Pilot in UPS plane crash complained work schedules “killing him” Was fatigue a factor?
Captain Cerea Beal, a UPS pilot whose plane crashed into an Alabama hillside last year stated a mere one day earlier that “the schedules are killing him and he could not keep this up,” according to records released at a hearing today.
The US National Transportation Safety Board held a hearing today regarding the plane crash that occurred last year. The UPS plane crash resulted in the deaths of Captain Beal and First Officer Shanda Fanning. This occurred six weeks after cargo airlines were exempted from rules that limit the number of hours a pilot can fly, especially late night hours. These rules are currently applicable to passenger airlines.
During the hearing, many errors were revealed in the attempt to land at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport’s Runway 18. This runway lacks an instrument-landing system that guides aircraft. Runway 18 is 1,524 meters shorter than its alternate landing strip, which was closed for repairs at the time. This alternate landing strip reopened only minutes after the crash occurred.
The pilots did not set their flight computer properly for the approach, Cerea Beal later switched the autopilot settings without alerting, which is in violation of UPS rules. According to Captain Peter Laurentz, director of training and standards for UPS, the pilots should have, “aborted the landing and climbed away from the ground.”
Documents released also brought into question whether the pilots had attempted to get proper rest the night before.
According to UPS, the pilots’ schedules were in compliance with the new regulations regarding pilot rest, even though those restrictions are not applicable to cargo airlines.
Shanda Fanning had been released from work since 6:15am the day prior, and was not due back at work until 9:00pm. Cerea Beal had been off duty for seven days before reporting back to work the night of the fatal flight.
Cerea Beal and Shanda Fanning were in their third flight when the crash occurred. The US National Transportation Safety Board will not determine the cause of the crash until later this year.
Pilot in UPS plane crash complained work schedules “killing him.”