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Pilot fatigue investigated in UPS plane crash

People travel via airplane to and from Texas to many points in the world. An increased amount of flights and passengers may contribute to an increased risk in airplane accidents in the air and on the runway. Many factors may contribute to an aviation accident, including fatigued pilots, pilot error or runway defects.

Investigators are looking into pilot fatigue as well as other issues regarding a fatal crash of a UPS cargo plane in Alabama. Officials reported that the pilot who was flying the plane at the time of the crash had recently showed concern about the work schedules at the cargo carrier.

The work shift of the UPS pilots killed in the plane crash began about 9 p.m. the day before. They started in Illinois and flew to Kentucky. They were completing their last scheduled flight when the plane crashed into a hill in the early morning as they tried to land at the Birmingham airport.

Pilot fatigue can also be made worse by work schedules that vacillate between day shifts and night shifts. Experiencing time differences, which is also a regular occurrence for cargo pilots, is another reason for them to be fatigued.

Other factors that investigators are studying include how the pilots abided by flight procedures, as well as what happened at the airport. The central 12,000-foot runway at the airport was closed for maintenance at the time of the crash. The pilots were trying to land on a smaller 7,000-foot runway that didn’t have the same instrument landing arrangement as the longer runway. Just before the crash, the pilots were alerted that the plane was coming down too fast. The plane crashed into trees and then a utility pole before hitting the hillside and exploding into flames.

The circumstances of every aviation accident are different. Generally, claims for personal injury or death resulting from an aviation accident are regarding product liability, negligence, or some amalgamation of the two.

Source: kristv.com, "Investigators Eye Pilot Fatigue in UPS Jet Crash" No author given, Feb. 20, 2014

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