• NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.
  • Logbook Pro for Apple iOS version 8.1 is now available on the App Store. Major update including signature endorsements and dark/light theme support. Click here to install now.

Good MD-10 Article

Huck

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Posts
1,076
Total Time
11,000
FedEx Burns Another
Safety Lessons from the Latest Accident of a FedEx Aircraft
Air Safety Week 08/07/2006


It's been an article of faith among multi-engine pilots that if you
drive your bird in a little hard, forget to flare or kick off the drift,
then all that will happen is that touchdown will feel significantly
different, a few fuel-tank seams might weep tears of fuel, and the
engineers might rib you for causing them extra work.

Of course, you will have admitted your sins to them, written up the bird
and waited anxiously while they carry out a heavy landing inspection.
That check will progressively indicate, item by item, whether you've
permanently bent anything, or whether they need to check more deeply
because of what they've found. Most of the time, you will not have bent
anything and the procedure is quite perfunctory. It could happen that
you've bottomed out the oleos and witness-marked an indicator. Rarely
will a heavy landing blow or even scrub a tire, let alone damage the
gear or airframe.

After the latest FedEx MD-10 burning on runway 18R at Memphis, Tennessee
on July 30, the company's pilots might be forgiven for surrendering up
the above article of faith. In fact, they may be pondering why their
"Mad Dogs" are so lame that their legs collapse at will. FedEx pilots
are made of sterner stuff, so they will just take it on the chin and
polish their landing techniques, making sure to properly adrenalize
before each and every landing. "Failure is not an option" I seem to
recall someone famous saying, while baying at the moon. Evidently the
Mad Dogs 10 and 11 never got that message. They appear to be
particularly weak-kneed.

It Seldom Happens In the latest accident, the left landing gear failed
on the airplane during landing, sending sparks into dry grass beside the
runway that ignited a fire. Three people on board used an emergency
landing chute on the right side of the plane to safely escape, avoiding
the burning engine on the other side. Fire crews responded quickly and
doused the fire with foam, containing it to the engine area and
preventing it from spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The plane,
identified as FedEx Flight 630, had departed from Seattle, Washington.
Les Dorr, an FAA official in Washington D.C., said landing gear failure
is a rare occurrence. "A landing gear collapse on a large transport-type
aircraft is a pretty rare event," Dorr said. "It seldom happens."

The MD-10 was a valiant attempt by FedEx/MD (and then MD's takeover
merchant Boeing) to use up the remaining life in the plentiful old DC-10
airframes by upgrading the cockpit to an MD-11 style two-man standard,
simultaneously rewiring and freighter-converting it. Like the two-man
MD-11F operation, it promised to be a very economical long-haul
freighter. The DC-10-10 had a Max Gross Weight increase to 446,000lbs
and the DC-10-30 to a massive 580,000lbs in the Series 30 MD-10. That
boost in cargo-carrying capability required "structural changes".

The Advanced Common Flight Deck was intended to allow FedEx pilots to
operate either the MD-10 or MD-11 interchangeably, for maximum
scheduling efficiencies. However, when the FedEx pilots got their hands
on the MD-10, they protested vociferously. They considered that there
were sufficient dissimilarities as to make any dual qualification
unsafe. Unlike the 757/767 and the A340/A330 combos, the MD-10/MD-11
basic designs and handling qualities were of two entirely different
eras. The company didn't agree and the FAA and Boeing backed FedEx, so
the pilots got to operate both. One wonders whether the Flight
Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program has since disclosed any
lingering safety interludes for those who fly both, interchangeably.
FOQA regularly checks data-recorders for any pilot handling quirks that
would be better if they were ironed out with counseling or added
training. One could also speculate as to whether any such handling
difficulties, particularly the touchdown, might have carried over into
longer term aircraft fatigue damage. The MD-11 has had to undergo a
number of flight-control software patches in an attempt to cure it of
some of its near-the-ground vices. It is reportedly very unforgiving of
a one gear first hard touchdown, as the pilot of a Mandarin Airlines
passenger flight found on his arrival in Hong Kong on the night of Aug.
22, 1999.

Turning Turtle That aircraft lost its right gear and wing, inverted and
caught fire, killing 3 passengers.

The pilot had disconnected the autopilot but left the autothrottle
engaged, which failed to compensate for the gusting crosswind. An
amateur video showed the aircraft's quite normal approach in turbulent
conditions, followed by a high-rate descent beginning at around 50 ft RA
(radar altimeter). Wind-shear had caused a sudden loss of around 20kts
and the autothrottle failed to respond. That was the height it was
software-scheduled to throttle-close for the flare (or landing
round-out).

