“When my alarm went off, I mean, I’m thinkin’ I’m so tired.” - First Officer Shanda Fanning
In August, 2013, a United Postal Service (UPS) cargo airbus on an early morning flight from Kentucky crashed a mile short of an Alabama runway. Both pilots were killed and the plane destroyed. In February, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a hearing into the crash and ignited a debate about rest standards for pilots of passenger and cargo jets.
Human fatigue is not only a major issue for cars and trucks, but also for cargo planes and airlines, and possibly a factor in this crash. Every day automobile and truck accidents occur when drowsy drivers lack the capability or decision making ability to safely navigate the road.
In this case, a conversation between the pilots as they flew their last flight was evidence at the February NTSB hearing. Their comments included:
- Flight Captain Cerea Beal Jr. noted, “These schedules over the past several years are killing me."
- During the flight, Captain Beal stated pilots who ferried passengers would benefit from new rules governing the amount of rest required by flight crew between journeys.
- Referring to a standard level of rest for all pilots, co-pilot Shanda Fanning responded, “It should be across the board to be honest. In my opinion, whether you are flying passengers or cargo…”
Eventually, the NTSB report may reveal specific errors made by the two-person crew that led to the crash. Fatal accidents involving fatigue are underreported given the general lack of material evidence. In this case, the pilots spoke for themselves.
If injured, or if a loved one is killed in an accident involving a fatigued driver in Florida, seek experienced legal counsel.