LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Word of the deaths of a UPS pilot and co-pilot killed in a fiery crash Wednesday has been a reality check for local pilots, including Peter Miller.
"It could happen to any of us," said Miller who works as a U.S. Airways pilot and flight instructor with Cardinal Wings Flight School at Bowman Field in Louisville.
"We know what it's like to be in an emergency," began Miller, "but we don't know what it's like to have it come to such a tragic end."
In the past, Miller worked as a mechanic for Fed-Ex where he worked on Airbus A-300 aircraft, the same model of aircraft as UPS Flight 1354 that crashed August 14 in Birmingham, Alabama.
"In the U.S., it's only used for cargo," said Miller. "To my knowledge, the only three companies that fly the A-300 are UPS, Fed Ex, and [formerly] American Airlines."
On average, Miller said the A-300 aircrafts make fewer trips a day than commercial airliners.
"They're typically doing one to two trips a night in the cargos," said Miller. "On passenger [planes], they're probably doing eight legs a day."
According to a statement released by Airbus, UPS Flight 1354 had been delivered to UPS from the production line in 2003. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, the aircraft had accumulated approximately 11,000 flight hours in roughly 6,800 flights.
"Mathematically-wise, mechanically-wise, it's not a wear and tear situation," said Miller. "6,800 flights is low."
With the cause of the fatal UPS crash still under investigation, Miller said he can only speculate about what happened.
"Statistically, the highest rate of accidents happen in the landing phase," said Miller.
Teams from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived in Birmingham to investigate the cause.
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