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Ill-fated UPS jet was on autopilot seconds before crash
Yahoo ^ | 08/17/13 | Verma Gates

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 ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aircraftaccident; awos; contributingfactor; ntsb; planecrash; ups
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1 posted on 08/17/2013 5:15:47 PM PDT by BunnySlippers
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To: BunnySlippers
Density altitude can change quickly.

Sounds like the AP logic/math needs to be reviewed.

2 posted on 08/17/2013 5:19:34 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: BunnySlippers
Problem: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement. Solution: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

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: That’s what they are there for!

Problem: IFF inoperative. Solution: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

Problem: Suspected crack in windscreen. Solution: Suspect you’re 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.

3 posted on 08/17/2013 5:19:47 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: BunnySlippers

Don’t any of these ATR rates fly their approaches anymore?


4 posted on 08/17/2013 5:29:22 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: billorites
LOL!!! prolly more than a little truth there...
5 posted on 08/17/2013 5:31:00 PM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: BunnySlippers
W-T-F?

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)?

CC

6 posted on 08/17/2013 5:31:39 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: billorites

That’s pretty funny. We’re you ever a maintenance Master Chief in a P-3 squadron??


7 posted on 08/17/2013 6:00:34 PM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
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To: Celtic Conservative

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.


8 posted on 08/17/2013 6:05:19 PM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
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To: Paladin2

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.


9 posted on 08/17/2013 6:07:34 PM PDT by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: BunnySlippers

10 posted on 08/17/2013 6:08:32 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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Didn’t thing those things landed themselves.


11 posted on 08/17/2013 6:09:29 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: SkyDancer

It’s good to know exactly where the ground is when landing.


12 posted on 08/17/2013 6:10:25 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Celtic Conservative

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.


13 posted on 08/17/2013 6:14:39 PM PDT by Haiku Guy (Gun Control Haiku: Say "Registration" / And they call you paranoid / So say "Privacy")
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To: BunnySlippers

Asian pilots?


14 posted on 08/17/2013 6:17:36 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: Paladin2

The data recorder will tell a lot plus whatever the CVR will reveal.


15 posted on 08/17/2013 6:22:45 PM PDT by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: Delta 21

It took 10 posts......disappointing.


16 posted on 08/17/2013 6:24:09 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: BunnySlippers

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.


17 posted on 08/17/2013 6:25:54 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: billorites

Sooo sad when UPS jet goes DOWNS!


18 posted on 08/17/2013 6:27:36 PM PDT by Leo Carpathian (FReeeeepeesssssed)
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To: Afterguard

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.


19 posted on 08/17/2013 6:32:28 PM PDT by cookcounty (IRS = Internal Revenge Service.)
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To: Afterguard

That accident was an A-320- a totally different aircraft. The A-300 is not fly-by-wire like all subsequent Airbus aircraft.


20 posted on 08/17/2013 6:33:57 PM PDT by mgpilot
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To: Afterguard
Not quite.

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.

Air France Flight 296

21 posted on 08/17/2013 6:37:03 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Afterguard
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.

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.

22 posted on 08/17/2013 6:40:30 PM PDT by IndianChief
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To: catnipman
“Asian pilots?”

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..

23 posted on 08/17/2013 6:43:49 PM PDT by montanajoe
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To: BunnySlippers
Like...how many seconds?

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?

24 posted on 08/17/2013 6:45:38 PM PDT by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: BunnySlippers

I never trust auto pilot on final, things can happen too quickly.


25 posted on 08/17/2013 6:46:43 PM PDT by dalereed (uickly)
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To: Leo Carpathian
"Sooo sad when UPS jet goes DOWNS!" Another FR idiot heard from..
26 posted on 08/17/2013 6:47:01 PM PDT by montanajoe
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To: SkyDancer

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.

http://wahiduddin.net/calc/calc_da.htm


27 posted on 08/17/2013 6:53:34 PM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: BunnySlippers

I can hardly wait until Detroit sells us cars with AutoDrive!


28 posted on 08/17/2013 6:58:25 PM PDT by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
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To: Cvengr

AutoDrive by Google. Do not be worried.


29 posted on 08/17/2013 7:03:27 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Haiku Guy
The comedian Ron White once related a story about the flight he was on that lost an engine and had to turn back. A fellow passenger asked "how far can this plane go on one engine?" to which Ron replied "all the way to the crash site, which is convenient if you think about it".