Near to max landing weight, and in an unremarkable less than 4 degree
right wing down attitude (for the crosswind), the aircraft hit with a
high rate of descent. This allowed the RH oleo to bottom out, the #3
engine to touch the runway and break off, taking the RH wing with it.
Looking at the relative positions of the wing-gear and the engines
(further outboard), it's not surprising that the weight of the engine
should allow its downward inertia to lever the wing off above the gear
in a hard touchdown.

It's this lack of robustness that gives the MD-11/MD-10 its undoubtedly
unique characteristic, for a wide-body, of being able to shed a wing and
achieve an inverted attitude on the ground. Other MD-11 pilots expressed
surprise that an experienced MD-11 driver would have left the
autothrottle engaged in these conditions. Most had found that the
programmed throttle closure in the flare could often, as in this case,
prove to be the opposite of what conditions (particularly rapid onset
wind gusts) demanded. The only other available solution for arresting a
high-rate descent near the ground is backstick. Unfortunately in the
MD-11, that means an automatic hard tailstrike and a million dollar
damage bill. Pilots are taught to freeze the pitch attitude and "fly
out" of any high rate descent near the flare with added power. That
might kill the speed bleed and extend the landing roll but it precludes
the tailstrike. In the Mandarin case, with a nasty wind-shear, the
throttles auto-closing at just the wrong moment and the pilot
pre-programmed NOT to use backstick, the accident deal was already
closed.

On Dec. 21, 1992 a Martinair DC-10 PH-MBN touched down hard in gusty
conditions at Faro, Portugal. It was again a right gear first touchdown
-- and the wing separated. On July 31, 1997, a FedEx MD-11F touched down
hard at Newark, New Jersey with a 500 ft/min descent rate and a slight
right bank. The right wing-spar broke and the aircraft ended up on its
back, burning. The finding was that the landing was over-controlled and
a go-round should have been carried out. On Dec. 18, 2003 it happened
again, to an MD-10 at Memphis on runway 36R, after a quite stable
approach. A young F/O never quite got the drift off and touched down
firmly on the right gear with a very slightly banked attitude. The RH
gear collapsed and the aircraft burnt out. The NTSB faulted the pilot
and the flight captain, who was also a check and training pilot. The
company changed its training regimen after that accident.

The common denominator for the generic DC-10 and its spawned sub-types
would seem to be an underbuilt wing that allows a coupled engine
inertia/main-gear response to break the wing or gear-mounts, in any
slightly wing-down, harder than normal arrival. When combined with the
aircraft's heightened pitch sensitivity and the
MD-10-10/MD-10-30/MD-11F's quirky differences, it would seem that a
FedEx pilot goes frequently in harm's way and must work harder than most
to "keep it all together."
 

Occam's Razor

Risible...ALWAYS risible
Joined
Jun 28, 2005
Posts
2,551
Total Time
16K+
NWA has operated DC-10-30/40's for decades without flipping or cooking one. I performed a few "firm" landings in them myself.

Is there that much difference in the operations and mx?

I'm not trying to start a flame-war here. I'm just wondering about the disparity.
 

AceCrackshot

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Posts
380
Total Time
4500
Just don't say anything about FedEx, or you'll be subjected to a Malther1 rant.
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
Occam's Razor said:
Is there that much difference in the operations and mx?

Yes, an MD-10 is not a DC-10...nor is it an MD-11, but it's close enough for the FAA.

And to think, I didn't bid the Bus 'cause I throught it was dangerous.
 

Huck

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Posts
1,076
Total Time
11,000
I've flown the DC-10, the MD-10 and the MD-11.

All are fine aircraft, and all fly well.

But all are different! No matter what they tell you during that Bataan death-march of a training program.
 

Occam's Razor

Risible...ALWAYS risible
Joined
Jun 28, 2005
Posts
2,551
Total Time
16K+
'Kay...the DC-10 and MD-10 are "different". Seems FDX has boogered-up a few DC-10's too.

NWA has boogered-up zero, while operating them for a longer period of time.

Are the differences between the aircraft (DC-10, MD-10, MD-11) enough to cause problems for crews that jump between them?

Since NWA operates them extensively at night (to Europe and Asia), I don't think FDX's backside-of-the-clock ops should result in the slanted mishap record.
 

Huck

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Posts
1,076
Total Time
11,000
Seems FDX has boogered-up a few DC-10's too.

Lost one when undeclared hazmat caught fire in flight. That's it....

