(WHAS11) -- Shanda Fanning, the 37-year-old UPS co-pilot was in love with airplanes and flying.
Friends called her outgoing and vibrant and you can see from photographs that she beamed a huge smile while sitting and standing around different planes.
She grew up in Shelbyville, Tenn.; the airport manager Hank Williamson said she worked at that small airport for three years. “I was very happy and proud when I found out she was flying for UPS because that was her dream,” he said.
Fanning died along with the pilot of the UPS Airbus A-300 jet. It left Louisville this morning around 5 a.m. and crashed in Birmingham at around 6 a.m. in the pre-dawn hours. The jet came down about 1.5 miles away from the Birmingham Airport.
The NTSB is also looking at the cargo of the jet. People are asking if any of its cargo was hazardous.
“We’ve got somebody in Louisville now going over main records, training records,” said Robert Sumwalt an NTSB board member.
One thing is already known: This UPS jet was heading into the landing at an abnormal rate.
Whas 11's Reed Yadon, a veteran pilot, covered the fatal airliner crash in Lexington and has been on the phone with multiple sources who are familiar with the scene in Birmingham.
He said at the time the aircraft was approaching Birmingham, many of the landing aids at the airport were down. He said the landings at Birmingham are always tricky, but this factor made it as though the pilots were flying into a black hole.
Birmingham was not Fanning’s favorite trip. Family friends said that her favorite route for UPS was when she flew to Alaska and then took off en route to China. They said she was determined to fly even as a young child.
She is married into the family that operates the Jack Daniels Whiskey Distillery in Lynchburg. Family members say she's known her husband Bret Fanning all of her life.
The two lived on a farm in Lynchburg, and did not have any children.
Her death and that of that pilot is hitting many families, including the large UPS family hard.
“Many young women looked up to her,” Hank Williamson said. “She lived and breathed aviation. She died doing what she loved to do.”
At the time the aircraft hit ground it was going 220 miles per hour while the normal approach speed is 130-140, so he was down low and going at high rate of speed. One of the questions is why?