NTSB Identification: DCA13CA035
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of FEDERAL EXPRESS CORP
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 26, 2012 in Memphis, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/03/2013
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-11F, registration: N612FE
Injuries: 1 Minor,3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 26, 2012, at 0215 Central Standard Time, a Boeing MD-11F, registration N612FE, operated by Federal Express Airlines as flight 1480 from Memphis International Airport (KMEM) to Portland, Oregon International Airport (KPDX), struck a deicing vehicle while being marshaled onto the “E” deicing pad at KMEM. The aircraft was substantially damaged, the deicing vehicle was damaged, and there were no injuries to the 2 flight crew and one jumpseat passenger. The ground employee in the deice bucket experienced a minor injury. Weather at the time of the event was reported as dark lighting conditions with 2 miles visibility in blowing snow and clouds at 900 feet.

The flight crew reported that they taxied to the deice area and called the deice pad coordinator. The crew taxied the airplane onto the pad in response to marshaller lighted wand signals. The First Officer observed that the two vehicles on the right side of the airplane were outside the painted taxiway edge lines. The operation was not using wing walkers. The First Officer noted that the wingtip area is outside the field of view from the flight deck windows. The marshaller began to signal the crew to stop, at the same time the deice coordinator radioed them to stop the airplane, and the pilot reported he felt a shudder. The right wing of the airplane contacted the deice vehicle approximately 4 feet from the right winglet at the number 8 slat. The deice bucket passed under the wing surface, puncturing a fuel tank leading to a fuel spill of approximately 75 gallons. The coordinator advised the crew to shut down the engines and that they had a fuel leak. The crew was unaware the airplane had struck the vehicle, until informed by maintenance personnel. The airplane was towed back to parking, and the crew exited via the main entry door.

The right forward wing spar lower cap, forward flange had a horizontal crack about 10 inches long. Additional damage included the right outboard aileron, right wing slats and associated hardware, right wing leading edge behind the slat, right wing fuel tip tank vent manifold, lower skin plank, and three fuel tank panels. The lower wing skin aft of the damaged spar cap was punctured and one of the lower wing stringers was deformed. The damage to the spar cap, lower wing skin and lower wing affected the structural strength of the wing in this area, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane per 49 CFR 830. The deice vehicle boom arm was also damaged.

Deice pad (also known as “carwash”) E is located on Taxiway C, north of taxiway V and adjacent to a parking apron. Fedex document “Carwash E Parking Plan” diagram indicates that on deice pad E, MD-11 airplanes must be positioned east of the Taxiway C centerline in order to provide proper clearance. The flight crew followed ground personnel marshaling instructions onto the deice pad. The marshaller and maintenance technician working on pad E had never worked at the location before, and were unaware of the requirement to taxi MD-11 airplanes off centerline. The diagrams provided to the marshaller and coordinator were unclear and not sufficient to be standalone documents.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the operator’s failure to provide appropriate training and documentation for ground personnel, leading the marshaller to inadvertently guide the airplane into the collision.

Full narrative available

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