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View Full Version : MD-11F Cargo Access


petersfreeman
07-25-2018, 06:32 PM
In an MD-11F, can the flight crew access the cargo containers? For example, say a cargo container had lithium batteries in which one failed and was burning, could one of the flight crew go to the cargo container in question and use a fire extinguisher on it?



Is the cargo area not accessible?



If the cargo area is accessible, is all of it accessible or just some areas?


Thank you.


kc10/c130
07-25-2018, 06:46 PM
Two post and you want us to give you info on MD11. Hmmm.... No. Moderators?

TiredSoul
07-25-2018, 06:58 PM
What was your question again?

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/cd/a5/e4/cda5e4ea56ece79d0799ef24cb0724fb.jpg


petersfreeman
07-25-2018, 08:23 PM
I'm not sure I understand your question. I wanted to know how accessible the cargo area is if there was an emergency, for example a small fire. I have read that there have been some incidents resulting in crashes that are suspected to have been caused by the carrying of lithium batteries that have failed and caught fire. If there was a fire, could one of the air crew put it put it out, assuming they could access the area, or is it all buttoned up?

TiredSoul
07-25-2018, 08:27 PM
You missed my attempt at humor.
Why do you want to know all these things you’ve posted in 3-4 threads ?
In answer to your question I don’t know and probably neither does anybody else.

JohnBurke
07-25-2018, 10:24 PM
What was your question again?


Makes me wish I were a tie.

I can answer the question in entirety, as can anyone with training or experience on type, but I'm not sure that this is appropriate. I find myself curious why the original poster wants to know, or needs to know this. For a book?

The issue of lithium batteries has been addressed at every level industry-wide, but when someone with no knowledge of the aircraft, or a need to know, begins asking about fires that the crew might or might not be able to reach or control, it raises questions of operational security.

My immediate thought is that the poster may be asking because he or she wishes to set a fire and wants to know if the crew can extinguish it.

petersfreeman
07-25-2018, 11:20 PM
Hello John Burke,

I agree that my question could be construed as one that would be asked by a person whose interest was to create a situation that would be hazardous to the flight crew.

I am writing about the McDonald Douglas MD-11F and my research has shown that there have been a number of incidents that have occurred when air freight companies have been carrying hazardous materials, such as lithium batteries, and a defect has caused a fire and the subsequent loss of the aircraft and the life of the crew members.

I found in my research that a new design of lithium batteries has eliminated the risk of fire as they can be damaged without them bursting into flames. This is good news for those people who have received serious burns from a phone carried in their pockets when the battery has burst into flames, but in particular, from air freighters. Although in those cases, loss of life has been limited to the air crew, as bad as that is, it would be a more serious disaster if a passenger aircraft succumbed to a serious fire from defective lithium batteries (or other potentially hazardous sources)

I wanted to know if automated fire fighting systems could handle such a fire, and if not, could the crew of a MD-11F actually make some effort, and take the initiative, to save their lives by utilizing a hand held fire extinguisher to deal with the emergency.

Cheers, Peter

JohnBurke
07-25-2018, 11:42 PM
Again, for reasons of operational security, you can understand why that question should be discussed not on a public web board, and should be confined on a need-to-know basis.

petersfreeman
07-26-2018, 12:14 AM
Hi John Burke,

I understand. My interest to have an answer to this question overrode my awareness of the negative consequence of such information being displayed publicly. Viewing the world innocently can lead to naivety, and in my case, I am guilty. Please ignore my question. I can write to Boeing and negotiate the best way to present such information so that it does not provide any advantage to those of nefarious design.

Cheers, Peter

MarioD
07-26-2018, 02:01 AM
اذهب إلى الشيطان!

Elevation
07-26-2018, 06:55 AM
Seriously, why bother with facts if you’re not making a reference book or addressing a specific technical demand? If you want the hero of your book to fight a wizard who has stowed away, do so. If you want your fictitious MD-11 to takeoff from an impossible location, pretend your hero found a useful ramp or something.

Good luck! Lots of people talk about writing books. Few do it. Fewer still get published.

JohnBurke
07-26-2018, 07:37 AM
The original poster wasn't clear whether he's writing fiction or not, but I fully understand the desire to have good research, even in fiction.

