Many accident investigators, myself included, speculated at the time that the crash might have been precipitated by a sudden shift in the aircraft’s cargo load.
Today the FAA announced that it is proposing a $77,000 civil penalty against the 747 operator, National Air Cargo Group of Orlando, Florida, for “allegedly failing to comply with requirements for loading and securing heavy cargo” on two of its 747 aircraft, including the one that crashed in April 2013.
The FAA alleges that the aircraft that crashed was loaded with five Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), each weighing “between 23,001 pounds and 37,884 pounds” that were not secured in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.
It also alleges that this aircraft and one other 747 operated by National were flown on seven flights during March and April 2013 with improperly secured MRAPS.
Improperly secured cargo can shift, causing the aircraft to be out of balance and usually tail heavy. On take off this can result in an aerodynamic stall and crash, as may have happened here. The NTSB has not yet ruled on a probable cause for the accident.
Today’s announcement by the FAA is a proposal to fine National Air Cargo and not a finding of any wrongdoing by the company. National has the opportunity to respond and contest the FAA’s allegations. The FAA in its press release stated that the company had requested the opportunity to meet with the FAA to discuss these allegations.
(John Goglia - Forbes)