UPS cargo plane crash in Dubai hits close to home for us

When a life is lost in a plane crash, we in the aviation community often take an added degree of concern compared to the general population. We understand acutely that the loss affects families and friends intertwined into our own social circles.

As members of this profession, we share a tight-knit group.

We, too, may have had an equipment issue in the cockpit or a close call on a landing before. We count our lucky stars that we walked away. Though these incidents are rare compared to the number of hours flown, we still take notice alertly when such mishaps occur. When lives are lost, the news still stings us with sadness.

No matter how much one prepares, things still can go wrong. When tragedy strikes, we lean upon each other and search for ways to prevent it from happening again.

Such events especially bring sorrow to our hearts when they happen close to home.

Last week’s crash of a UPS cargo plane that killed two in Dubai, though on the other side of the world, brings pain directly to the neighborhoods in which our coworkers live here in Louisville, Ky.

According to news reports, a Boeing-747 cargo plane turned back toward Dubai shortly after takeoff, reporting smoke in the cockpit. Soon after, the control tower there lost sight of the aircraft on radar and it went down.  

One of the two men at the controls, Doug Lampe, a 15-year veteran for UPS, called this city home. He attended Southeast Christian, the largest church in the community that counts among its members some of our fellow employees and their families. [more]

"It affects our whole community,” Dave Stone, senior minister at Southeast Christian, told The Courier-Journal, our local newspaper. “UPS is woven throughout the fabric of Louisville, so everybody hurts."

UPS is the largest private employer here, thus many fellow Louisvillians golfed, worked and worshipped with Lampe. Today, we too mourn with our city and our fellow aviators.

We extend condolences to the Lampe family, as well as the family of first officer Matthew Bell, of Sanford, Fla.

Additionally, as with all other crash investigations, we wish for answers to be found and potential problems to be resolved.

Company officials noted in a release that regular maintenance and a recent inspection shown no problems in the 2007 model aircraft. The company and the NTSB are sending inspectors to join investigative crews from the United Arab Emirates.

Though they cannot bring back these two accomplished pilots, we hope they can find resolution to help prevent us from losing others.