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Commentary on 747 debacle

From: JC F.
Sent on: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:00 PM


I sent Sam’s email to my daughter, who, before going into heavies, instructed USAF T-38 (and T-38 instructors) , then worked for FedEx (right seat) till they absorbed another company which killed her chance of getting into left seat any time soon.  She lives in TX, does not have cable so she gets her news from the standard media—and inet.


My note to her is here, followed by hers.  Thought y’all might be interested in her response.

From: JC Follender [mailto:[address removed]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 01,[masked]:41 AM
To: 'cyd'
Subject: FW: [Mid-Island-Pilots-Club-Email] 747 Crash Caught On Dash Cam


i’m forwarding this because when i read the second theory, the one “gaining traction” (2nd paragraph, below) i thought of you, and how you used to make yourself very unpopular with the loading crew when you inspected the fedex planes and, more than once, would not ok takeoff till the cargo was properly secured.  can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the best theory myself, looking at the video it doesn’t present as a microburst initiated event...



From: cyd  

Sent: Wednesday, May 01,[masked]:39 PM
To: 'JC Follender'
Subject: RE: [Mid-Island-Pilots-Club-Email] 747 Crash Caught On Dash Cam


holy crap – the very beginning was cut from news – there was the stall fall off part but not the climbout-

now, i’d already decided it was a classic stall spin, more in a moment

it isn’t a microburst, 1-i don’t believe they were close enough to the ground at that point for it to have affected them to the point of death 2-there would have been no flight characteristics visible –in other words, it would have simpy been pancaked into the ground

what we did see

VERY steep angle of climb (more on THAT in a minute)

steep angle followed by rapidly reducing (ground/air)speed

stall followed by the nose falling off – again, classic stall – likely they had flight control input otherwise it should ahve stalled straight ahead but it fell off to the right – just watched again, makes sense because it WAS going to the left (was probably getting mushy) so they kept putting in controls to the right (i can’t go into detail as i’m not familiar with the 747 but in the t38 ailerons are useless at slow speed so you employ the rudder BUT that’s me – i’m one of only a few old timers that actually use their feet) anyway – it doesn’t matter, they were making corrections for what appears to be an out of control a/c

they likely already had a steeper than normal angle of attack (why in  minute) i would totally go with load shift which is for the most part non-recoverable, i heard there were cars and other things, large things, yup, if trucks weren’t locked or broke or tiedowns weren’t locked or gave out, you can push all day long and go to max power, if you’re already at a high aoa and lacking altitude, you’re done for.


now- why they’d have an even steeper aoa for c/o – this was supposedly super secret crap when i was on the rc but everyone out there sees it every day so how secret can it be?  there were 2 options for t/o to avoid being shot at by bad guys w/rpg’s, one is what you saw, it’s an agonizing, slow spiral to a safe altitude, it’s done right over the base where there are good guys with guns.  but to me, it’s a sitting duck scenario because i felt like you’re exposed that much longer with NO maneuverability (too slow to do anything but get religion)  


the second option – is the one i chose and flew and scared the crap out of my SIM partner who was a STAN EVAL guy and said to me, wow, i’d never have done that to which i replied, yeah, i know

but no one could contest the fact that it works great but you have to be good to do it –

you stay low, and we’re talking REAL LOW like tree tops and get really really fast, then you pop up and are out of range FAST because you keep the power up and you have gobs of speed and of course maneuverability...but it’s too scary for heavy drivers, and there’s no telling what kind of idiocy is in the ops specs of an airliner, they’ll just do what everyone else does and for a freighter – airliners already have a pretty step pitch on c/o because of noise abatement and such, now we’re in the desert so we add to the steep climb because someone may be shooting – now you’re real slow, you’re a freighter, the load shifts, it takes a[masked]’ to recover, i’m guessing they were right at[masked] from the looks of the silhouette. 

zack had a friend in that jet.  i did not say any of this to him, just offered condolences.

it’s all in the 06-17 second range.


yes, i got crap all the time for one thing or another, whether i was the pic or not and the only thing i know is that i’m still here because it wasn’t my time, it hasn’t been for lack of other fliers TRYING to kill me through their stupid decisions, and it sure as HELL isn’t that i’m a pansy and didn’t take chances, on the contrary, it’s why i was a fighter pilot, super aggressive, (and good enough to get away with it) but that’s a big ass difference from being STUPID or apathetic or complacent.  i didn’t care if someone got offended that i double checked something – they’d be at the bar drinkin’ a beer while i was in the air considering my life in 10 seconds like those guys did because i didn’t re-check something.  captains grumbled because i was the only one who actually did a walkaround on a through flight, and subsequently grounded jets.  it’s why i have some stories but nothing really hair raising and am still around to talk about it...

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