Fedex Planes Avoiding Storms in Memphis

This video was just made it to the front page of Digg. It's an amusing video that is supposed to show Fedex planes avoiding a line of storms in Memphis (where the big Fedex hub is). Another person pointed out that it was weird for the storms to be moving southeast, and when I watch the video backwards (just "scroll" back) it does look like the radar loop they use in the video is backwards. Anyone else care to look and offer an opinion?

Asides from the motion being weird, the storms going from linear to discrete like that doesn't look right either.
 
It's interesting that the stream of planes suddenly ends at the end of the clip. I'd call it a hoax.
 
The radar loop looks correct from a storm evolution standpoint, it looks like it is a small dying MCS with an apparent gust front/outflow boundary in the last few frames. The problem is the direction it is moving. The radar looks like it is mirror imaged or rotated 180 degrees. It would be a rare setup for there to be such a complex moving southwest in that part of the country.

As for the blips, the stream of planes starts from nothing at the beginning of the clip and ends at the finish. As if FedEx didn't run any planes all day, and then decided to suddenly have 300 flights arrive in a 30 minute timespan, then suddenly shut down.
 
The radar loop looks correct from a storm evolution standpoint, it looks like it is a small dying MCS with an apparent gust front/outflow boundary in the last few frames. The problem is the direction it is moving. The radar looks like it is mirror imaged or rotated 180 degrees. It would be a rare setup for there to be such a complex moving southwest in that part of the country.

As for the blips, the stream of planes starts from nothing at the beginning of the clip and ends at the finish. As if FedEx didn't run any planes all day, and then decided to suddenly have 300 flights arrive in a 30 minute timespan, then suddenly shut down.
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I don't know Fedex that well, but that's basically what they do. Most of their planes arrive in the middle of the night, in a short period of time. They sort through the mail and get them on planes for the rest of the country. It's not a passenger hub, its a package hub. Sure, they have planes moving all day to points around the world, but most of their flights are domestic and they arrive during the middle of the night. I learned all this from watching the movie Castaway.
 
Most of their flights are domestic and they arrive during the middle of the night. [/b]

OK, that does make sense. But, I've been in line on runways for takeoff many times with FedEx planes in front of and behind us at all hours of the day. Also, if this clip was indeed recorded during their peak traffic time, you would expect to see some outbound traffic, of which there is none. I searched around for sites that are showing this clip, and of the few that host it, there are no details about it posted anywhere, as in time, date, source, etc - a big red flag.

Not that this clip is all that important, it's just fun to investigate it. I'm sure we'll see it on Snopes eventually.
 
This site gives real time graphical aircraft arrival information for major airports in 15 minute blocks (note time is in Z).

http://www.fly.faa.gov/Products/AADC/aadc.html

Checking Memphis (MEM) shows a peak mid-morning and another late at night.

You can check arrivals by air carrier, but only for commercial air carriers, not cargo like FedEx. The difference between the air carrier arrivals (carriers) and all arrivals (arrivals) is pretty big, probably due to FedEx.

Looking at other airports you can see the major players at them, like United at Denver and Delta at Atlanta.

These graphs are interesting to look at when there are major weather issues. The homepage shows flight delays, and this page is the National Severe Weather Playbook, with a pretty popular picture on its cover.

http://www.fly.faa.gov/PLAYBOOK/pbindex.html

Mike
 
Last week while chasing in nw IA, the cells where stretched out in a line from the ne extending back to the sw. During this time I notice quite a few commercial planes approaching the line from the south or se and then shooting the gap nw between two of the bigger cells. It was pretty cool to watch the planes fly off into the setting sun with two towering storm cells on either side.
 
This video is now circulating various aviation boards and everyone seems to believe it and some in the aviation industry that post on those boards say it's real but I'm still skeptical. Everything I've found so far doesn't have a time/date on this or I'm sure someone could get correlating radar data to authenticate this.

Has anyone found out anything more on this video? I feel like I'm doing the proverbial "whizzing into a gale" trying to debunk this on some of the aviation forums. Unless it happens to be authentic, then I guess I'll be eating humble pie for a while!
 
I work for FedEx and that is a real video. I don't know details about this event, but it happens all the time. The Memphis airport is taken over by FedEx every night where we have hundreds of planes come in starting from around 11pm to 1pm for the most part. Then the sort happens and you'll see a mass of planes leaving. Then we also have day sorts and planes moving as well (which is probably the planes you'd see doing business travel, etc)... Memphis is just one of our hubs now... I'm about 99% sure the clip is real and again, happens a lot.

I have a video that shows all our US Domestic flights move throughout a days period that I can email anyone interested...
 
Not being a pilot myself it's hard to say exactly, but I find the 'circling' patterns of these planes to be the thing that leads me to believe it's fake. I've had to circle around our approach because of a storm before and it was nothing like the ones that look like they're spinning as if being flushed down the toilet. :lol:
 
Looks pretty accurate to me. I used to sit and watch the Fedex circus at night...it's insane how many aircraft land and take off in a small period of time.

Both the airline boards and several employees have attested to the accuracy of this video, so I would be inclined to believe it. I am curious why only a small number of the aircraft are displaying transponder code flags...maybe this system that is being used only displays the flags for commercial aircraft, and not Fedex birds.
 
the stream just ending isint that surprising, after working at one of the busiest airports in the world (ohare) i know that planes just stop coming at regular intervals after 11 pm or so. the circling looking like being flushed down the toliet isint that shocking, the radar is over a huge multi state area. they are also likely to be planes that are short on gas ect

the only thing that makes me wonder if its real (of course disregaurd this statement if its a outgoing plane) is a plane re routes to Dallas Ft Worth. thats a pretty long way to head back when you have, Nashville, St Louis, ect all close
 
The FedEx plane being routed back to the DFW area is because we have another sort hub at Alliance Airport. You'll notice some head North as well where we have other hubs. Memphis is just the World Hub now. I can promise you this thing is real. Everything makes sense to me per the FedEx side, and this is what it looks like on the radars I've seen passed around. Again- I a movie I'm happy to share through email that explains everything going on via the FedEx network for a 24 hour period...
 
Saw this on CNN earlier this week. Also saw it tonight on TWC during a segment on how FedEx's operations are affected by weather. They said the date of the storm shown was 8/23/2003.

Keep the faith
Sean
 
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