Accident McDonnell Douglas MD-11F N581FE,
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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
Year of manufacture:1990
Total airframe hrs:30278 hours
Cycles:5817 flights
Engine model:General Electric CF6-80C2D1F
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Subic Bay International Airport (SFS) -   Philippines
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport (SHA/ZSSS)
Destination airport:Subic Bay International Airport (SFS/RPLB)
Investigating agency: AAIB Philippines
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
FedEx flight 87 departed Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport, China, on a cargo flight to Subic Bay International Airport, Philippines.
En route at FL370, about 43 minutes before landing, the MD-11 encountered moderate turbulence. Right at that time there was an airspeed 'miscompare' between the airspeed indicators of the captain and first officer. The difference increased to 12 knots in about 90 seconds, causing the autopilot to disconnect.
The difference increased to about 45 knots as the airplane descended to sea level but at no point did the crew check the standby airspeed indicator. The FCOM procedures for 'Lost, Suspect or Erratic' airspeed were also not performed.
As the crew entered the approach environment (i.e., 5,000 feet and flaps 15) they identified that the problems might have been caused by an ADC malfunction. Once the first officer switched her instruments to the captain’s ADC, the alerts extinguished and the autopilot and autothrottles became available. It is likely at this point the crew felt the problems had been resolved and that it was appropriate to commence the approach.
As the airplane descended below 500 feet, cues and warnings were ignored by the flight crew that strongly suggested the approach could not be completed within acceptable parameters (e.g., multiple GPWS sink rate and pull up warnings, visual ales from the PAPI that the aircraft was high/long, and visual cues from the runway that the aircraft would land past the touchdown zone).
The airplane touched down but could not be stopped on the remaining runway. It overran the end of runway 07, impacted an instrument landing system (ILS) antenna site, and continued off a ledge that dropped about 30 feet onto a road located on the shoreline of the airport. The airplane then entered the water and came to rest.
The crew managed to evacuate the aircraft with slight injuries and were eventually rescued.

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."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIB Philippines
Report number: final report
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
21 October 1998 N581FE Federal Express 0 Honolulu, HI non



photo (c) Peter Frei; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX); 01 October 1997

photo (c) Lukas Lusser; Anchorage International Airport, AK (ANC); 10 June 1999

Revision history:


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