UPS McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Freighter Lands With Smoke In Cockpit
On January 27th, a UPS (United Parcel Service) McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter encounter issues shortly after taking off on a flight from Louisville International Airport (Kentucky, USA) to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (North Carolina, USA). The crew first experienced a cargo fire indication followed by smoke in the cabin. Let’s examine this incident in a little more detail.
Oxygen masks donned, evacuation slides deployed
On January 27th at 04:18 local time, UPS flight 5X-1276 took off from Louisville bound for Raleigh-Durham. While the 360 nautical mile (414 km) flight should have taken roughly 50-60 minutes, this particular service and its two crew members faced some alarming issues.
According to The Aviation Herald, the UPS McDonnell Douglas MD-11 was climbing out of Louisville’s runway 17L when the crew reported a cargo fire indication. Due to this warning, the crew stopped their climb and told air traffic control that the aircraft had to return to Louisville for an ILS approach to runway 17L. The flight had reached a peak altitude of 12,650 ft before diverting and initiating a return to Louisville, according to data from FlightRadar24.com.
The Aviation Herald notes that on approach control to Louisville, the crew’s audio over the radio indicated that they were wearing oxygen masks. During this approach, the crew also reported experiencing smoke in the cockpit and requested clearance for a visual approach to runway 17R, advising that they would stop on the runway. The aircraft landed safely on runway 17R, approximately 17 minutes after taking off. The aircraft managed to vacate the runway with the crew evacuating via slides.
As per the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system, the following notice was posted regarding the January 27th incident:
AIRCRAFT RETURNED TO LOUISVILLE AFTER DECLARING AN EMERGENCY DUE TO FIRE INDICATOR LIGHT. CREW EVACUATED VIA AIRCRAFT SLIDES AFTER CLEARING THE RUNWAY, LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.
At the time of this article’s publication, the aircraft remains on the ground at Louisville – approximately two days after the incident. FlightRadar24.com data indicates that the January 28th iteration of flight 5X-1276 was operated by a 21-year-old Airbus A300F registered N145UP. While the A300 completed its most recent flight successfully, flight data shows that this aircraft had to divert twice on January 26th, 2022.
Aircraft details and history
As many may already know, UPS operates some fairly old aircraft as part of its freighter fleet. Indeed, the jet involved in the January 27th incident is no exception, as Planespotters.net data shows that the MD-11 is now 26 years old.
Registered N275UP (MSN 48774, Line Number 610), this MD-11 was first delivered to Japan Airlines (JAL) in 1997 as JA8589. Then, in 2003, it was retired from passenger service and converted from an MD-11 to an MD-11F to fly with UPS.
Owned by UPS, ch-aviation.com notes that the aircraft has an estimated value of $4,600,000. While we know that the jet is powered by three Pratt & Whitney PW4000 powerplants, the flight hours and cycles for this aircraft are unfortunately unavailable.
What do you think of this incident? How much longer do you think UPS will be operating McDonnell Douglas MD-11s for? Share your thoughts and opinions with us by leaving a comment.
Sources: The Aviation Herald, FlightRadar24.com, Planespotters.net
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