UPS cargo plane crash Birmingham

Hal Yeager/AP

Federal investigators say pilots who were killed when their UPS cargo plane crashed during a landing attempt in Birmingham, Alabama last year made a series of errors, and may have been suffering from fatigue.

But the investigators also conclude that more stringent regulations on hours of work for pilots wouldn't have prevented the accident.

Hal Yeager/AP

An accident investigations board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to decide the cause of a fatal cargo plane crash that has become the focus of dispute between UPS and its pilot union over whether work schedules are inducing fatigue and jeopardizing safety.

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Southwest Airlines has barred its pilots from landing on the runway where a UPS cargo jet was trying to land when it crashed at Birmingham's airport last year.

A spokeswoman for the Texas-based airline, Jenna Williamson, said Tuesday the passenger carrier took that action because pilots were getting cockpit alerts warning they were too close to the ground on approach.

Williamson says Birmingham's Runway 18 is no longer authorized for Southwest landings, but pilots can still use it for takeoffs.

Southwest's decision was first reported by

Nation Transportation Safety Board /

An audio recording from the control tower at Birmingham's airport shows workers were trying to reopen the main runway when a UPS cargo jet crashed while trying to land on an alternate runway, killing two pilots.

The recording shows an air traffic controller asked a Birmingham Airport Authority worker about reopening the runway less than two minutes before the Airbus A300-600 jet went down on Aug. 14.

The main runway was closed for maintenance, and the UPS aircraft attempted to land on a shorter runway. The jet clipped trees and slammed into a hill near the runway.

Hal Yeager/AP

People living near the site of last week's cargo jet crash at Birmingham's airport say they're worried about safety.

   The head of a community association, Robert Walker, addressed members of the city's airport authority on Monday.

   Walker says residents fear another crash. He says they want assurances that big planes like the UPS A300 jet that went down last Wednesday won't be using the runway nearest their homes.

   The jet clipped trees around homes before crashing about a mile from the end of the runway.

Nation Transportation Safety Board /

Federal investigators say flight recorders show that pilots of a UPS plane that crashed in Birmingham received warnings about their rate of descent moments before impact.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Friday a data recorder captured the first of two audible warnings in the cockpit before impact. Sumwalt says the warnings indicated the A300 cargo plane was descending at a rate outside normal parameters given its altitude.

But Sumwalt says investigators haven't made any determination on the actual cause of the crash.

Hal Yeager/AP

Authorities have reopened most of the major roads near the site where a UPS cargo plane crashed this week. ( ) reports that some residential roads near Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport remain closed as investigators search for debris.

   Among the open roads are East Lake Boulevard and Tarrant-Huffman Road.

   Treadwell Road, Langford Road and parts of Airport Road remain closed. Authorities are allowing residents of the neighborhoods to enter.

Ralph Hicks / National Transportation Safety Board

An Alabama medical examiner has identified the two crew members who died in the crash of a UPS plane this week.

   The Jefferson County, Ala., medical examiner on Thursday night identified the victims as Capt. Cerea Beal, Jr., 58, of Matthews, N.C. and First Officer Shanda Fanning, 37, of Lynchburg, Tenn.

   An ex-Marine, Beal had been with UPS since 1990. Fanning had worked with the company since 2006.

   Federal officials have found no evidence of a pre-crash fire or engine failure aboard UPS Flight 1354, which went down early Wednesday.

National Transportation Safety Board

Investigators say they have recovered the flight recorders on an ill-fated UPS cargo jet that crashed at Birmingham's airport this week, killing its two crew members.

Today's search focused on the tail section of the aircraft, where the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder are typically located. The National Transportation Board says they should know tomorrow if data is on the recovered flight data recorders.

The two devices could hold key evidence about what happened as the jet was attempting to land in Birmingham early Wednesday.

Ralph Hicks / National Transportation Safety Board

Neighbors near the area where a UPS cargo plane crashed say they heard engines sputtering shortly before the fiery explosion.

The pilot and a co-pilot of the shipping company's Airbus A300 were killed early Wednesday when their plane crashed into a grassy field on approach to an airport in Birmingham.

Ryan Wimbleduff, who lives near the airport, said balls of fire rolled toward his property and shook his house.

Authorities say the plane was en route from Louisville, Ky., and the cause of the crash is unclear.

Peter Torres/Eyewitness

An airport spokeswoman says the large UPS cargo plane that crashed went down in an open field just outside an airport in Birmingham, Ala.

   Toni Herrera-Bast, a spokeswoman for Birmingham's airport authority, says there are no homes in the immediate area of the crash.

   U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the A300 plane crashed on approach to the airport before dawn Wednesday.

   There is no information yet on injuries, but UPS spokesman Jeff Wafford says there were two crew members aboard.