Skip to comments.Ill-fated UPS jet was on autopilot seconds before crash
Posted on 08/17/2013 5:15:47 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - The UPS cargo jet that crashed in Alabama this week, killing its two crew members, was flying on autopilot until seconds before impact, even after an alert that it was descending too quickly, authorities said on Saturday
"The autopilot was engaged until the last second of recorded data," said Robert Sumwalt, a senior official with the National Transportation Safety Board.
(Excerpt) Read more at ca.news.yahoo.com ...
Sounds like the AP logic/math needs to be reviewed.
Problem: Test flight OK, except autoland very rough. Solution: Autoland not installed on this aircraft.
Problem: Something loose in cockpit. Solution: Something tightened in cockpit.
Problem: Dead bugs on windshield. Solution: Live bugs on backorder.
Problem: Number 3 engine missing. Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
Problem: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200-fpm descent. Solution: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
Problem: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. Solution: Evidence removed.
Problem: DME volume unbelievably loud. Solution: Volume set to more believable level.
Problem: Noise coming from #2 engine. Sounds like man with little hammer. Solution: Took little hammer away from man in #2 engine.
Problem: Whining noise coming from #2 engine compartment. Solution: Returned little hammer to man in #2 engine.
Problem: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick. Solution: Thats what they are there for!
Problem: IFF inoperative. Solution: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
Problem: Suspected crack in windscreen. Solution: Suspect youre right.
Problem: Aircraft handles funny. Solution: Aircraft warned to Straighten up, Fly right, and Be Serious.
Problem: Unfamiliar noise coming from #2 engine. Solution: Engine run for four hours. Noise now familiar.
Problem: Mouse in cockpit. Solution: Cat installed.
Don’t any of these ATR rates fly their approaches anymore?
There goes my "windshear" theory replaced with "autopilot engaged, pilots brain disengaged" theory. between this and asiana what's up with otherwise smart people making mind numbingly stupid mistakes with hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment (and peoples lives)?
That’s pretty funny. We’re you ever a maintenance Master Chief in a P-3 squadron??
Years ago, before the A-300 received its airworthiness approval one flew into the trees, on autopilot, at the end of a runway in France. Completely over flew the runway and the auto pilot would not relinquish controls to the pilots. That crash was also fatal. This sounds like AP software failure too.
Don’t think density altitude had anything to do with it. One report was the plane was on fire before it hit. DA deals with high elevations and high temps and humidity. Birmingham is at 600 feet.
Didn’t thing those things landed themselves.
It’s good to know exactly where the ground is when landing.
You would figure that
Pilots in the pointy end
Would pay attention.
‘Cause no matter what,
If there is an accident,
They will get there first.
The data recorder will tell a lot plus whatever the CVR will reveal.
It took 10 posts......disappointing.
The new 777s cockpits are so small, they were designed for only one pilot and a dog. The dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
Sooo sad when UPS jet goes DOWNS!
Now THAT is scary.
While both UPS and FedEx have increasingly purchased new aircraft, they also have a history of sometimes buying aircraft near the end of their life cycle. Some of the first aircraft that FedEx bought (727-100’s from LAN Chile and DC-10-10’s from the original Continental) were pretty exciting rides.
I wonder how old the A300 was. IIRC, UPS did not buy any A300s when they were in production.
That accident was an A-320- a totally different aircraft. The A-300 is not fly-by-wire like all subsequent Airbus aircraft.
It was an A320, not an A300.
The real problem was that the engines got too slow, the pilots were late in pushing the throttles up, and the engines couldn't be quickly accelerated to takeoff/climb power (think of trying to go uphill in a car with a manual transmission in third gear at 20 mph).
The flight controls generally behaved, by my reading of the story, in a fairly reasonable manner.
That was the A320 , not the A300.
The A320 is Fly-By-Wire not the A300, the FBW software glitch caused the crash in France.
Don't know but at this point of time I fly Asian airlines as a matter of course.
As with everything else America has ceded civil aviation to everyone but an American carrier..
I know a CAT-III approach it ain't, but cannot the FMC be setup for a profile decent(without glideslope)to the final approach fix(BASKN/4.7nm from MAP)...and on this(LOC RWY 18)approach IMTOY(1380/2NM from MAP)?
At 2nm out and final approach speed...what's that take...about 70-80 seconds?
Whats the rules for this approach?
I never trust auto pilot on final, things can happen too quickly.
I’ve seen the density altitude at Pensacola, FL calculated at 3000 feet. P’cola is on the Gulf... just a little above Sea Level.
Play around with this calculator to see for yourself.
I can hardly wait until Detroit sells us cars with AutoDrive!
AutoDrive by Google. Do not be worried.
It was 10 years old and relatively low hours, as is usual with cargo planes.
You would normally turn the A/P off with this type of landing, iirc.
No autoland at this airport. PAPI was determining the glide slope.
