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Speeches

Board Meeting UPS Flight 1354, August 14, 2013, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL, Acting Chairman's Closing Statements
Christopher A. Hart
Birmingham, AL
9/9/2014

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In closing, I want to recognize the NTSB staff for their hard work in developing and presenting this excellent safety report. Investigator-in-Charge Dan Bower and his team did a thorough job of comprehensively addressing the many facts surrounding this crash.
I also want to thank my fellow Board Members for their very helpful participation in the process.
As you have heard here today, steps could have been taken to lessen the likelihood of this accident. For example, the first officer could have taken advantage of available off-duty rest time. The dispatcher could have communicated several key safety concerns about the planned approach. The pilot could have gone around when the planned approach could not be executed.
But ultimately the accident was caused by the continuation of an approach that was not stabilized.
The recommendations that we voted on today will address many opportunities for improvement.
If acted upon, they will result in better access to terrain awareness and warning systems for future pilots, annual joint training for pilots and dispatchers to reinforce the need for better communication, and, most importantly, the end of "dive-and-drive" non-precision approaches.
We have also recommended that FAA principal operations investigators review operator guidance and training material for clear language requiring that an approach be abandoned if it is not stabilized by the final approach fix.
An unstabilized approach is a less safe approach.
Although this flight crew faced some challenges, they failed to take several important actions during their approach. They failed to monitor their altitude and communicate their respective actions during the approach. And at the crucial moment, the captain failed to discontinue the unstabilized approach and go-around.
Air transportation is as safe as it is today largely because rigorous aviation safety practices have been developed out of respect for the inherently unforgiving nature of flight.
We hope that the recommendations adopted today will help to reinforce the continuing need for that rigor.
We stand adjourned.