Pilot Fatigue Focus of UPS Alabama Crash Probe

By Alan Levin | February 3, 2014

U.S. crash investigators are focusing on pilot fatigue, training and adherence to procedures in the fatal Aug. 14 crash of a United Parcel Service Inc. jet freighter in Birmingham, Alabama.

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a one- day hearing into the accident Feb. 20 to examine issues including whether pilots are fit for duty when they report to work and how well they monitor and follow airline policies, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Both UPS pilots died when the twin-engine Airbus A300-600F plane struck a hillside short of the runway at Birmingham- Shuttlesworth International Airport shortly before dawn. Atlanta-based UPS is the world’s largest package-delivery company.

The NTSB will call witnesses to discuss how UPS trains pilots for approaches like the one the accident crew was flying to Birmingham, which required them to stay clear of unlit hills near the runway without a radio beam to ensure they were at the correct altitude, according to the release.

The hearing will also examine how well pilots communicate with each other, the ways they check themselves and each other, and “fatigue and fitness for duty,” the agency said in the release.

(Editors: Ed Dufner, John Lear)

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