One year after crash UPS employees remember pilots, hope to make - WDRB 41 Louisville News

One year after crash UPS employees remember pilots, hope to make safer standards

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On August 14, 2013, a UPS plane from Louisville crashed just short of the runway in Birmingham, Alabama killing both pilots on board.

One year later, we've learned the NTSB has completed its investigation into UPS flight 1354.

The final report on what caused the plane to crash just short of the runway is still being written and won't be released until the fall.

“We just don't want to ever see something like that happen again,” UPS Worldport employee Travis Young said.

In a phone interview about the pending release of the report, NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson said “We want to make sure that it's the most through and comprehensive investigation possible so we're confident that we've come to the right probable cause and the safety recommendations are rock solid.”

The union representing UPS pilots believes fatigue played a factor in the crash. A hearing in Washington DC revealed Captain  Cerea Beal and First Officer Shanda Fanning complained of grueling work schedules.

Cargo pilots are not given as much time to rest between shifts as federal regulations require for pilots on passenger airlines.

The union is using the crash to push the government and UPS to change standards.

“A fatigued pilot is a fatigued pilot, whether you're flying a 757 with people behind you or a 757 with packages,” said Independent Pilots Association President Cpt. Robert Travis.


Barbara Benson's one of a handful residents to file suit against the Birmingham airport. Parts of the ill-fated plane landed on her home.

“I saw a big boom, big, big, orange, red thing and it shined through my bedroom window,” Benson said of the night it happened. “I've just been shaking because this is extremely scary.”

Several airlines including UPS stopped using the alternative runway where flight 1354 went down, saying it forced pilots to use a more difficult approach.

“You know we try to protect our own and so hopefully they'll be able to solve this problem and it will never happen again,” Young said.

UPS declined an on-camera interview, though company leaders wrote in a statement that UPS has enhanced pilot training on that difficult approach and procedures to improve safety.

The real changes are expected after the release of NTSB report, which President Cpt. Travis said will bring some closure to the incident.

“To find out why this happened, that would be the memorial that Cpt. Beal would have chosen. That would have been the commemoration that 1st Officer Fanning would have wanted,” Cpt. Travis said.

UPS hosted a memorial Thursday for the victims of flight 1354 but it was closed to the media at the request of the victims' families who traveled to Louisville for the service.

“It's a very solemn day, a reminder that we lost two of our colleagues and two of our close friends,” Cpt. Travis said.

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