NTSB prepares to continue investigation Friday - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

NTSB crash investigation to resume Friday; local pilot discusses landing at BHM

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Boxes and pieces of wreckage scatter the field where UPS Flight 1354 crashed early Wednesday morning. (abc3340.com) Boxes and pieces of wreckage scatter the field where UPS Flight 1354 crashed early Wednesday morning. (abc3340.com)
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

NTSB  says its "Go-team" is exactly on track where they should be in the first full day of investigations. Crews spent the day collecting perishable evidence from this wreckage site. They're looking at everything from the flight path, to the position of the wreckage, the airport runway, and the pilot records.

One of the main components of Thursday's search - is a study of the plane's engines. Preliminary reports indicate  both engines were running at the time of the crash.  The NTSB also says there's no evidence of a fire on board before the crash, but there is evidence of debris inside the engine, which may have come from the trees the plane clipped as it went down. 

"We are right where we should be at this point in an investigation," Robert Sumwalt, NTSB member said.

As far as the runway is concerned, investigators say they do not believe there was any problem with the lights on runway 18. But they do say that runway is shorter than the other runway usually used for larger planes, such as the UPS cargo plane. The longer runway was closed for maintenance.

 We spoke with a local pilot to get a better insight into what happens in the cockpit. 

"I've landed there many times," Casey Roszell, a pilot said. "It's not any more difficult than any other runway. The one concern is there is terrain on both ends of the runway. It's adequately long at 7,000 feet which is a little over a mile."

One of the most important pieces of evidence are the flight recordings. The black boxes were found earlier Thursday morning amidst the wreckage.  Those flight recordings will reveal what happened in the final minutes before the crash - like altitude, air speed, and landing configuration so investigators will know how the plane was functioning.

"These boxes are made not to be opened up," Sumwalt said. "They are made to withstand crash forces and heat and therefore it's difficult to get into them."

"The voice data recorder records what they're saying to each other between air traffic control," Roszell said. "And the flight data recorder runs on a continuous loop that records the parameters like speed, altitude, flight control, landing gear position, things of that nature."

"We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to obtain good data from those recorders," Sumwalt said.

The black boxes are in Washington being evaluated. Also Friday, investigators will travel to Louisville, KY - where the flight originated to look over the history of the airplane.

 

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