LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Friday, Aug. 14 marks two years since the crash of UPS Flight 1354 that killed two pilots. Before the crash, the cockpit voice recorder captured the two pilots talking about fatigue. Now, two years after the crash, the Independent Pilots Association claims the company isn't doing enough to ensure their pilots safety.
IPA claims UPS lobbied to get out of the Federal mandate that requires more rest and the IPA says it's putting their lives and yours at risk.
The National Transportation Safety Board agrees with the IPA that all pilots should follow the same science-based rules on rest.
The NTSB said after their investigation of the Aug. 14, 2013 crash, "There is no reason to exempt pilots simply because they're carrying pallets rather than passengers."
But the IPA says cargo pilots were "carved out" of the FAA mandate requiring more rest and reduced hours, the IPA maintains lobbying by UPS and Fed Ex is the reason.
The IPA filed suit against the FAA to get an even playing field for the pilots and expects a ruling in 2016.
"It's a recipe for disaster," said IPA President Captain Robert Travis, "and it certainly was a contributing factor in the loss of our colleagues in Birmingham."
According to the plane's voice recorder, right before their UPS Flight from Louisville crashed on approach to Birmingham, Captain Cerea Beal and first officer Shanda Fanning were talking about being tired and why it was unfair that cargo pilots don't get the same rest as passenger pilots.
Beal said his schedule was "killing him" and said of the FAA rules, "You know, it should be one level of safety for everybody."
Fanning told a friend she recently had problems staying awake in the cockpit. What kind of rest difference are we talking about?
"If our pilots report at 2 in the morning for example, they can be taken out to 14 hours of a duty a night," Travis explained, "which anybody that's tried to drive14 straight hours on the backside of a clock for family vacation knows it's very difficult to fight off those effects of fatigue in a car."
Passenger carriers are restricted to nine hours if they report at 2 a.m. Travis said, a five hour difference. The IPA says nothing has changed since the crash and everyone who flies should be worried.
"It should be of great concern to everybody in this nation because whether I'm flying a 757 or American Airlines is flying a 757," Travis said. "We're sharing the same airspace."
UPS declined an on camera interview but spokesman Michael Mangeot said in a statement:
"Flight 1354 was an unfortunate accident, and we keep our crew members in our heartfelt thoughts on this somber day. The FAA recognizes that cargo pilots fly different schedules and has appropriately maintained different sets of crew rest rules that ensure the highest level of safety for each environment. It's worth noting that our pilots fly about 30 hours per month, which is about half of what passenger pilots do, so they have significant rest opportunities already built into their schedules. UPS continues the extensive safety collaboration we've had with our pilots for years. We have made a series of enhancements since Flight 1354, including a pilot peer review program. UPS places the highest emphasis on safety, and we work with our crewmembers, industry experts and government regulatory bodies to maximize the safe operation of our airline."