Investigators: flight data recorder recovered at UPS cargo crash site

By Brian Murphy, AP
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flight data recorder found amid UPS wreckage

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Investigators at the wreckage of a UPS cargo plane recovered the flight data recorder Tuesday as experts seek the cause of last week’s crash, including a report of smoke in the cockpit.

Teams from U.S. agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration, have joined the probe into why the Boeing 747-400 went down Friday in the desert outside Dubai. Both crew members were killed.

The data device — which monitors the plane’s systems — will be sent to the United States for analysis along with the cockpit recorder, which was recovered six hours after the crash, said a statement from the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority.

It said the flight data recorder was in “reasonable” condition. The wreckage is scheduled to be moved from the crash site on Wednesday to another location for further analysis, the statement said.

On Sunday, a preliminary report by the UAE’s aviation authority said the crew reported smoke in the cockpit about 20 minutes after taking off from Dubai on a flight to a UPS hub in Cologne, Germany.

Air controllers in the nearby Gulf nation of Bahrain said the plane was returning to Dubai. But the crew on Flight 6 did not speak directly with the Dubai tower. For reasons still unclear, the crew could not switch from the Bahrain to the Dubai radio frequency.

The plane was not in the proper alignment to make an emergency landing in Dubai on its first pass, but then began losing altitude and crashed inside a UAE military camp.

Atlanta-based UPS, formally known as United Parcel Service Inc., has identified the crew members killed as Captain Doug Lampe of Louisville, Kentucky, 48, and First Officer Matthew Bell, 38, of Sanford, Florida. Lampe had been with UPS since 1995. Bell had been with the company since 2006. Both flew out of UPS’s Anchorage, Alaska, pilot base.

The shipping company, the world’s largest, said the aircraft was three years old and underwent an inspection in June.

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