Saturday Afternoon, the NTSB held their final media briefing in Birmingham regarding the crash of UPS 1354. Robert Sumwalt, NTSB board member conducted the briefing.
Sumwalt spoke on the information gathered from the flight data recorder. This data showed at the time of the crash there was normal engine operation and the auto pilot and auto throttle were both engaged. The cockpit flight control input and the aircraft surface control position also appear as expected, according the flight data recorder.
Sumwalt said investigators will continue to look at evidence from the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, as well as other sources in order to draw an accurate picture of this crash.
"We'll be pulling all these sources of data together to create a composite picture, a composite and accurate picture of what happened to this airplane."
NTSB team members have also been collecting information in Louisville, Kentucky at the UPS airline headquarters. Part of this information involves interviewing pilots or training pilots who had flown with the crew involved in the accident. They've already conducted some interviews and have several more planned in the next few days.
A team in Louisville has also been examining maintenance records of the aircraft involved in the accident. At this point, Sumwalt said nothing in the records show a reason for this crash.
"So far, they are reporting that all service bulletins and air worthiness directives have been complied with. So far, they've identified no anomalies, no mechanical anomalies with the aircraft."
At the crash site in Birmingham, NTSB investigators have removed electronic equipment from the wreckage. Sumwalt said they hope the memory cards in these devices may contain important information about the cause of this crash.
Surveillance video from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport and the Alabama Air National Guard captured the crash. These videos have been taken to Washington, D.C. for further examination.
On Sunday, the NTSB will begin examining an exemplar UPS A300-600, the exact aircraft involved in the crash. That aircraft has been flown in and will remain at the Birmingham airport over the weekend. In the coming weeks, Sumwalt said the NTSB plans to conduct flight test in that aircraft.
"We anticipate that we will do a flight test in a UPS A300 to see how this approach will be flown in that type of an aircraft, and to learn more about UPS' instrument approach procedures."
The NTSB expects several more days of activity at the crash site. Sumwalt said investigators will continue to be hard at work until sometime next week.
The wreckage of the plane will be removed from the crash site in about a week. At that point, the wreckage will be taken to an undetermined location for further examination. It will remain under the custody of the NTSB until the agency decides to release it.
In the briefing, Sumwalt emphasized that there is still a lot of work to do before investigators can determine the cause of this crash.
"This is going to be a months-long investigation. The NTSB's mission, the whole reason that we're here is to find out what happened so that we can prevent tragedies like this from happening again."
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