Pilots in UPS jet crash complained of fatigue



l investigators are looking at pilot fatigue, among other issues, as a possible factor in the fatal pre-dawn crash of a UPS cargo jet in Alabama last August.

The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the accident, which killed both pilots, 58-year-old Capt. Cerea Beal Jr. of Matthews, N.C., and 37-year-old First Officer Shanda Fanning of Lynchburg, Tenn.

The pilots' work shift had begun at about 9 p.m. the previous day in Rockford, Ill., and took them to Peoria and then to Louisville, Ky. They were finishing their last scheduled leg when the plane slammed into a hillside just before 5 a.m. while attempting to land in Birmingham.

A cockpit voice recorder transcript shows the pilots complained of tiring work schedules that don't allow enough time for sleep at the start of the fatal flight.

The transcript was released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board at the start of the hearing on the predawn accident. Both pilots were killed when their plane slammed into a hillside short of a runway in Birmingham, Ala.

Captain Cerea Beal Jr. was flying the plane. He complained to First Officer Shanda Fannin that cargo pilots aren't given as much time to rest between work shifts as federal regulations require for pilots at passenger airlines.

Fannin agreed. She said she had "good sleep" the previous night, but woke up tired anyway.