NTSB hasn’t found any aircraft faults so far.
Runway has GPS approach but it looks like the flight was using the Localizer approach and PAPI.
Thank you for posting those.I never tire of those.LOL
Yes indeed.Do you know the difference between a McCullough chainsaw and an A-300?
“Do you know the difference between a McCullough chainsaw and an A-300?”
One of them uses a chain to cut through trees....
(a) Selecting an RNAV (GPS) Non precision approach with a steeper non-standard angle of descent (3.24 degs inside the MDA)--
(b) To the shortest runway: RWY 18 is 7099' vs. RWY 24 is 10801'
(c) At a designated "special airport" (due to surrounding terrain)
(d) With high approach minimums 600' 1 & 1/2 miles
... and no approach lights!
(e) In the wee dark hours (crew duty period unknown)
(f) QUITE LIKELY: bending the rules (and below approach minimums!)
Now we know that the AFCS was engaged below the MDA (minimum descent altitude)
MUCH BETTER SET-UP FOR A BIG JET IN THE DARK HOURS OF THE MORNING...
(a) Select/request ILS RWY 24 --
Fully coupled-autopilot approach to an actual external ILS system --
(...instead of internal computer magic based on GPS data for RWY 18)...
(b)To the longest runway...nearly 11,000 long...
(c) Still a designated "special airport" -- and coupled approach minimums reflect those slightly higher minimums...
(d) Lower approach minimums: 300' and 3/4 mile
Added bonus... RWY 24 has a full approach light system
(RWY 18 does NOT HAVE approach lights... REIL only)
(e) RWY 24 ILS has a more common (shallow) glide slope angle for coupled approaches...
(f) For a fully coupled ILS approach -- autopilot use i approved all the way to approach minimums-- and for a missed approach... huge advantage.
The grizzled, chicken-neck, gravel-voiced captain leaned back to call for the approach checklist late one night...
... after a particularly thorough briefing for descent and instrument arrival into LAX
(nonstop from the east coast)
He said to the young flight engineer...
Son... if you wanna win every time...
....stack the deck in your favor...
When the young engineer passed thru the right seat for a few ears...
... and finally won his captain's stripes & scrambled eggs...
He used that advice on every flight...
Just my $.02...
Truly sorry these pilots died in the crash...
This will end up being pilot error. You don’t fly a functioning plane into the ground without it being pilot error.
These pilots died because the weather was NOT what it was reported to be!
Thought 06/24 was closed for maintenance, also thought they were using the LOC-18 app.(?) Still(unless I’ve got the date/times wrong)a FEDEX plane appeared to land shortly after(?)the crash... http://flightaware.com/live/flight/FDX1488/history/20130814/0854Z/KMEM/KBHM ...and looks like it used 06...so exactly how long was 06/24 down?
If you set up and fly any instrument approach....
And the (sudden or not) weather at minimums prevents visual acquisition of the runway environment and landing...
The published missed approach procedure or verbal missed approach instructions yield the next appropriate response from the flight crew.
(1) Fly the procedure as briefed... safely back into the sky...
(2) Hold as needed at a safe fix & altitude...
Get new weather... wait for better weather
(3) Select a precision approach with lower ceiling/visibility requirements -- as I suggested earlier...
(4) Proceed to an acceptable alternate airport and land SAFELY.
Any all of those listed options--correctly decided and flown...
... PREVENT these types of accidents.
The weather... including faulty weather reporting....
(If that is the case)...)
Should not deceive or induce a professional crew to make mistakes with these tragic results.
Just my (retired) professional opinion...
(24 years in the cockpit... major domestic carrier)
How would the pilots use what they see (PAPI), with autopilot and autothrottle? I've seen nothing yet about whether they were using GPS.
Don't know, but I think it's logical that they ceased maintenance and reopened the main runway after the crash.
I’m thinking when going into Missoula MT in summer, 104F 3200ft had to clear a pass to the south at 6,000+ - in a Cessna 152.
The longer runway was closed.
LOL. what bull crap! The wx wasn't flying the ac they were. At least until they were in proximity to the ground. This is like blaming ATC or tower for a crash. Last I looked, they don't have a set of pipes in either place. It is the Pilot's job to fly, all else is secondary. AVIATE is first, these guys didn't get it done.
I haven't seen the actual NOTAMS for that specific day & time...
The call for "missed approach" would have been appropriate ---
Get up... clean up...
Settle in at the holding fix...
or ask for vectors at a safe altitude---
Talk to the company dispatcher--
Get updated local weather...
Re-brief & try it again... same approach...
Proceed to alternate
Any of those options preferred pressing lower than MDA on a non-precision RNAV(GPS) LOC... or otherwise...
Under(somewhat)marginal VFR conditions, combined with a tricky approach(terrain)...why not allow both those aircraft to use the ILS...and either do the maintenance(runway center-line lights?)before or after their arrival?