Husband of Tennessee UPS Pilot Sues Honeywell Over Fatal Crash

August 19, 2014

The husband of a Tennessee pilot killed when a UPS cargo jet crashed in Alabama has filed suit against the company that made warning equipment used in the aircraft.

Bret Tucker Fanning is seeking $2 million in his federal lawsuit filed against Honeywell Aerospace. Fanning was the husband of UPS pilot Shanda Fanning of Lynchburg, Tenn.

Fanning, 37, and the flight’s captain, Cerea Beal Jr. of Matthews, N.C., died when UPS Flight 1354 crashed while attempting to land at Birmingham’s airport a year ago on a flight from Louisville, Kentucky.

The twin-engine A300 jet clipped trees in a residential area and slammed into a hill short of the runway.

The lawsuit alleges a faulty Honeywell Aerospace ground warning system didn’t go off in time to alert the pilots. An alert didn’t go off until one second after the aircraft hit the trees about a mile from the runway, according to the lawsuit.

The pilots could have pulled up and escaped disaster had they gotten a proper alert, the suit said.

Honeywell denied that its product, called an enhanced ground proximity warning system, caused the crash.

“The company intends to defend itself and its reputation aggressively,” Honeywell spokesman Steve Brecken said in a statement.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to determine a cause of the crash, but officials have said they did not discover mechanical problems with the aircraft.

A NTSB hearing on the accident focused in part on pilot fatigue, and at least two commercial passenger carriers have advised their pilots against landing large aircraft on the runway the UPS jet was attempting to reach when it went down.

The runway has hills at either end and is about 5,000 feet shorter than the primary runway at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The runway also lacks complete guidance equipment, making landings trickier than on other runways.

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Latest Comments

  • August 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    Libby says:
    GenX - collecting WC benefits does not bar one from pursuing a suit against a negligent third-party. UPS would subrogate for any WC benefits paid should Honeywell be found ne... read more
  • August 20, 2014 at 9:25 am
    GenXUnderwriter says:
    Do we know if the pilot was an employee of UPS? If so, wouldn't the husband have received some payment from work comp or life insurance? How would the spouse have access to ... read more
  • August 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm
    Huh! says:
    The article says "Honeywell denied that its product, called an enhanced ground proximity warning system, caused the crash." I'm sure the pilot's husband isn't claiming the wa... read more
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