Good morning. I am Debbie Hersman, Chairman of the National Transportation
Safety Board. I am joined by my fellow Board Members: Vice Chairman Chris Hart,
Member Robert Sumwalt who served as the Board Member on-scene in Birmingham,
Member Mark Rosekind, and Member Earl Weener. Today, we hold an investigative
hearing on the August 14, 2013, crash of United Parcel Service (UPS) flight
1354, in Birmingham, AL, which resulted in the deaths of two commercial
On behalf of my fellow Board members and the entire NTSB staff, I offer our
condolences to the families and friends of the flight crew who lost their lives.
We are joined in the Board room today by several family members and friends of
the crew, and others are watching via webcast. We know this will be a difficult
day for you. Although we cannot change what happened, we do have the opportunity
to learn all we can about the facts and circumstances of the crash so that we
can prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.
While airline accidents are rare events, they are widely publicized and
closely scrutinized by experts around the globe. When an accident such as this
does occur, it is the responsibility of the National Transportation Safety
Board, with assistance from designated parties from government, industry and
labor, to find out what happened, why it happened, and how we can prevent
similar events from recurring.
The purpose of this hearing is two-fold.
First, the issues that will be discussed at this hearing serve to assist the
NTSB in developing additional factual information that will be analyzed for the
purpose of determining the probable cause of the accident.
Second, this hearing also provides an opportunity for the aviation community,
and the public, to see a portion of the total investigative process. This
transparency reinforces our role as an independent agency and provides an
opportunity for citizens to view the efforts being put forth by investigators to
determine the cause of this accident.
I want to assure the families of the
crew that the Safety Board will pursue every lead toward what caused or
contributed to this accident. We will also fulfill our broader mandate to
formulate recommendations to prevent such tragedies in the future in the United
States and around the world.
Public hearings such as this are exercises in accountability:
- accountability on the part of the NTSB that it is conducting a thorough and
- accountability on the part of the FAA that it is adequately regulating the
- accountability on the part of the airline that it is operating safely;
- accountability on the part of manufacturers as to the design and performance
of their products; and
- accountability on the part of the work force -- including pilots and
mechanics -- that they are performing up to the high standards of
professionalism expected of them.
During this investigation, the NTSB is working closely with our French
counterpart, the BEA (Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses), and I wish to welcome
Mr. Romain Bévillard, who is serving as the Accredited Representative of the BEA
as provided by ICAO Annex 13.
On August 14, 2013, about 0447 central daylight time (CDT), UPS Airlines
flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, registration N155UP, crashed short of runway 18
while on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in
The two flight crew members were fatally injured, and the airplane was
destroyed. The cargo flight was operating under Title 14 Code of Federal
Regulations Part 121, and originated from Louisville International Airport,
Last week, on February 13, 2014, the NTSB conducted a pre-hearing conference
for NTSB's personnel and the parties to this hearing.
At the conference, we
delineated the issues to be discussed at this hearing and identified and agreed
upon the list of witnesses and exhibits.
The three broad issues we will discuss today are:
- Non-precision Approaches;
- Human Factors; and
- Flight Dispatch.
Testimony and questioning will be limited to these three issues
Before proceeding, I'd like to identify the NTSB staff members who
are part of this hearing:
Dr. Dan Bower, the Investigator-In-Charge;
John Lovell, the Hearing Officer.
Our technical panelists include:
Dr. Katherine Wilson;
Dana Schulze, all of the NTSB; and
from the BEA, Mr. Romain
Additional support is provided by:
Eric Weiss, Public Affairs;
Tochen, Robert Combs, and Alex Burkett, legal support; and
Brian Soper and
Don Eick, audio/visuals.
I will now introduce the parties designated to participate in the
investigative hearing. As prescribed in the Board's rules, we designate as
parties those persons whose participation we deem will contribute to the
development of pertinent evidence.
As I call the name of each party, I ask the designated spokesperson to
identify themselves, state their affiliation with the party, and introduce the
other persons at the party table.
||Capt. Craig Hoskins|
|Federal Aviation Administration
||Mr. Robert Drake|
|Independent Pilots Association (IPA)
||Capt. Steve Whyte|
|Transport Workers Union (TWU)
||Mr. Dan Persuit|
|United Parcel Service
Capt. Houston Mills
I'd like to thank all of the parties for their assistance and cooperation
with the NTSB’s investigation thus far.
We will begin the hearing with a presentation by the Investigator-In-Charge,
Dr. Dan Bower, who will provide an overview of the crash. We will then proceed
in sequence, one panel at a time for each of the three hearing issue areas. For
each panel, the Hearing Officer, John Lovell, will call and introduce the
witnesses, and each will testify under oath.
The witnesses have been pre-qualified and their qualifications and
biographical information are available on the NTSB’s website. The witnesses will
be questioned first by the NTSB technical panel, then by the spokesperson for
each party, and finally by the Board of Inquiry (which consists of the Board
members). The parties will be limited to 5 minutes per panel. After one round of
questions, due to time constraints, a second round will be limited to pertinent
questions that serve to clarify the record or address some new matter
I must emphasize again the fact-finding nature of the hearing. NTSB
investigations are, by regulation, fact-finding proceedings with no adverse
parties. The Board does not assign fault or blame for an accident or incident.
At this hearing, witnesses may not speculate or analyze the facts, and questions
are limited to the predetermined subject matter of the hearing, which is
contained in the hearing agenda. Questions relating to fault, outside
litigation, or legal liability will not be permitted.
Some exhibits include markings, or redactions, that reflect the NTSB’s
agreement with the providers of the documents regarding the NTSB’s disclosure of
any proprietary or confidential information in those exhibits. The NTSB is
authorized by statute to disclose information to carry out its duties, but we do
so in a way that protects confidentiality to the greatest extent possible.
At this time I will call on the Hearing Officer to go over a few items. Mr.