On December 18, 2003, about 1226 central standard time, Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) flight 647, a Boeing MD-10-10F (MD-10), N364FE, crashed while landing at Memphis International Airport (MEM), Memphis, Tennessee. The right main landing gear collapsed after touchdown on runway 36R, and the airplane veered off the right side of the runway. After the gear collapsed, a fire developed on the right side of the airplane. Of the two flight crewmembers and five nonrevenue FedEx pilots on board the airplane, the first officer and one nonrevenue pilot received minor injuries during the evacuation. The postcrash fire destroyed the airplanes right wing and portions of the right side of the fuselage. Flight 647 departed from Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK), Oakland, California, about 0832 (0632 Pacific standard time) and was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were 1) the first officers failure to properly apply crosswind landing techniques to align the airplane with the runway centerline and to properly arrest the airplanes descent rate (flare) before the airplane touched down; and 2) the captains failure to adequately monitor the first officers performance and command or initiate corrective action during the final approach and landing.
The safety issues in this report focus on flight crew performance, emergency evacuations, MEM air traffic control and aircraft rescue and firefighting issues, and flight data recorder reliability.
As a result of the investigation of the FedEx flight 647 accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration:
Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 air carrier operators to establish programs for flight crewmembers who have demonstrated performance deficiencies or experienced failures in the training environment that would require a review of their whole performance history at the company and administer additional oversight and training to ensure that performance deficiencies are addressed and corrected. (A-05-014)
Amend the emergency exit training information contained in the flight crew and cabin crew sections in Federal Aviation Administration Order 8400.10, Air Transportation Aviation Inspector's Handbook, to make the emergency exit door/slide training described in the flight crew section as comprehensive as the cabin crew emergency training section of the principal operations inspector handbook. (A-05-015)
Verify that all 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 operators' emergency door/slide trainers are configured to accurately represent the actual airplane exit door/slide and that their flight crew emergency exit door/slide training provides the intended hands-on emergency procedures training as described in 14 CFR 121.417, to include pulling the manual inflation handle. (A-05-016)
Inform all air traffic control tower controllers of the circumstances of this accident, including the need to ensure that aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles are not delayed without good cause when en route to an emergency and the need to relay the number of airplane occupants to ARFF responders. (A-05-017)
In cooperation with the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority and Memphis Fire Department, modify the November 1, 2001, letter of agreement, titled, "Airport Emergency Procedures," to fully describe the protocol to be used for emergency responses, including Rural/Metro Fire Department aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment and personnel. (A-05-018)
Previously Issued Recommendation Reiterated in This Report
The Safety Board reiterates the following recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration:
Survey all aircraft required by Federal regulation to have a flight data recorder to ensure that the data recorded meets the rate, range, and accuracy requirements specified in 14 Code of Federal Regulations 121.344, Appendix M. (A-03-016)