One of my favorite fiction authors is Nelson DeMille, who writes well, and much of his work is well researched. He's done a couple of novels with a lot of attention to an aircraft and flight, and he did it in concert with a well known aviation writer and pilot. None the less, the material was wildly inaccurate and though it might have been a fine read for someone who knew nothing about the aircraft or aviation, it really damaged the story for me. It was written well enough, but entirely implausible, and inaccurate.

It's the same in a movie or visual media; if there's something involved in the story that I'm familiar with, I do look for technical accuracy. Poetic license is fine, but there's little excuse for not thoroughly researching actual objects, places, people, events, etc. I would never discourage a writer from researching his or her work.

Regarding the MD11, I'll say this: smoke detection, fire detection and overheat detection is available in numerous areas from engines to cargo compartments, to various compartments and spaces, and in some cases, protection is automatic. Areas that are not accessible to the crew have other means of protection, including the ability to shut off airflow and ventilation to the compartment, and the means to discharge fire agent remotely. Areas that are accessible to the crew have fire bottles, fire hoods, and extensions available for crew use.

With that said, it's a two-pilot airplane, and when minimally crewed, one has to look at the situation in which a fire may occur and make decisions accordingly. UPS 6, a 747-400, had an inflight fire with lithium batteries which resulted in the loss of the aircraft and crew, and the report is a horrific read. One pilot got up and never came back. Oxygen hoses were burning through at the cockpit wall, and there wasn't enough visibility to see the FMC to program anything, or tune a radio to talk to ATC. The crew should have diverted sooner and closer, but didn't realize the severity of the situation, and when it became clear, there was no time remaining.

I have a strong background in firefighting, from the air and on the ground, structure and wildland. I've done years of fighting fire in confined spaces, and the notion of working one's way back to an active fire in a cargo area, in flight, with nothing but a flame hood and a hand held extinguisher to fight a self-oxidizing fire is almost fanciful at best. Add to that no personal protective equipment and flammable clothes, and temperatures that can rapidly reach 2,000 degrees or more, and someone responding in a white polyester short sleeve shirt and bare arms, and polyester pants isn't going to get close, or last long. Add to that the fact that many of the fire agents in use turn to a very toxic gas upon contact with the flame (phosgene), in an enclosed space, and very large quantities of flammable fuels packed together (freight), very little maneuvering room, and one's visibility hampered by the ill-fitting flame-hood (and it's very short duration, hot, noisy chemical oxygen canister), and you've got the fight of your life on your hands, even with a small fire...assuming you can get to it at all, or know where it is.

Most don't understand what it's like to really be inside a burning structure, but smoke largely contains very toxic components, some of which turn to hydrochloric acid on contact with mucus membranes, burning lungs, eyes, nose, etc. Visibility in an actual fire gets very low, making finding the fire difficult. The smoke is filled with unburned material, and generally the atmosphere in a fire is highly flammable. It's common when approaching a flashover state, and I've been in over 100 of them, for the atmosphere to begin catching fire spontaneously, sometimes referred to as "flame-snakes" because that's exactly what it looks like. Silent, thick, long snakes in the atmosphere, made of flame, that appear, burn, and disappear. They preceed a flashover, which is an event so intense that it will burn the turnout gear off a firefighter's body and is generally not survivable.

The decision to go fight the fire, vs. making all effort to return to land, divert, proceed with checklists, quick-reference handbook, communicate, etc, needs to be weighed very carefully. The MD-11 is a two-pilot aircraft, and in an emergency, both pilots can be very busy. It takes both.

On a lot of trips, loadmasters, mechanics, and others may be aboard who may be able to support the crew with firefighting and other duties. The means are limited, the supplies in a smoke filled airplane are limited, and time is very limited. A fire can double in size every 60 seconds (structure rule of thumb), depending on fuels, location, oxygen, airflow, etc. A fire can quickly exceed one's ability to fight the fire, and on the MD-11 there are a number of procedures to address fires. Inside the aircraft (as opposed to engines, etc), shutting off airflow and electricity to certain areas is part of certain procedures; that can also have implications for anyone attempting to fight the fire.

