Narrative:FedEx flight 647 departed Oakland at 06:32 PST for a cargo flight to Memphis. The first officer was the pilot flying on that leg. The captain of the flight was a company check airman who was conducting a multi-leg line check for the first officer. The flight was routine until the approach to Memphis.
Because winds were given as 290 degrees at 18 knots with gusts to 23 knots, the captain programmed the FMS for a landing on runway 27. Updated weather information indicated wind from 320 degrees at 18 knots with gusts to 23 knots and windshear advisories were in effect. The captain then reprogrammed the FMS for a landing on runway 36L. Memphis approach control later assigned runway 36R as the landing runway and cleared the flight for a visual approach to runway 36R and they were instructed to contact the tower. The tower controller cleared the crew to land on runway 36R and advised that there was a 'gain and loss of ten knots on short final.' The visual approach to runway 36R was normal and the airplane was stabilized during and throughout the approach. A brief aural windshear alert sounded between 800-900 feet msl. The airplane touched down firmly in the touchdown zone and on the centerline. The initial rollout appeared normal, but after several seconds, the airplane began to bank and turn to the right. The crew were unable to steer the airplane back to the left and it skidded off the right side of the runway and came to a stop in the grass. Shortly after coming to a stop there was an explosion and a fire developed on the right side to the airplane. All seven occupants were able to successfully evacuate the airplane using the cockpit windows.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "1) the first officer’s failure to properly apply crosswind landing techniques to align the airplane with the runway centerline and to properly arrest the airplane’s descent rate (flare) before the airplane touched down; and 2) the captain’s failure to adequately monitor the first officer’s performance and command or initiate corrective action during the final approach and landing."
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
After a period of storage, FedEx bought this former United DC-10 and converted it to a cargo MD-10.
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 Oakland International Airport, CA to Memphis International Airport, TN as the crow flies is 2868 km (1793 miles).