UPS Airlines Flight 6

UPS Airlines Flight 6 was a cargo flight operated by UPS Airlines. On September 3, 2010, the Boeing 747-400F flying the route between Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Cologne, Germany, developed an in-flight fire, which caused the aircraft to crash, killing both crew members, the only people on board.[1][2][3] It was the first fatal air crash for UPS Airlines.[4] The crash prompted a re-evaluation of safety procedures protecting airliners from cockpit smoke.

UPS Airlines Flight 6
UPS Boeing 747-400 in Dubai KvW.jpg
N571UP, the aircraft involved, seen in 2008
DateSeptember 3, 2010 (2010-09-03)
SummaryIn-flight cargo fire leading to loss of control systems
SiteNad Al Sheba Military camp, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
25°05′53″N 55°21′36″E / 25.098°N 55.360°E / 25.098; 55.360Coordinates: 25°05′53″N 55°21′36″E / 25.098°N 55.360°E / 25.098; 55.360
Aircraft typeBoeing 747-44AF/SCD
OperatorUPS Airlines
IATA flight No.5X6
ICAO flight No.UPS6
Call signUPS 6
Flight originDubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
DestinationCologne Bonn Airport, Germany

History of the flightEdit

After arriving from Hong Kong earlier in the day, Flight 6 departed from Dubai International Airport at 14:53 UTC on September 3, 2010, bound for Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany. The designated crew were Captain Douglas Lampe (48), of Louisville, Kentucky, and First Officer Matthew Bell (38), from Sanford, Florida.[5][6] Lampe had been flying for UPS Airlines for 15 years and had over 4,000 hours flying in the Boeing 747-400.[7][8] Bell had 4 years and 77 hours respectively.[7]

At 15:15, the EICAS message FIRE MAIN DK FWD appeared on the upper EICAS display, and the crew reported the fire in the cockpit when the aircraft was around 120 nautical miles (138 mi; 222 km) west-northwest of Dubai. An emergency was declared shortly afterwards.[9] The pilots were under the control of Bahrain's air traffic control (ATC), and they could not initially contact Dubai ATC due to the thick smoke that was entering the flight deck which obscured the radio panel.[10] Although they were offered a diversion 100 nautical miles (115 mi; 185 km) to Doha, Qatar,[11] Captain Lampe made the decision to return to Dubai. The thick smoke required the pilots to communicate with nearby planes over VHF to relay messages to Bahrain ATC, as Bell was unable to see the radio through the smoke. The aircraft involved in relaying messages from UPS 6 included three Boeing 737-800s operated by Flydubai, and the Dubai Royal Air Wing's own 747-400, callsign Dubai One.

Lampe elected to disengage the autopilot and fly the plane manually. Upon doing so, he discovered that he had no elevator control. The fire had burnt through the protective fire-resistant liner that covered the cargo hold and destroyed the primary flight control system, crippling the 747. At 15:20, Lampe's oxygen mask failed and he relinquished command of the plane to First Officer Bell. Captain Lampe subsequently left his seat to get the emergency reserve oxygen system (EROS) oxygen mask, which was stowed behind his seat. But Lampe then became incapacitated and lost consciousness soon after due to hypoxia after inhaling the acrid smoke and collapsed on the floor of the flight deck. The fire was thought to have also cut off the oxygen supply to the EROS mask, leaving Lampe with no oxygen left to return to the pilot seat and fly the plane. Bell was instructed to land on the airport's runway 12L.[9]

The aircraft was too high on the approach and the gear did not extend. The aircraft passed over the airport before making a tight turn. Bell attempted to turn towards Sharjah International Airport, but unknowingly turned in the wrong direction (195° instead of 095°). Radar contact was lost shortly thereafter at 15:42 UTC. The aircraft finally struck the ground at a shallow angle and at high speed in an unpopulated area between the Emirates Road and Al Ain Highway, barely missing Dubai Silicon Oasis. The right wing hit the ground first and the burning 747 skidded a few meters, and exploded in a fireball, killing both Bell and the unconscious Lampe instantly.[12] Other than ATC, many initial reports came from pilots working for Emirates, who were living in the community.


The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 747-400F with registered N571UP, delivered to UPS Airlines in September 2007.[13] It had flown for more than 10,000 hours, and had a major inspection performed in June 2010.[14] The aircraft was powered by four General Electric CF6-80C2B5FG01 turbofan engines.[15][16] Before the crash, it was among the newest (#1,393 of 1,418; the 26th from the last)[17] Boeing 747-400s built before the introduction of the succeeding 747-8.


