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

Good morning. Welcome to the Board room of the National Transportation Safety Board. I am Christopher Hart, and it is my privilege to serve as Acting Chairman of the NTSB. Joining me are my fellow Board Members: Member Robert Sumwalt, Member Mark Rosekind and Member Earl Weener. I would like to recognize Member Sumwalt for his excellent service as spokesman for our on-scene investigative activities, and our staff for their work throughout this investigation.
I would also like to recognize in the audience representatives from the Argentine counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board. Thank you for attending and we hope the meeting will be productive and informative for you. We worked closely with our French counterparts and I wish to welcome the accredited representative, as provided by ICAO Annex 13, Mr. Romain Bévillard. Thank you for your assistance.
Today, we meet in open session, as required by the Government in the Sunshine Act, to consider for the first time the report on the crash of UPS flight 1354 on August 14, 2013. The airplane, an Airbus A300-600, crashed short of runway 18 while on a localizer non-precision approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Tragically, the two pilots on board lost their lives. The airplane was destroyed.
On behalf of my fellow Board members and the entire NTSB staff, I offer our condolences to the families and friends of the two pilots who were lost. Although we cannot change what happened, the goal of our investigation has been to learn all that we can about this crash to prevent similar accidents in the future.
The report that we consider today is the result of a thorough investigation including an investigative hearing that we held on February 20, 2014. In this morning's presentations, we will hear about many factors that played a role in this crash:
We will hear about the communications within the cockpit during the flight, and other communications between the flight crew and dispatch.
We will hear about different types of approaches: continuous descent final approaches, compared with so-called dive-and-drive approaches.
And we will hear about the role that fatigue played, including the management of off-duty rest opportunities by the flight crew.
In addition, today's presentations will explain the limited role that terrain awareness and warning systems can play during an approach.
But ultimately, we will hear that this airplane was on an unstabilized approach.
As this Board has seen far too often, with far too costly consequences, an unstabilized approach is a less safe approach. On such an approach the risk of an adverse outcome increases substantially. The best way to mitigate that risk is to discontinue the approach, or in aviation parlance, to go-around.
Over the years, flying has become much safer because the industry has become better at expecting – and then preventing – the worst. A go-around prevents the worst when an approach is not stabilized.
Now Managing Director Mayer will take care of some housekeeping details and introduce the staff.