I think a discussion of where and what, regarding fires which are or are not difficult to fight, or fuels, or what makes the fire more or less dangerous are best left to ground schools and discussions among flight crew, rather than open-forum talk. Any firefighter will immediately understand the challenges and danger associated with a cargo fire, and any crewmember on any type aircraft should have a healthy fear and deep respect for a fire; it's a worse-case scenario.

I have fought fires in flight, and I have landed aircraft on fire with nearly zero visibility in the cockpit. I have also made a forced landing off field in the middle of a very large fire. I like to say that I love the smell of smoke in the cockpit, but that needs to be qualified by noting that I love the smell when it comes from outside the aircraft. I've had engine oil fires, fuel fires inside the aircraft, hydraulic fires, and electrical fires, all in flight, and it's my sincere hope to never have another inflight fire for the remainder of my career, in any circumstance, in any aircraft, and I have the same hope for anyone else. I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone.

When UPS 6 happened, it affected me very deeply. I didn't know the crew, had no affiliation, but I had nightmares about that event and real empathy for the crew in a situation with very little hope. None. They were a professional crew in a well maintained aircraft with high standards of training and behavior, and despite the best efforts of all, faced a problem that is one of the worst I can imagine.

For the research of the book, there are far too many scenarios and variables to suggest one particular course of action in general, or to say that this or that is or is not possible. Yes, lithium batteries continue to be a hazardous cargo, as do many other goods carried aboard freight aircraft. I've carried everything from ammunition and explosives to bombs, to flammable chemicals, batteries in large quantities, and all manner of other cargo, all over the world. Most of us here have, and continue to do so on a daily basis.

Bad actors continue to work tirelessly to find ways to sabotage aircraft and air travel, freight, etc. I would just as soon not give additional guidance as to how best to do that. A discussion of all things aeronautical is one thing, but there's a fine line in some cases in which the discussion can open the wrong door. There are discussions had in training for any given aircraft type that regard where to place an explosive device, for example, to minimize damage. Likewise, most of us understand where the worst places might be, too. The same is also correct of a fire; a discussion of where it can do the most damage and be the least inaccessible has implications for misuse which none of us wish to see.

petersfreeman
07-26-2018, 07:53 AM
Hello John Burke,

I understand. My interest to have an answer to this question overrode my awareness of the negative consequences of such information being displayed publicly. Viewing the world innocently can lead to naivety, and in my case, I am guilty. Please ignore my question. I could write to Boeing and negotiate the best way to present such information so that it does not provide and advantage to those that harbour nefarious intent.

Cheers, Peter

petersfreeman
07-26-2018, 08:01 AM
Hello John Burke,

I just read your detailed understanding of in-flight fire suppression and again, I appreciate your taking the time to explain it thoroughly. This information is of immense benefit to me.

Cheers, Peter.

petersfreeman
07-26-2018, 08:46 AM
John Burke: You mentioned a couple of novels written by Nelson DeMille that involved aircraft and flight. I checked on Amazon and he is a prolific writer. Do you remember the names of the novels to which you referred? - Thanks, Peter.

Fdxlag2
07-26-2018, 09:05 AM
John Burke: You mentioned a couple of novels written by Nelson DeMille that involved aircraft and flight. I checked on Amazon and he is a prolific writer. Do you remember the names of the novels to which you referred? - Thanks, Peter.

I think: Nightfall and the lions games. One was based on TWA 800 and the other was an autoland with everyone killed off by toxic gas.

Adlerdriver
07-26-2018, 10:03 AM
I think: Nightfall and the lions games. One was based on TWA 800 and the other was an autoland with everyone killed off by toxic gas. There's also "Airframe" by Michael Crichton. Fiction based in part on the MD-11 (called N-22 in the book) inadvertent flap extension event on China Eastern 583.

tomgoodman
07-26-2018, 10:21 AM
One guy threatened to write a novel titled “Flight of the MadDog”, where some kind of emergency forces an MD-80 to land on an aircraft carrier. :D

2StgTurbine
07-26-2018, 11:08 AM
One guy threatened to write a novel titled “Flight of the MadDog”, where some kind of emergency forces an MD-80 to land on an aircraft carrier. :D

The Navy actually thought about doing that :eek:

http://www.airlinereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/C-9-COD-2.jpg