The FedEx Express Smear Campaign
After encouraging all pilots on the Airline Pilots Forum to go see for themselves if the walls beneath Runway 9/27 were overloaded and being crushed, I posted the address and phone number of the Memphis Airfield Maintenance Facility and asked that the pilots call the number to arrange for a tour. I just tried that number myself to see if any pilots had called them and I received a message that the number had been disconnected.
This is a screen print of my post on the Airline Pilots Association with the Airfield Maintenance Phone Number.
Although the following information is specific to FedEx Express’ smear campaign, you will see that it is actually the most valuable information I’ve been able to gather to date. Because the Memphis Airport Authority has been paralyzed since I contacted them in December and they will not allow any inspection of the tunnel, I decided to take my case to the Airline Pilots Forum. The Airline Pilots Forum is an online website for pilots all over the world to exchange information.
As you read through some of the dialogue captured in the Airline Pilots Forum, remember that I am warning all pilots about the Memphis Runway 9/27 defect and I’m making a single request…go and see the walls of the Hurricane Creek tunnel for yourself and make your own judgment as to whether or not they are being crushed by the overloaded weight of the new runway. Nothing more.
As you will see, the majority of pilots were not only interested in discussing the issue which I posted about 7am CST; many confirmed some of the details about the runway such as the “dip” that was over the Hurricane Creek tunnel.
“WOW!!!! Looks like a big time cover up! Not good. I'm not completely surprised though. The bottom line is always the bottom line. You've got some big cajaones for taking on Fedex and the MAA. I hope this matter gets the attention that is required and hopefully resolved as well. Good job Guy, and Good Luck!”
“Well that explains
why there was always a dip in the landing zone of 27. So we can expect it to
“thanks for the info, Gary. Hope your efforts don't go unheeded.”
“Might also want to post this in the majors [passenger carriers like Delta]. I don't work for Fedex but I go into MEM weekly and I don't think I'll be accepting 27.”
This is the most disturbing post. Basically he is saying that he could see “purple” i.e. FedEx taking the risk of an accident but that passenger carriers would not.
“Get it to Andy Wise
or Mike Matthews. I don't know which stations they work for. And then if it
goes to national media something will change. I can see purple accepting the
risk but the pax carriers could never accept it if
the media gets hold of it.
I hope you are watching your back very carefully Guy.”
At 1:04pm CST a FedEx pilot with the username “Cliffy170” joined our online dialogue with some very useful information that confirmed my suspicions that a smear campaign had been underway for some time. Below is “Cliffy170’s” actual post on the Airline Pilots Forum. He appears to be a FedEx Express pilot. Click here to see a larger image of the screen print below.
Keep in mind that the last people in the world that FedEx Express, the FAA, or the Memphis Airport Authority would want to read any of my documentation much less conduct a simple and open public conversation about it would be airline pilots who land at Memphis International; especially with the pilot’s union contract negotiations approaching.
Cliffy170 began by posting confidential details about my termination on this public forum:
“I won't even dignify quoting his post in my reply. First, Mr. Cobb was fired from FedEx for violating the terms of his employee shipping account. He is no longer an employee for the company.”
You have to ask not only how he was able to access this information but how was he able to access it so quickly? This would have to involve FedEx Human Resources to start with which, knowing that FedEx’s Corporate HR policy for the release of termination information is very restricted. It’s obvious his goal was to discredit me as completely and quickly as possible. Here are more of his statements:
“The FedEX and MIAC engineering departments have all reviewed Mr. Cobb's reports and have concluded that there is no threat to RWY 09/27 operations nor is there a threat to commercial or private aircraft.”
This is very disturbing and yet consistent with the environment that exists at Memphis International Airport. It is illegal for FedEx or the Memphis Airport Authority Engineers to perform their own certified safety inspections. Only the FAA can “conclude” and certify that the runway and tunnel are safe. So where is the FAA? They have been completely non-existent through this entire affair even though they have had my documentation since December of 2009. I recently sent them this certified letter asking whether they really received my information from Michael Moon and if so what the status is: FAA Letter
Here is the US Postal Service Return Receipt from the FAA Whistleblower’s Program confirming they have received my letter. Click here.
Then there is this statement from Cliffy170:
“The superhub facility is also situated over the tunnel. The weight of the structure and supporting sort equipment, vehicles, and freight pallets are much higher than the footprint of a landing aircraft. The floors show no cracking or buckling, yet the thickness of the concrete floors are rated at a lighter load limit.”
The Hurricane Creek tunnel does NOT pass beneath the SuperHub. The path of the tunnel was specifically laid out so that it would NOT pass beneath FedEx’s most valuable piece of real estate. This is the actual path:
From the South entrance, the tunnel curves east and passes beneath the large open outdoor work and parking area to the east of the SuperHub building. Blair Cox with Express Engineering and I documented exactly where the tunnel’s path is so that I could install earthquake and column tilt sensors near the tunnel’s path. These were the devices I was demonstrating to FedEx Chairman Fred Smith in this photo from 2008 and he told me “I love it.”
If you draw a straight line from the South entrance of the tunnel to the North exit of the tunnel it makes it look as if the tunnel should pass directly under the SuperHub. More proof that the “straight line tunnel” doesn’t work are all the photographs of the tunnel I have posted whereby you can see significant curves throughout the tunnel. One is below.
Above is one of the Airport Authority’s Runway 9/27 construction documents which shows the first tunnel curve from the South entrance toward Runway 9/27. You can see the actual tunnel curve below.
Above is a 2006 photograph of the eastern curve in tunnel “A”. The section below Runway 9/27 is about 100 yards past the Jeep. You can also see the surveyor mark of “32” on the wall to the left. That location is “3200 yards” from the South entrance.
Regardless of FedEx Express’ attempt at smearing my findings, now all of the cargo pilots (primarily FedEx) and many of the passenger airline pilots have read this thread (and continue to read it) so if an accident takes place caused by the runway’s defect before it can be corrected, FedEx Express, the FAA, and the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority will not be able to say they didn’t know anything about it.
You can read the entire thread in this Adobe pdf file here: Download Airline Pilots Forum pdf file
IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT HURRICANE CREEK, ANONYMOUSLY OR OTHERWISE, YOU MAY CONTACT ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org
This documentation and the author, Guy Cobb, are protected by the United States Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 Section 806 -- Protection for Employees of Publicly Traded Companies Who Provide Evidence of Fraud; the False Claims Act; the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act For the 21st Century (AIR21) Public Law 106-181, April 5, 2000 49 USC Section 42121 Subchapter III – Whistleblower Protection Program and the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act, Article 4 Section 1553.