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Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 down in Riyadh

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Mmmm-kay...maybe "nice job on walking away from bad landing"...bad landing being defined as one where you can't use the airplane again.

Standing by for the usual ominous and alarmist rantings regarding the MD11...especially from the folks that have spent more time on the internet than in an actual MD11 cockpit. I feel a nap coming on.
The Germans already know!

Don't wanna point the finger etc. but the German news media already reported the cause of the accident. It was due to a burst tire on landing. No kidding! Seems to me the Germans are looking for an excuse like they blamed Airbus' manuals for the bad x-wind landing in HAM two years ago...
Aircraft was on fire in flight. Evidence was the smoke trailing behind it.
Fire fighters responded in less than a minute.

Pilots did a great job saving their lives.

Lufthansa is trying to covering up the accident because of the cargo on board!!!!!!!!!!!
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Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 Crash Raises Issues

Jul 30, 2010
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By Jens Flottau
MD-11F operators may have to confront an uncomfortable truth, namely that the cargo aircraft, for all its cost and payload virtues, is so difficult to land that safety could be compromised.
The July 27 crash of a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 as it attempted to land at King Khaled International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is just the latest such mishap to trigger alarms and questions of how airlines should deal with what is arguably one of the most challenging commercial aircraft to fly, including how to keep pilots sufficiently proficient to handle non-routine situations.
The MD-11, registered as D-ALCQ, touched down hard onto Riyadh’s Runway 33L at 11:38 a.m. local time, on the first leg of its Frankfurt/Riyadh/Sharjah, United Arab Emirates/Hong Kong-scheduled run. The aircraft came to a halt to the left of the runway and was severely damaged. The rear fuselage broke up and flames destroyed much of the upper half as well as all of the 80 tons of cargo. The two pilots—the 39-year-old captain and 29-year-old first officer—managed to escape via emergency slides; both are hospitalized with injuries.
According to airline sources, there were no hints of a malfunction, or even of an onboard fire, prior to landing. This contradicts earlier reports attributed to Saudi air traffic control officials, who said that the crew had declared an emergency just before touchdown and that the aircraft was trailing smoke even before landing, forcing them to land as quickly as possible. The key question is: Did the hard landing occur as a result of an emergency in which the crew intentionally focused on landing as quickly as possible, regardless of possible structural damage to the aircraft, or did a routine landing go wrong?
Circumstantial evidence and an initial evaluation of the damage suggest that the crash of Lufthansa Flight 8460 may turn out to be linked to pilot error, although it is too early to confirm the theory. The first officer is understood to have been at the controls. Lufthansa Cargo did not reveal how many flight hours he had logged on this type of aircraft, but in the Lufthansa system, first officers start their careers in narrowbodies such as the Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 before being promoted to widebody types—suggesting that he had a limited number of hours on the MD-11.
Airline sources tell Aviation Week that while the main landing gear remained intact during the landing, the front gear was destroyed. The failed rear fuselage structure is seen as another indicator of a violent impact. The pilots’ injuries also hint at the strong forces that crew and aircraft structure were exposed to, possibly when the nose wheel impacted the ground.
If that theory is confirmed during the investigation, metal scratching along the runway could be identified as an ignition source.
The MD-11 is considered to be one of the most difficult aircraft to land, and carriers such as Lufthansa Cargo and Federal Express have introduced special training to familarize pilots with the aircraft’s particularities. The aircraft, a heavier stretch of the DC-10, retained almost identical wing dimensions, and this significantly increased loads and approach and takeoff speeds. The MD-11’s center of gravity is also much further aft than on other commercial aircraft, leading it to fly in relaxed stability mode. The main reason for that type of layout was to improve fuel efficiency and reduce drag in cruise, but it comes at the cost of a major reduction in margins for error, particularly in takeoff and landing phases.
“It is a very challenging aircraft, we have to train more than on other types,” Fokko Doyen, Lufthansa Cargo’s chief pilot, told Aviation Week last year. As part of the operating procedures and because of the high approach speeds of typically up to 160 kt., Lufthansa Cargo urges its pilots to focus on an early touchdown, within the first 1,000-3,000 ft. of the runway. If they miss that, internal operating procedures encourage them to initiate a go-around sooner rather than later. But given that Riyadh’s Runway 33L, at 13,796‑ft., is one of the longest in the Luft­hansa Cargo network, the pressure to touch down early should have been less intense than at other airports.
In spite of additional training for pilots, the MD-11 has been involved in a number of serious landing accidents and incidents. In fact, another Lufthansa Cargo MD-11, registered D‑ALCO, was significantly damaged after a violent landing in Mexico City on Sept. 13, 2009. Post-flight inspections revealed wrinkles in the fuselage, but the aircraft was repaired and is back in service. Other landing accidents include the March 2009 crash of a FedEx MD-11 at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport in which the two pilots were killed after the aircraft bounced upward following the first impact with the runway, then dropped on the nose gear and quickly rolled upside down, catching fire in the process.
In August 1999, a China Airlines MD‑11 was destroyed during the landing at Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok airport that involved a very hard touchdown. A FedEx MD-11 was also destroyed in July 1997 after a bounced landing at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport.
Lufthansa’s D-ALCQ was first delivered to Alitalia in 1993 and converted to freighter in 2004 when it was bought by Lufthansa Cargo. The aircraft had accumulated 10,073 cycles and 73,200 flight hours. Its last C-check was undertaken in June 2009. Lufthansa Cargo sent a team of more than 30 to Riyadh to assist the safety authorities in the investigation.
The accident could accelerate an internal discussion about the MD-11s possible replacement. The fleet is 9-18 years old. Industry sources say a decision to order a new type could come sooner rather than later with the Boeing 777F as the front-runner. With Lufthansa as a launch customer of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, the 747-8F could also be a serious option, although that aircraft has far more payload capabilities than the MD-11 and might turn out to be too big.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Landov
The MD-11’s center of gravity is also much further aft than on other commercial aircraft, leading it to fly in relaxed stability mode.

Except during takeoff and landing, when the cg is shifted back forward.....

From FlightInternational:

Crashed MD-11F bounced heavily during Riyadh landing
By David Kaminski-Morrow

German investigators have disclosed that the Lufthansa Cargo Boeing MD-11 freighter which crashed and burned on landing in Riyadh made three heavy contacts with the runway.

It hit runway 33L with a vertical impact of about 2g, says the German investigation agency BFU, before lifting off again. This was followed by a second contact of 3g and another at 4.3g before the tail structure behind the main landing-gear failed.

The MD-11F veered off the left side of the runway about 2,400m (7,900ft) after the initial touchdown and careered for a further 375m in the sand before coming to a halt.

Two pilots were the only occupants of the tri-jet. One of them was seriously injured, the other only lightly.

Lufthansa Cargo's flight LH8460 had been arriving after a flight from Frankfurt, with 80t of cargo on board, when the accident occurred on 27 July.

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