September 9, 2014 - Today the National
Transportation Safety Board determined that UPS
flight 1354 crashed because the crew continued
an unstabilized approach into Birmingham-Shuttlesworth
Airport in Birmingham, Ala.
In addition, the crew failed to monitor the
altitude and inadvertently descended below the
minimum descent altitude when the runway was not
yet in sight.
The board also found that the flight crew's
failure to properly configure the on-board
flight management computer, the first officer's
failure to make required call-outs, the
captain's decision to change the approach
strategy without communicating his change to the
first officer, and flight crew fatigue all
contributed to the accident.
The airplane, an Airbus A300-600, crashed in a
field short of runway 18 in Birmingham on August 14,
2013, at 4:47 a.m. The captain and first
officer, the only people aboard, both lost their
lives, and the airplane was destroyed by the
impact and a post-crash fire. The flight
originated from UPS's hub in Louisville, Ky.
"An unstabilized approach is a less safe
approach," said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher
A. Hart. "When an approach is unstable, there is
no shame in playing it safe by going around and