And, since you asked, I think the MD10/MD11 differences in landing are a problem. What happens is, folks fly 6 months or a year in one, then get called out for a trip in the other. It's not an insurmountable problem - but it sure ain't ignorable, either. Not now.
 

skiandsurf

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Posts
1,066
Total Time
--
When I am taxiing out and see a FedEx plane on final, I start looking for the firetrucks. I prepare myself for a lengthy delay.

If they were a passenger carrier, the FAA would have shut them down.


EWR.....mid 90s. DC10 or MD11 flips over on landing.
Kuala lumper (sp)...few years ago. DC10 or MD11, lands long and goes in the water.
FLL...few years ago. 727 lands short and crashes. Glideslope out of service, wasnt caught on the ATIS.
MEM...few years ago. DC10 or MD11 lands hard on landing. Burns up.

was there another on Juy 30th? scarey.
 

Huck

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Posts
1,076
Total Time
11,000
Subic Bay, not KL

TLH, not FLL. There was no ILS on that runway.

And man I dig this:
lands hard on landing.
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
Occam's Razor said:
'Kay...the DC-10 and MD-10 are "different". Seems FDX has boogered-up a few DC-10's too.

NWA has boogered-up zero, while operating them for a longer period of time.

Are the differences between the aircraft (DC-10, MD-10, MD-11) enough to cause problems for crews that jump between them?

Since NWA operates them extensively at night (to Europe and Asia), I don't think FDX's backside-of-the-clock ops should result in the slanted mishap record.

Dude, I don't know what your problem with us is...but this article is mostly about design flaw and structural integrity issues. It specificly points to how minor deviations made by the pilot should not have resulted in such an outcome.

Please expand on all of our DC-10 accidents, I'm tired and can't remember any of the details.

I'm sorry if we didn't hire you, one of us boned your wife, or we lost your package.

If it makes you happy-- "Northwest has the best pilots and I could only wish to stand in their shadow some day"...better?

Oh yeah, since you're Occam's Razor, then what would Occam's Razor say about multiple gear collapses in an airframe? Most obvious answer? That's right, there is a gear problem.
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
skiandsurf said:
lands hard on landing. .

Please allow myself to introduce myself.

Nobody wants this problem fixed more than the pilots here, it's a matter of convincing the company that having multiple maintenance/design related mishaps is a reason to change things a little bit. Seems that their answer is always more training...yeah, that helps.
 

skiandsurf

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Posts
1,066
Total Time
--
Huck said:
Subic Bay, not KL

TLH, not FLL. There was no ILS on that runway.

And man I dig this:

Sorry, my computer is acting up and it is hard to type.

So you dont deny these accidents happened. That is good. But was there really one last week in MEM runway 18R.

I also didnt mention the DC10 that burned to the ground in Stewart Newburgh, I think the cargo caught fire in flight. The crew did save that one. And I didnt mention the "hijacked" DC10 that was totaled. Surely, wasnt the crews fault, but a total hull loss none the less.

Those two were accidents, but again, did you bend one last month?
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
skiandsurf said:
Sorry, my computer is acting up and it is hard to type.

And that causes you to type FLL instead of TLH

skiandsurf said:
So you dont deny these accidents happened.

What is this, cross-examination?

skiandsurf said:
That is good. But was there really one last week in MEM runway 18R.

I also didnt mention the DC10 that burned to the ground in Stewart Newburgh, I think the cargo caught fire in flight. The crew did save that one. And I didnt mention the "hijacked" DC10 that was totaled. Surely, wasnt the crews fault, but a total hull loss none the less.

Those two were accidents, but again, did you bend one last month?

OK, you lost me on your point.

I don't think anyone here has ever denied whether or not a mishap had taken place. Of course, as always, the causal factors are disputable. The point of this thread, I think, is to highlight an article that points out that it might not be all the pilots fault every time. There might be an underlying design or maint problem that contributes to this happening.

You should welcome and embrace this string of thinking, because it is hard to come by now. Everybody wants to blame us, all the time, because it is the easiest, cheapest and gives everyone else peace or mind.
 

skiandsurf

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Posts
1,066
Total Time
--
skiandsurf said:
but again, did you bend one last month?

Since you wont answer the question, I will assume it is true. Again, very scarey and dangerous.
 

skiandsurf

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2006
Posts
1,066
Total Time
--
skiandsurf said:
Since you wont answer the question, I will assume it is true. Again, very scarey and dangerous.

I did a little research......
This is a quote from a newspaper......