The United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) opened an investigation into the crash, assisted by the NTSB.[18][19] The government of Bahrain decided to conduct its own investigation into the accident.[20] UPS also sent its own investigation team.[6] The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were recovered and sent to the United States for analysis by the NTSB.[11]

The GCAA released its final investigation report in July 2013.[21] The report indicated that the fire was caused by the autoignition of the contents of a cargo pallet, which contained more than 81,000 lithium batteries and other combustible materials. The shutdown of air conditioning pack 1 for unknown reasons led to smoke entering the cockpit.[22]

The investigation also revealed that the cargo liner failed when the fire started, and this contributed to the severity of the damage.[22]


In October 2010, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a safety alert for operators highlighting the fact that the cargo on board Flight 6 contained a large quantity of lithium-type batteries.[9] The FAA issued a restriction on the carrying of lithium batteries in bulk on passenger flights.[23] Boeing announced that the 747-400F fire checklists were to be modified to instruct pilots that at least one of the three air conditioning systems must be left in operation to prevent excessive smoke accumulation on the flight deck.[24]

The accident revived concerns about the effects of smoke in the cockpit, raising the question of whether smoke hoods or inflatable vision units should be introduced in commercial aviation.[4][25][26] Around the time of the crash, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had asked the FAA to mandate the installation of automatic fire extinguisher systems in the holds of cargo aircraft. UPS Airlines followed FAA regulations, which stated that pilots should depressurize the main cabin and climb to an altitude of at least 20,000 feet (6,100 m) upon detection of a fire so as to deprive the flames of oxygen.[27]

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for the crash in addition to the 2010 transatlantic aircraft bomb plot. However, U.S. and United Arab Emirates investigators had said they had not found any evidence of an explosion or terrorist involvement in that incident, and were skeptical about the claim. They suggested it was probably an attempt by AQAP to bolster its image. On September 10, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the AQAP was not involved in the crash.[28][29]


The crash was featured in the 15th season of Mayday (or Air Crash Investigation) on 11 January 2016. The episode aired on the National Geographic Channel in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world and is entitled "Fatal Delivery".


  1. ^ "Cargo plane crashes near Dubai motorway killing two". BBC News. BBC. March 12, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  2. ^ Bonnett, Tom (September 3, 2010). "Two Dead As Cargo Plane Crashes In Dubai". Sky News. Sky News Online. Archived from the original on September 7, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  3. ^ Hradecky, Simon (September 3, 2010). "Crash: UPS B744 at Dubai on Sep 3rd 2010, cargo fire". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Cummins, Chip; Pasztor, Andy (September 4, 2010). "UPS Cargo Plane Crashes Near Dubai". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Adams, Brent (September 3, 2010). "UPS flight crashes in Dubai". American City Business Journals. Business First. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "UAE: UPS 747 had smoke in cockpit before crash". Las Vegas Sun. Associated Press. September 11, 2010. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
  7. ^ a b General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates. "UPS Flight 6 accident report" (PDF). FAA.Gov. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  8. ^ agencies, VM Sathish with inputs from. "Pilots identified in UPS plane crash - News - Emirates - Emirates24|7". Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c "Crash: UPS B744 at Dubai on Sep 3rd 2010, fire in cockpit". The Aviation Herald. September 3, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  10. ^ "UPS freighter had radio failure and fire before fatal crash". Arabian Aerospace. September 9, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Kaminski-Morrow, David. "Ill-fated UPS crew offered Doha alternate after fire alarm". Flight International. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  12. ^ "GCAA Announces the Preliminary Report on the accident involving UPS6 Boeing 747 – 400 on 3rd September, 2010" (Press release). UAE General Civil Aviation Authority. September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
  13. ^ "UPS confirms Dubai 747-400 crash". Flight International. September 3, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  14. ^ "UPS: Crashed 747 was three years old". Flight International. September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  15. ^ "N571UP United Parcel Service (UPS) Boeing 747-400F". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "UPS N571UP (Boeing 747 - MSN 35668)". Airfleets aviation. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  17. ^ Jäger, Timo (August 20, 2010). "Photograph showing serial number information".
  18. ^ "NTSB assists Government of the United Arab Emirates in aviation accident" (Press release). National Transportation Safety Board. September 3, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  19. ^ "Boeing Statement on UPS Accident at Dubai" (Press release). Boeing. September 3, 2010. Archived from the original on September 7, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
  20. ^ Singh, Mandeep (September 6, 2010). "Bahrain probes crash..." Gulf Daily News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  21. ^ Kapur, Vicky (July 25, 2013). "UPS Dubai crash: GCAA final report links accident to lithium batteries". Emirates 24|7. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Air Accident Investigation Report - Uncontained Cargo Fire Leading to Loss of Control Inflight and Uncontrolled Descent Into Terrain" (PDF). General Civil Aviation Authority. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  23. ^ Hradecky, Simon. "The risks of lithium batteries in aircraft cargo". Aviation Herald. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  24. ^ Hradecky, Simon. "Crash: UPS B744 at Dubai on Sep 3rd 2010, fire in cockpit". Aviation Herald. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  25. ^ Malas, Nour; Pasztor, Andy (September 7, 2010). "UPS Crash Puts Focus on Smoke in Cockpit". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
  26. ^ MacDonald, Janelle (November 10, 2010). "Could a low-tech device save lives on planes?". Wave 3 News. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  27. ^ Downs, Jere (September 9, 2010). "UPS crash comes as regulators debate fire fighting on cargo planes". The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  28. ^ Schmitt, Eric; Shane, Scott (November 5, 2010). "Saudis Warned U.S. of Attack Before Parcel Bomb Plot". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 24, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  29. ^ "UAE to review bomb blast claim in UPS jet crash". Al Arabiya. November 6, 2010. Archived from the original on November 9, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.

External linksEdit