UPS crash pilot ‘lost control’
11 / 12 / 2011
A NEW report investigating the cause of the UPS freighter crash in Dubai (UAE) last year has suggested the pilot may not have been able to steer due to a fire that caused the control cables to loosen.
Smoke from a lithium-ion battery fire reduced the pilot’s visibility as he tried to conduct an emergency landing on 3 September 2010, the report said. The pilot also struggled with low emergency oxygen before crashing into Nad Al Sheba military camp, killing both crewmembers.
“The effects of the fire regarding the compromised flight controls, flight crew supplemental oxygen system, the environmental control system, fire suppression and cockpit visibility are understood,” an interim report by Dubai’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said. “However, further detailed investigation is ongoing to determine the requisite safety recommendations to address the findings.”
The 747, which took off from Dubai International Airport an hour before the incident, was carrying flammable batteries that were “distributed throughout the cargo decks” while “lithium-ion battery packs” should have been singled out and handled as hazardous cargo, an April report by the aviation authority said.
GCAA also noted that the two shipments of lithium-ion batteries were tested “in accordance with [UN] standards, [but] no UN test report was provided to verify that such tests were completed.”
The interim report reveals captain Doug Lampe told first officer Matthew Bell he no longer has control of the freighter.