"Friday's accident was second in as many days to befall the company.
On Thursday, a FedEx 727 cargo plane went off an airport runway in Louisville, Ky., after the pilot aborted takeoff. Friday's accident also marked the 12th incident at Memphis International Airport involving a FedEx aircraft since 1994, according to records at the NTSB."
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
skiandsurf said:
Since you wont answer the question, I will assume it is true. Again, very scarey and dangerous.

Won't answer what question? It's in the stinkin article, bone head. In fact, that's what this whole freakin' discussion is about. Try and keep up with the adults here.

Scary and dangerous? Maybe. It's my a$$, not yours.
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
skiandsurf said:
I did a little research......
This is a quote from a newspaper......


"Friday's accident was second in as many days to befall the company.
On Thursday, a FedEx 727 cargo plane went off an airport runway in Louisville, Ky., after the pilot aborted takeoff. Friday's accident also marked the 12th incident at Memphis International Airport involving a FedEx aircraft since 1994, according to records at the NTSB."

You didn't have to go any further than http://forums.flightinfo.com/showthread.php?t=83320

Oh yeah, that one was mechanical failure too. Crew's back flying already, so I'm told.
 

Whistlin' Dan

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Posts
460
Total Time
Lots
Purpled said:
...this article is mostly about design flaw and structural integrity issues. It specificly points to how minor deviations made by the pilot should not have resulted in such an outcome.
That's where it lost it's credibility with me. According to the article, the "young F/O never quite got the drift out" and "touched down firmly"

They made it sound like it happened all the time.

Whether an actual "landing" occured or not is debatable. What is certain is that the initial touchdown happened at a vertical speed of 750/870 FPM...far in excess of the design limits, and "firm" enough to rip an otherwise servicable MLG strut the size of a tree-trunk out of the wing.

Touching down at -800 FPM might constitute (to use your words) a "minor deviation" at some companies, but at most it would be cause for a meeting with somebody from management and some time in the sim. Assuming that you are correct, and that the problem is somehow related to the airframe and not to the pilots or the training they receive, to what would you attribute the fact that only one carrier seems to be having these accidents?

This whole discussion reminds me of the day my step-daughters boyfriend totaled her Toyota. He had received several tickets for speeding in the car, but that's not what caused the accident. Nope...according to him, he was going around a corner at the normal speed, when due to some mysterious, unidentified problem both the steering AND the brakes "went out at the same time" causing him to jump a curb and take out several parked cars. I'm still waiting for Toyota to issue an emergency recall of that model...
 

Purpled

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Posts
258
Total Time
2500
Whistlin' Dan said:
Whether an actual "landing" occured or not is debatable. What is certain is that the initial touchdown happened at a vertical speed of 750/870 FPM...far in excess of the design limits, and "firm" enough to rip an otherwise servicable MLG strut the size of a tree-trunk out of the wing. ...

It's late, so perhaps my eyes are failing me, but I don't see 800 fpm in the article. There is a mention of 500fpm, firm but well within structural limits (at least once). There is also mention of a hard touchdown due to windshear, but I don't see a number associated with it.

Whistlin' Dan said:
Touching down at -800 FPM might constitute (to use your words) a "minor deviation" at some companies, but at most it would be cause for a meeting with somebody from management and some time in the sim....

I never said 800fpm was a 'minor deviation.' Keep your words in your male-pleaser.

Whistlin' Dan said:
Assuming that you are correct, and that the problem is somehow related to the airframe and not to the pilots or the training they receive, to what would you attribute the fact that only one carrier seems to be having these accidents? ...

We are the only carrier flying MD-10s; and they are quite different, as the article points out, than the DC-10.

We are not the only carrier who has had MD-11 problems, see the China Air similarities to Newark.

Whistlin' Dan said:
This whole discussion reminds me of the day my step-daughters boyfriend totaled her Toyota. He had received several tickets for speeding in the car, but that's not what caused the accident. Nope...according to him, he was going around a corner at the normal speed, when due to some mysterious, unidentified problem both the steering AND the brakes "went out at the same time" causing him to jump a curb and take out several parked cars. I'm still waiting for Toyota to issue an emergency recall of that model...

Well, if those were the 'facts' of the accident then his history had nothing to do with the accident. Perhaps he isn't a good insurance risk, but if he were traveling at normal speed and the auto failed then the auto failed.

Fortunately, in aircraft, we can recover the data and will eventually find out what happened. If it turns out to be a hard landing, then it does; but if there wasn't one, then what do you propose the problem is?

Personally, I do think there is a training problem here at purple. Too much of it and not focused on the right areas. Add to this the differences that Huck pointed out earlier and you could certainly see why a mishap might occur...but probably not this many of the same type in the same airframe.
 
Top