CC

30 posted on 08/17/2013 7:13:50 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: Afterguard
So we're back to "if it ain't Boeing I ain't going"?

CC

31 posted on 08/17/2013 7:16:15 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: cookcounty

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.


32 posted on 08/17/2013 7:48:40 PM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: ltc8k6

http://avherald.com/h?article=466d969f

NTSB hasn’t found any aircraft faults so far.


33 posted on 08/17/2013 7:51:19 PM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: ltc8k6

Runway has GPS approach but it looks like the flight was using the Localizer approach and PAPI.


34 posted on 08/17/2013 7:53:18 PM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: billorites
PROBLEM: Weather Reporting Equipment Not Reliable.

Take a look at what a lot of FAA and some military sites are using now to reduce manning cost.One of the biggest problems with this system is the Ceilometer.
Its purpose is to determine cloud base height.
But it's not movable, where the older manned system, the weather technician could rotate the radar to a heading and then roll the instrument up from ground level, looking out many miles, to any angle up to 90 degrees and determine cloud height for clouds several miles away from the airport, and report them.
The automated system has to wait until the clouds are overhead to measure them, and doesn't "see" them as they approach.
It's very dangerous to all who depend upon the accuracy of the weather information for the airports they are used at.

You can also look at All Weather Inc’s Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), but they're not any better.
These systems are dangerous and they're getting people killed!
You just cannot replace a human being using human logic and doing the job.

35 posted on 08/17/2013 7:57:23 PM PDT by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: billorites

Thank you for posting those.I never tire of those.LOL


36 posted on 08/17/2013 7:59:15 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Afterguard

Yes indeed.Do you know the difference between a McCullough chainsaw and an A-300?


37 posted on 08/17/2013 8:01:27 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

“Do you know the difference between a McCullough chainsaw and an A-300?”

One of them uses a chain to cut through trees....


38 posted on 08/17/2013 8:09:01 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: BunnySlippers
LESS THAN OPTIMAL CHOICES BY THIS CREW:

(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.

***********

TRUE STORY:

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...
...every time.

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...

39 posted on 08/17/2013 8:09:51 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: BunnySlippers

This will end up being pilot error. You don’t fly a functioning plane into the ground without it being pilot error.


40 posted on 08/17/2013 8:11:15 PM PDT by Bryan24 (When in doubt, move to the right..........)
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To: Wings-n-Wind

These pilots died because the weather was NOT what it was reported to be!


41 posted on 08/17/2013 8:11:41 PM PDT by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Wings-n-Wind

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?


42 posted on 08/17/2013 8:38:59 PM PDT by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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To: Yosemitest
I can't agree...

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...

THENCE --
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...

...Or...
(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)

43 posted on 08/17/2013 8:52:02 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: ltc8k6
Runway has GPS approach but it looks like the flight was using the Localizer approach and PAPI.

How would the pilots use what they see (PAPI), with autopilot and autothrottle? I've seen nothing yet about whether they were using GPS.

44 posted on 08/17/2013 8:54:00 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: RckyRaCoCo
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?

Don't know, but I think it's logical that they ceased maintenance and reopened the main runway after the crash.

45 posted on 08/17/2013 8:56:23 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: BwanaNdege

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.


46 posted on 08/17/2013 8:57:33 PM PDT by SkyDancer (Live your life in such a way that the Westboro church will want to picket your funeral.)
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To: Wings-n-Wind

The longer runway was closed.


47 posted on 08/17/2013 8:59:07 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Yosemitest
These pilots died because the weather was NOT what it was reported to be!

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.

48 posted on 08/17/2013 9:09:47 PM PDT by xone
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To: Moonman62
Thanks for the info...

I haven't seen the actual NOTAMS for that specific day & time...

Even so...

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...
--OR--

Proceed to alternate

**********

Any of those options preferred pressing lower than MDA on a non-precision RNAV(GPS) LOC... or otherwise...

Just say'n

49 posted on 08/17/2013 9:16:28 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: Moonman62
So the next question becomes, (assuming the FEDEX info is correct)they were able to open 06/24 10-15 minutes AFTER the crash...those were the only 2 aircraft landing(flightstats)1 hr. before and more than one hour after the crash(after all it's 5AM and KBHM isn't exactly KATL).

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?

50 posted on 08/17/2013 9:24:20 PM PDT by RckyRaCoCo (Shall Not Be Infringed)
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