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Last updated: 21 October 2021
Date:Sunday 17 October 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD11 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD-11F
Registration: N581FE
MSN: 48419/450
First flight: 1990
Engines: 3 General Electric CF6-80C2D1F
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Subic Bay International Airport (SFS) (   Philippines)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport (SHA/ZSSS), China
Destination airport:Subic Bay International Airport (SFS/RPLB), Philippines
Flightnumber: 87
FedEx flight 87 departed Shanghai at 21:16 for a flight to Subic Bay. The MD-11, named "Joshua", touched down at Subic Bay runway 07 at 23:15.
The plane rolled onto runway 25, hitting a concrete post and slamming into a wire fence before plunging into the bay. All of the plane was submerged, 10 m offshore, except for the cockpit. The cargo reportedly consisted mainly of electronic goods and garments. N581FE was also part of the US Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF).

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the flight crew to properly address an erroneous airspeed indication during descent and landing, their failure to verity and select the correct airspeed by checking the standby airspeed indicator, and their failure to execute a missed approach. These failures led to an excessive approach and landing speed that resulted in a runway overshoot. Contributing factors to the accident were clogged pitot tube drain holes, the MD-11's insufficient alerting system for airspeed anomalies, and the failure of the SEL ELEV FEEL MAN and SEL FLAP LIM OVR D checklists to refer the crew to the standby airspeed indicator."

Pitot head issues
Runway excursion

Follow-up / safety actions
As a result of the findings, Boeing recommended DC-10 and MD-11 operators to inspect the water drain holes on the pitot probes every 650 hours to ensure that they are not blocked.


photo of MD-11F-N581FE
accident date: 17-10-1999
type: McDonnell Douglas MD-11F
registration: N581FE
photo of MD-11F-N581FE
accident date: 17-10-1999
type: McDonnell Douglas MD-11F
registration: N581FE

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport to Subic Bay International Airport as the crow flies is 1815 km (1135 miles).

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