before it hit the hill, as it did impact trees and power lines prior to hitting a hill...LiOn battery fire would have probably generated a Mayday call....who's to know, anyway be sure the FDR and CVR will bear witness to what happened...

Loose rivets 15th Aug 2013 08:58


SMT: . . . which is limited to operating as little as 2 sectors a day. It is ops normal for integrators to have their aircraft standing around all day, and only operate for a handful of hours during the night.

Incredible how it can be made to pay. In the early days of Britannia's 737 operation, a Texas Boeing salesman told me they had the highest utilization in the world - some 19.something per 24. I found that incredible in the opposite direction.

Low utilization seems to imply there might be a lot of pressure to get those packages accepted and on their way. Why am I getting a bad feeling about this? Not the tragic loss of this one, but for a basic principals. Sitting on the flight-deck watching the night activities in freight hubs is a real eye-opener.

DaveReidUK 15th Aug 2013 09:23

Staggeringly unhelpful graphic published by FlightAware (who really should know better) purporting to show the final radar plot of the aircraft's position amid the KC-135 tankers on the 106th ARW's ramp, just to the NW of runway 06/24 :ugh:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BRn-43rCYAAr1ig.jpg:large

Capn Bloggs 15th Aug 2013 09:24


Originally Posted by Airbubba
Step down fixes are not on the final profile path on many approaches. And even if they are, non-standard temperature can cause them to be above the extended profile. The feds have been harping on this in recent years, here is a discussion for ILS approaches, it is a similar situation for non-precision approaches with vertical path guidance:

I really don't think this is the issue, in relation to the publication of a distance/altitude scale for an NPA. From my reading of the links you posted, any step-down fix is related to altitudes, so the temperature would be irrelevant, as all aircraft that were affected by the fix (those on hte approahc and those crossing under or over) would all be affected identically. The issue in the articles was the physical location of the glidepath verses the changing altitude of that glidepath due to temperature. That is irrelevant to an NPA.

I can see no technical reason why a distance/altitude profile could not be published for this and other NPAs, as they are in other parts of the world:

http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/...ASVO01-135.pdf


Originally Posted by olasek
Yeah, I know many FMSs can handle constant angle descents but unfortunately my SR22 can't do it but instead can do LPV which most "widebodies" can't . But my G1000 can turn a given LNAV into LNAV+V and give me this desirable glide slope but it ain't guaranteed.

Yes this is not an LPV, so mention of it is irrelevant, and you are correct, real FMS can do VNAV on an NPA. But for those who don't/can't, a distance/altitude scale is the next best thing; I'm talking about "big iron" here. You are free to do what you like in your bugsmasher. Dive and drive to your heart's content; you're going slow enough not to hurt anyone (if you do it'll probably only be you and your few pax) and you don't have any stabilised approach pressures of sink rate and slope.

bugg smasher 15th Aug 2013 10:05


You are free to do what you like in your bugsmasher
I beg your pardon? You are starting to sound like my wife...

FIRESYSOK 15th Aug 2013 10:09

I would think most airlines are using constant-rate descents on non-precision approaches. Most charts in the US have a ROD table based on ground speed whereby you figure an initial descent rate and modify it if g/s changes or a restriction will not be met, using the VNAV information for advisory. (Don't get me wrong, this can be tricky)

Adding 50' to the MDA, you would miss the approach if you were either not in a position to land stably, or you simply did not see the requisite lights or runway environ. Some airlines call it "CANPA". Constant-Angle NPA.

It works rather well in practice. I can't see doing a dive and drive method in this day and age, but I do not know what UPS does or did.

Capn Bloggs 15th Aug 2013 10:22


Originally Posted by Bugg smasher
I beg your pardon? You are starting to sound like my wife...

Sorry Bugg, you're probably on Prune to keep away from her!


Originally Posted by FIRESYSOK
Most charts in the US have a ROD table based on ground speed whereby you figure an initial descent rate and modify it if g/s changes or a restriction will not be met, using the VNAV information for advisory. (Don't get me wrong, this can be tricky)

Correct. It's difficult to judge what's going to happen in a couple of miles if the ROD is not quite right. Sure, you can "bounce" off the steps but equally, if you get high, you're just as likely to not get to the MDA before the 3° cutoff. That's the beauty of an altitude distance scale: get on it, stay on it and provided you don't bust the minima, you'll never kill yourself or your pax and give yourself the best chance of getting in (50ft problem not withstanding).

737er 15th Aug 2013 10:31

Yes sir. In the US dive and drive is all but extinct for 121 carriers. Typical is to add 50' to the MDA and treat that new altitude as a DA. Calculate a vertical speed to use from the FAF and make small adjustments to V/S as necessary for the proper path and step downs if applicable. Much much better. Works great.

FR8R H8R 15th Aug 2013 10:35

Dive and Drive
 
In the US, dive and drive was the preferred method of NPA. That said, I have no idea how UPS operates their NPA and will not try to speculate.

There is no proper VNAV on the A306 and the profile mode is generally not reliable enough to use for more than the initial stepdown in an arrival. Any changes and it goes tango uniform. It is certainly not a FBW modern airbus.

Has anyone ever seen an aircraft crash that didn't include Cletus and Maude talking about "backfiring engines", abnormal configurations and "explosions and fire" prior to impact? How many times has a witness actually said "it all looked normal"? And how many people were up before dawn watching UPS land? :ugh:

JimField 15th Aug 2013 11:03

Good analysis of UPS 1354 accident
 
Like their Asiana 214 analysis, Sooeet did a new analysis for UPS 1354, including nice plots of position and airspeed. It's darned good, check it out:

What Happened to UPS Flight 1354 - Analysis by Sooeet.com

Speed of Sound 15th Aug 2013 11:43

So far there have been no reports of anyone hearing engines spooling up.

If they were doing 190KTS less than 1 nm out, the fact that no go around was attempted (or was successful) suggests that they were dealing with problems other than simply a 'messed up' approach.

VinRouge 15th Aug 2013 11:49

why not wait till the preliminary comes out? the engines could just as likely have been at idle.

pointless speculating either way, the NTSB will get the report out as soon as they can.

best we can hope for that the FAA will get a move on in changing their rediculous FTL's in the USA.


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