Pilots Killed in UPS Cargo Jet Crash Near Birmingham, Ala., Airport


Retired U.S. Marine Col. Steve Ganyard, an ABC News aviation consultant, said this morning that the NTSB would be able to quickly go into the crash site and begin recovering evidence that would help them understand the cause of the crash, including the way the plane hit the ground and the information recorded by the black boxes on board.

"The one thing that is in favor of getting this resolved quickly is we've got tapes, radar tapes, tower tapes, it looks like it's not that bad of a crash that the black boxes should survive," he said.

"The crash occurred on the runway or in the descent into the airport, so it's going to be controlled. It didn't land in trees on a mountain with terrible destruction. The flat area will allow investigators to do a thorough analysis," Ganyard said. "They can look at where the engines were, whether it was turning or not, what the speed was, if the gear was down, if the control surfaces were operating properly."

The investigators will first try to determine whether anything was specifically wrong with the airplane itself and whether other models of the airplane could pose a danger.

The A300 is one of the most widely-flown aircraft in the world. It was produced from 1974 to 2007 and 561 of the aircraft were delivered.

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