August 14, 2013
A NTSB go-team has arrived in Alabama to investigate this morning’s crash of a UPS Airbus A300-600 freighter on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) that reportedly killed the two pilots aboard.
Flight 1354 was en route from UPS’s hub at Louisville International Airport, says the FAA. The plane was on approach to BHM’s runway 18 when it went down about a half-mile short of the runway, the FAA says. Local media says there were no distress calls from the crew.
The crash site is in an airport-owned field just north of the airfield beyond the perimeter fence, according to local media reports. Images from the scene show the plane broke apart and burned. Large airframe sections, including the forward fuselage and parts of a wing, are intact.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell says that two pilots were killed and nobody on the ground was injured, the Birmingham News reported. UPS confirmed there were two crewmembers aboard the flight, but as of mid-morning would not confirm their status.
“This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved,” says UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols.
Shortly after the accident, the airport issued a notice to airmen closing Runway 18/36. The airport reported that operations were “running normal” despite the runway closure.
UPS’s only previous fatal accident occurred in September 2010 when a Boeing 747-400 crashed shortly after takeoff from Dubai International Airport, killing both pilots. The accident was caused by an in-flight fire that started on the main cargo deck and propagated, crippling critical aircraft systems and incapacitating the crew.
The carrier has experienced two other hull losses, Aviation Week Intelligence Network (AWIN) Fleets data show. A DC-8-71F was destroyed in February 2006 by a cargo-related fire that broke out shortly before the plane touched down at Philadelphia International Airport, and a Swearingen Merlin IV Expediter was destroyed January 1985 in a runway overrun while attempting to land at Louisville.
Airbus says the A300-600F involved in today’s accident is N155UP. The aircraft, manufacturer serial number 841, was delivered in 2003. The plane had accumulated 11,000 hr. and 6,800 flight cycles, Airbus says. It was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4158 engines.