NTSB: Flight records show no sign of trouble from pilots in UPS - WDRB 41 Louisville News

NTSB: Flight records show no sign of trouble from pilots in UPS crash

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NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt says that preliminary investigations do not show any warning signs from the pilots before the deadly UPS crash in Birmingham, Ala. NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt says that preliminary investigations do not show any warning signs from the pilots before the deadly UPS crash in Birmingham, Ala.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Warnings went off in the cockpit just seconds before UPS flight 1354 from Louisville crashed in Birmingham, Alabama, according the NTSB's initial findings from the plane's flight recorders.

What they haven't heard so far, is any sign of trouble from the pilots.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt laid out what those recorders have told investigators so far.

He says two minutes before the end of the cockpit voice recording, UPS flight 1354 was cleared to land. But, 16 seconds before the end of the recording, there was a sign of trouble, as the ground proximity warning system announces "sink rate, sink rate."

"If the rate of descent gets outside of the parameters that are programmed into the computer for that altitude -- air speed and flat position -- a number of things go into that determination," Sumwalt said. "If it gets outside of those parameters, it will annunciate."

But, strangely enough, neither of the pilots voices show concern: one pilot is just heard telling the other right after the alarm that the runway is in sight.

Four seconds later, the NTSB says there are sounds consistent with impact.

Another mystery-- why the air control tower's minimum altitude warning system never went off.

Robert Sumwalt also says the FAA has yet to check the airport's navigational equipment that helps guide aircraft and path indicator lights leading up to the runway. He says a 6-person team will work into next week analyzing every bit of the voice recorder.

Gathering information from the data recorder will take much longer. But he's confident the puzzle will be solved

"They record parameters sometimes in a 16th of a second, sometimes in quarter seconds, half-seconds, one second intervals; so we will have a lot of data to pull all of this together to help us to determine the cause of this accident," Sumwalt said.

Sumwalt says both pilots were rated specifically for that type of plane, an Airbus A-300. However, he says, it's not yet known if either pilot had ever landed at that airport.

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