The National Transportation Safety Board GO-Team is expected to arrive in Birmingham late Wednesday morning to "jump start" the investigation into the crash of UPS Flight 1354.
The UPS cargo plane bound from Louisville, Ky. went down shortly before 5 a.m. during its approach to the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Two pilots on board were killed in the crash.
Upon the GO-Team's arrival, members begin to gather pieces of the wreckage to send off to labs for testing in hopes of determining the cause of the fatal crash. The teams' expected length of stay is unknown at this time, but they could be in town for a few days or possibly several weeks.
The investigative team consists of eight to 12 members with different specialties ranging from power plants to human and aircraft performance. All members are on call 24 hours a day, and are expected to be able to travel anywhere in the world within two hours of being notified.
Team members, who respond only to major carrier plane crashes, rotate duties for each new investigation. The team in Birmingham will be headed by senior aviation investigator Dr. Dan Bower, who is one of five NTSB board members. Bower and his team average 10 to 12 accident investigations annually.
The GO-Team departed Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C. for Birmingham around 9 a.m. following a brief news conference held by NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt. Watch video of Sumwalt briefing the media here.
The GO-Team will canvass the crash site for evidence, including the black boxes and cockpit voice recorders, then send it all back to the nation's capital, where it will undergo testing and analysis. Some evidence will be sent to various other laboratories around the country for more specialized testing.
During their examination of the UPS aircraft, a 9-year-old Airbus A300-600F, they will be searching for signs of inadequate design, excessive loading and possible corrosion on the plane.
A final report could take months to complete. It identifies people and agencies that need to take action and what action needs to be taken.