Pilots' report raised safety concerns about runway years ago

Runway 18 at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. (

Questions are being raised about landing conditions and just how risky that early morning approach was into the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. There are reports that runway lights and the instrument landing system weren't functioning.

An aviation safety report filed by pilots claims the runway "is a set up for an accident at worse."

The Birmingham Airport Authority isn't commenting on any of these issues.But a 1999 NASA Aviation Safety Report{} filed by commercial pilots recommends discontinuing the use of Runway 18- the same runway the UPS pilots were attempting to use. Their reasons center around visibility problems caused by the trees and nearby hills.

Another pilot described landing on that runway as "flying into a black hole."

A few weeks ago, maintenance work on the main runway forced commercial flights to use the shorter runway. It lead to delays as many passenger flights had to unload people and cargo to ensure a safe take off.

The Birmingham Airport Authority will not comment on whether UPS normally uses Runway 18.

Two pilots were killed when the UPS flight from Louisville crashed just 0.6 miles North of the runway around 5 a.m. Wednesday. The co-pilot has been identified as 37 year old Shanda Fanning of Lynchburg, Tennessee.