As has been widely reported in the national media, an Airbus A300-600F operated by UPS crashed in Birmingham, Ala., last month breaking into pieces, and killing the pilot and a co-pilot. The crash occurred around 4:45 a.m. in an open field near a street that runs parallel to the airport. The majority of the debris from the crash was spread over an area of about 300 yards. The accident is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the black boxes have been recovered. Reportedly, there were distress signals to the pilots about 16 seconds before the crash.
The first of two descent warnings were given about 16 seconds before the end of the recording. The pilots had been cleared to land two minutes before the crash. About 13 seconds out one of the pilots reported the runway in sight. The plane that crashed was built in 2003 and had 11,000 hours in the air spread over 6,800 flights, according to Airbus. It appears that only UPS and FedEx now fly the A300 in the United States. While it was once used for commercial passenger flights in the United States, the A300 is now used only for cargo flights. Reportedly, UPS has 53 of the planes. This crash is the second involving an A300 in the United States. In 2001, an American Airlines A300 crashed in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, in New York City, shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. All 260 people on board that plane, as well as five people on the ground, were killed.
Ironically, the Alabama legislature passed a bill recently providing Airbus with a 12-year statute of repose in our state, beginning from the date of manufacture of a plane. It was reported that the legislation was part of a package and was passed in exchange for bringing an Airbus manufacturing facility to Mobile, Ala. So once a plane, designed to last and be flown at least 30 years is 12 years old, passengers or crew who die or are injured in a crash of that plane will have no cause of action in Alabama. I find it difficult to believe that if an Airbus plane crashes outside of Alabama, any court would enforce that law against the families of persons killed in such a disaster simply because Alabama passed a 12-year limitation on lawsuits. I hope we never have to find out the answer to that question.
Source: AL.com and Birmingham News
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