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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-05-017
Details
Synopsis: On December 18, 2003, about 1226 central standard time, Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) flight 647, a Boeing MD-10-10F (MD-10),1 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 pilots2 on board the airplane, the first officer and one nonrevenue pilot received minor injuries during the evacuation. The postcrash fire destroyed the airplaneā€™s right wing and portions of the right side of the fuselage. Flight 647 departed from Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, 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.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: 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.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Memphis, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA04MA011
Accident Reports: Hard Landing, Gear Collapse Federal Express Flight 647, Boeing MD-10-10F, N364FE
Report #: AAR-05-01
Accident Date: 12/18/2003
Issue Date: 5/31/2005
Date Closed: 3/29/2006
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, Airport Rescue and Firefighting, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/29/2006
Response: In response to the first part of this recommendation, to inform tower controllers of the need to ensure that ARFF vehicles are not delayed when responding to an emergency, the FAA conducted a review of this accident, specifically the issue of the Memphis air traffic controllers' not giving priority to the Rural/Metro Fire Department (RMFD). The absence of a letter of agreement (LOA) between the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority and the RMFD addressing RMFD responsibilities and involvement in emergency situations influenced the services that air traffic provided to the RMFD. The FAA notes that it was procedurally bound to provide air traffic services that were within the provisions of the LOA and that the RMFD ARFF vehicles were only authorized to operate on the FedEx ramp-a non-movement area. A new LOA was signed, which became effective August 2005, outlining the mutual aid agreement for airport emergency response between the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority and the RMFD. In accordance with the new LOA, the RMFD may provide emergency response assistance for incidents at MEM. The FAA indicates that all MEM ATCT controllers and supervisors were briefed on the new LOA, the expectation of their responses, and the handling of RMFD in future emergency response events. In reference to the second part of this recommendation (air traffic relaying the number of airplane occupants to the ARFF Incident Commander), the Safety Board notes that on September 8, 2005, the FAA published a mandatory briefing item on emergency assistance information requirements. The Safety Board reviewed the mandatory briefing item and believes that it is fully responsive to the second part of this recommendation. Issuance of the revised LOA as a result of the FAA's review and issuance of the mandatory briefing item satisfy this recommendation. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-05-17 is classified "Closed-Acceptable Action."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/20/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/4/2006 2:02:46 PM MC# 2060018 Marion C. Blakey, Administrator, FAA, 9/8/05 The FAA will conduct a review of the circumstances of this accident, specifically the issue of the Memphis air traffic controllers not giving priority to the RuralMetro Fire Department (RMFD) airport rescue and firefighter (ARFF) vehicles onto the airport movement area/emergency location. Priority was given to the Memphis Fire Department/ARFF. As noted by the Board, there is no letter of agreement between Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority and RMFD addressing RMFD responsibilities and involvement in emergency situations. The absence of a letter of agreement between the Airport Authority and RMFD directly influences the services air traffic will provide to RMFD ARFF vehicles, regardless of RMFD ARFF's routine participation in Memphis airport emergency drill exercises. Without coordination with airport management, controllers should not give priority to any ARFF vehicle that is not incorporated into the airport's emergency plan. Several factors, such as standardized training, license to operate on the airport, etc., determine whether the Airport Authority will enter into a letter of agreement with an ARFF. Preliminary investigation reveals that the RMFD ARFF vehicles, commonly known as the FedEx fire vehicles, are only authorized to operate on the FedEx ramp, which is a non-movement area. In reference to relaying the number of airplane occupants to the ARFF Incident Commander, the FAA will publish a mandatory briefing item referencing its directives, in particular, Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-7C, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Communications. The AC states "ATC will issue a discrete emergency frequency to both the Emergency Aircraft and the ARFF IC (Incident Commander). The discrete emergency frequency allows the ARFF IC and Emergency Aircraft flightcrew to communicate with each other directly.... "When time permits, the following minimum information should be passed to the ARFF IC by ATCT or Emergency Aircraft: 'Souls on Board,' 'Fuel on Board,' Location on aircraft and type of any known dangerous goods/HAZMAT on board." I will provide the Board the results of the FAA's review and a copy of the mandatory briefing item by October 2005. Marion C. Blakey, Administrator, FAA, 12/20/05 The Federal Aviation Administration conducted a review of the circumstances of this accident, specifically the issue of the Memphis air traffic controllers not giving priority to the Rural/Metro Fire Department airport rescue and firefighter (ARFF) vehicles onto the airport movement area/emergency location. The FAA determined that at the time of this incident, the airport emergency procedures at the Memphis International Airport prescribed responsibilities and actions only for the Memphis Fire Department, the Memphis Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), and the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority. Consequently, the FAA was procedurally bound to provide air traffic services that were within the provisions of the Letter of Agreement (LOA) established by the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority. The Rural/Metro Fire Department ARFF vehicles, commonly known as the FedEx fire vehicles, were only authorized to operate on the FedEx ramp--a non-movement area. Subsequently, effective August 2005 a new LOA was signed that outlines the mutual aid agreement for airport emergency response between the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority and the FedEx Express Fire Services. I have enclosed a copy of the new LOA for the Board's information. In accordance with the new LOA, FedEx fire vehicles may provide emergency response assistance to incidents at the Memphis International Airport. All Memphis ATCT controllers and supervisors were briefed on the new LOA and the expectation of their responses and handling of FedEx fire vehicles in future emergency response events. On September 8, 2005, the FAA issued a mandatory briefing item informing controllers of the importance of providing emergency assistance and reemphasizing the emergency communication procedures outlined in FAA Order 7110.65 and the supplemental information in Advisory Circular 150/5210-7C. I have enclosed a copy of the briefing item for the Board's information. I believe that the FAA has satisfactorily responded to this safety recommendation, and I look forward to your response.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/8/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/14/2005 3:07:09 PM MC# 2050430 The FAA will conduct a review of the circumstances of this accident, specifically the issue of the Memphis air traffic controllers not giving priority to the RuralMetro Fire Department (RMFD) airport rescue and firefighter (ARFF) vehicles onto the airport movement area/emergency location. Priority was given to the Memphis Fire Department/ARFF. As noted by the Board, there is no letter of agreement between Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority and RMFD addressing RMFD responsibilities and involvement in emergency situations. The absence of a letter of agreement between the Airport Authority and RMFD directly influences the services air traffic will provide to RMFD ARFF vehicles, regardless of RMFD ARFF's routine participation in Memphis airport emergency drill exercises. Without coordination with airport management, controllers should not give priority to any ARFF vehicle that is not incorporated into the airport's emergency plan. Several factors, such as standardized training, license to operate on the airport, etc., determine whether the Airport Authority will enter into a letter of agreement with an ARFF. Preliminary investigation reveals that the RMFD ARFF vehicles, commonly known as the FedEx fire vehicles, are only authorized to operate on the FedEx ramp, which is a non-movement area. In reference to relaying the number of airplane occupants to the ARFF Incident Commander, the FAA will publish a mandatory briefing item referencing its directives, in particular, Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-7C, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Communications. The AC states "ATC will issue a discrete emergency frequency to both the Emergency Aircraft and the ARFF IC (Incident Commander). The discrete emergency frequency allows the ARFF IC and Emergency Aircraft flightcrew to communicate with each other directly.... "When time permits, the following minimum information should be passed to the ARFF IC by ATCT or Emergency Aircraft: 'Souls on Board,' 'Fuel on Board,' Location on aircraft and type of any known dangerous goods/HAZMAT on board." I will provide the Board the results of the FAA's review and a copy of the mandatory briefing item by October 2005.