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General Aviation Safety
On February 7, 2006, about 2359 eastern standard time, United Parcel Service Company (UPS) flight 1307, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F, N748UP, landed at its destination airport, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a cargo smoke indication in the cockpit. The captain, first officer, and flight engineer evacuated the airplane after landing. The flight crewmembers sustained minor injuries, and the airplane and most of the cargo were destroyed by fire after landing. The scheduled cargo flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Night visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Provide guidance to aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel on the best training methods to obtain and maintain proficiency with the high-reach extendable turret with skin-penetrating nozzle.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Philadelphia, PA, United States
In-Flight Cargo Fire, United Parcel Service Company Flight 1307, McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F, N748UP
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
The FAA previously indicated that it had issued a CertAlert to highlight the availability of Airport Improvement Program funding for the purchase of training aids for the high-reach extendable turret with skin-penetrating nozzle. In addition, the FAA indicated that it planned to issue a change to Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-17A to highlight the importance of this training. The NTSB indicated that issuance of the CertAlert was responsive; therefore, we classified Safety Recommendation A-07-100 “Open—Acceptable Response” pending issuance of the revised AC. The NTSB notes that, on September 23, 2009, the FAA issued AC 150/5210-17B, Programs for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Personnel, which provides guidance to ARFF personnel on training methods to obtain and maintain proficiency. We further note that the AC includes language to clarify that aircraft familiarization training should include cargo aircraft expected to operate at the airport, which satisfies this recommendation. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation A-07-100 is classified CLOSED – ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
This recommendation was reiterated on the greensheet issuing A-09-43 through -53 on July 8, 2009. The greensheet discusses a June 28, 2008 accident of an ABX Air Boeing 767-200, N799AX, operating as flight 1611 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California that experienced a ground fire before engine startup. Emergency Response The first aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle to arrive on scene was Rescue 49, which had a high-reach extendable turret (HRET) with a skin-penetrating nozzle (SPN). The HRET/SPN was visually positioned by the driver using controls in the cab of the vehicle. The driver of Rescue 49 reported that he tried to insert the SPN through the right cockpit window but that the extinguishing agent had sprayed outside, rather than inside, the airplane. The driver also reported that he was unaware of this situation until other firefighters told him. Once Rescue 49 was repositioned near the L1 entry door, the driver used the SPN to apply extinguishing agent onto the fire through the burn-through areas above the supernumerary compartment. In its report on the February 7, 2006, United Parcel Service flight 1307 accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the NTSB stated that ARFF personnel who used the HRET/SPN during the emergency response experienced problems penetrating the fuselage with the device and had to reposition the tip of the SPN a few times before successfully piercing the airplane’s fuselage.19 The NTSB also stated that the FAA and the International Fire Service Training Association20 had acknowledged the importance of HRET/SPN training but that the FAA’s AC 150/5210-17A, Programs for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Personnel, did not specifically address this training. The NTSB concluded that some ARFF personnel were not adequately trained on the use of this device, which reduced its effectiveness in fighting interior aircraft fires.21 As a result, on December 17, 2007, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendation A-07-100, which asked the FAA to do the following: Provide guidance to aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel on the best training methods to obtain and maintain proficiency with the high-reach extendable turret with skin-penetrating nozzle. On September 8, 2008, the FAA stated that, in July 2008, it had issued a CertAlert to all airport certification and safety inspectors and operators of Part 139 airports. According to the FAA, the CertAlert highlighted the availability of airport improvement program funding for training aids that would allow ARFF personnel to practice piercing an aircraft structure with an HRET/SPN. The FAA also stated that it would revise AC 150/5210-17A to highlight the importance of this training for ARFF personnel. The FAA expected to complete the revision by September 30, 2008. On February 4, 2009, the NTSB classified this recommendation Open Acceptable Response pending the issuance of the revised AC. The intent of Safety Recommendation A-07-100 was for the FAA to determine the best methods for ARFF personnel to train and maintain proficiency with the HRET/SPN. The FAA’s response to this recommendation indicated that the best method would be training that allowed ARFF personnel to use the SPN to pierce an airplane structure. However, in March 2009, the FAA indicated that the AC recommending this training might be issued in August 2009, which is almost 1 year later than initially planned. The driver of Rescue 49 stated that he received familiarization training on the use of the HRET/SPN when the vehicle was delivered to SFO (about 14 years before the accident occurred). He stated that he practiced using the SPN on cars and vans, indicating that the SPN required lots of practice. Although the driver of Rescue 49 had an initial problem using the SPN, he was then able to successfully use the device to penetrate the fuselage skin near the burn-through area and extinguish the fire. However, it is important for firefighters to receive training that will enable them to quickly and successfully use the SPN in an emergency response. The NTSB concludes the type of training that the driver of Rescue 49 received on the operation of the HRET/SPN was not sufficient to allow him to successfully insert extinguishing agent into the cockpit on his initial attempts. The NTSB further concludes that ARFF personnel who are not sufficiently trained on the HRET/SPN may not be able to use the device effectively when fighting aircraft fires. Therefore, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation A-07-100.
On July 18, 2008, the FAA issued a CertAlert that highlights the availability of Airport Improvement Program funding for the purchase of aids to train ARFF personnel in the use of high-reach extendable turrets for practicing how to pierce an aircraft structure while conducting firefighting operations. In addition, the FAA plans to change Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-17A, Programs for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Personnel, which will highlight the importance of this training. Pending issuance of the revisions to the AC, Safety Recommendation A-07-100 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 9/18/2008 12:11:57 PM MC# 2080573: - From Robert A. Sturgell, Acting Administrator: The FAA agrees with this recommendation and on July 18, 2008 issued a CertAlert to all Airport Certification and Safety Inspectors and operators of airports certificated under 14 CFR part 139 (copy enclosed). The CertAlert highlights the availability of Airport Improvement Program funding for the purchase of training aids using High Reach Extendable Turrets. This training aid will provide Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting departments the ability to practice piercing an aircraft structure in the conduct of fire fighting operations. Additional information is available on the High Reach Extendable Turrets with Skin-Penetrating Nozzle through DOT/FAA/AR-05/53 provided through the Office of Aviation Research and Development (copy enclosed). In addition, the FAA will issue a change to Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5210-17A, Programs for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Personnel. This revision will highlight the importance of this training to fire fighting personnel, and we expect to complete the revision before September 30, 2008.
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