FAA Warns Carriers Transporting Heavy Vehicles

 - May 27, 2013, 1:45 PM

The FAA issued a new Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 13005 to ensure that cargo carriers transporting heavy vehicles review all loading and securing procedures necessary for safe operations. The alert appears to be in response to the Boeing 747 takeoff accident at Bagram air base in Afghanistan on April 29.

One cause being investigated in that accident is the shifting of vehicular cargo aboard the aircraft just after takeoff that may have left the freighter uncontrollable. The alert is designed “to re-emphasize current policy and guidance concerning weight-and-balance control procedures, cargo loading procedures, loading schedules and loading instructions.” The notice reminds pilots, loadmasters and dispatchers that special vehicle loads require significant restraints beyond the typical cargo pallet.

It also emphasizes that individual operators are responsible for ensuring all personnel involved in the process of loading, securing and unloading the aircraft are properly trained. Training should include ensuring that aircraft tie-down limitations are never exceeded and that restraint requirements are calculated for longitudinal, lateral and vertical forces that might be encountered aloft. The SAFO makes it clear that even something as simple as use of tie-downs of different lengths could create a significant in-flight hazard.

 

Comments

Doug Moler's picture

I hope the authorities are doing complete background
checks on everyone who had access to the cargo
hold of that aircraft. I've got plenty of time flying
the B-747 and am aware of the cargo carrying procedures
on that aircraft. I find it a little suspicious that the
person taking the video just happened to be in
just the right place at just the right time and
not a word spoken. This caused the death of many
U.S. Military pilots and the loss of a lot of Military hardware.
It just smells to much like sabotage to me!

Scott's picture

The pilots and crew were civilians not military. And the video appears to be a leak us military MP dash cam. One note the antenna mounted on the hood and there is adog braking in the middle of it. It's identical to he ones on that base. Also he knew about the dash cam Hence him being quite through most of it

Steve_in_MA's picture

This was not a case of a catastrophic weight shift. If it had been, the pilot would not have been able to get the plane back to level before he hit the ground. This was an aerodynamic stall - not enough airflow under the wings to lift the aircraft up. From the video, it is evident that the pilot was executing textbook stall procedures. He corrects for tilts, left and right, gets level, dives to gain speed, pulls up to level off pitch, and just runs out of room. That's not a weight shift.

At Bagram, the takeoff procedure is to make an extreme ascent in order to take the plane out of shoulder-fired rocket range before it leaves base airspace. I suspect the pilot simply overshot his max rate of climb, stalled the aircraft, and was just too low to recover from it. I know its not as sexy or as blameless as a weight shift, but the facts on the video just don't support that hypothesis.

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