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Print 22 comment(s) - last by sorry dog.. on Dec 16 at 1:22 PM

The safety board hasn’t concluded what caused the crash

A recent hearing regarding the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco last July revealed that the pilot was unfamiliar with the plane's systems and wasn't prepared to handle it manually.
 
According to a new report from Bloomberg, a U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hearing yesterday showed that the Asiana Airlines pilot from the July 6 crash disabled a speed-control system before the plane crashed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). 
 
The pilot -- Lee Kang Kuk -- who was being trained on the Boeing 777-200ER wide-body, entered certain parameters into the flight-management and auto-throttle systems that day, leading the plane to believe he wanted to accelerate and climb. He then throttled back to counter the plane’s increase in thrust so that the plane’s descent could resume.
 
However, the throttles stayed in the lowest setting due to the way the auto-throttle had been set, and because he had shut off the autopilot.
 
Once the plane descended below 50 feet, the plane’s control column began shaking as a warning to pilots that they were losing lift. A series of chimes rang 11 seconds before impact, which indicate that the plane had reached dangerously low speed. A transcript showed that Lee Jung Min (an instructor pilot monitoring the captain as part of his training) gave the command to abort the landing and climb 8.5 seconds after the initial speed warning.


As it turns out, the pilots increased the power too late to avoid the crash.

Lee Kang Kuk said the experience was "very stressful" and "very difficult," and that he wasn’t used to landing without an instrument-landing system leading him to the runway. According to Lee, he thought the auto-throttle would have come out of the idle position to prevent the airplane from going below the minimum speed. 

The crash killed three teenage girls from China and over 200 passengers were taken to hospitals. There were 291 passengers, 12 flight attendants and four pilots. 

“Asiana is committed to taking necessary steps to ensure such an accident never happens again,” said Asiana Airlines in a statement.

The safety board hasn’t concluded what caused the crash.

However, a recent study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shows that pilots depend on automation much more than they should, and many don't know what to do when they must manually take over. 
 
"They [pilots] are accustomed to watching things happen…instead of being proactive," said the study.
 
The study was comprised of an international panel of air-safety experts comprising of industry, labor, academic and government officials.

Source: Bloomberg



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Well, that settles it!
By maven81 on 12/12/2013 2:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
Just recently there was a discussion here where some were saying that good pilots are almost unnecessary, that planes basically fly themselves, and the only reason we have pilots in the cockpit is to make the passengers feel safer. I think it's a pretty good demonstration that you can't just stick anyone in the cockpit and expect things to work.




RE: Well, that settles it!
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/12/2013 2:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they shouldn't have turned the autopilot off?


RE: Well, that settles it!
By tamalero on 12/12/2013 2:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
And what if the autopilot fails? what if the plane gets incorrect data or conflicting reports from the censors?
good luck recovering from that kiddo.


RE: Well, that settles it!
By vshah on 12/12/2013 5:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's OK, billy in 34E played Flight Simulator 95 as a kid.


RE: Well, that settles it!
By Strunf on 12/13/2013 7:40:32 AM , Rating: 2
If he managed to land a plane safely on Flight Simulator then he's probably the best chance they have!


RE: Well, that settles it!
By marvdmartian on 12/16/2013 9:30:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but I heard he has a drinking problem!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVOUlNCJK2Y


RE: Well, that settles it!
By kingmotley on 12/13/2013 10:25:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
what if the plane gets incorrect data or conflicting reports from the censors


I don't think being censored had anything to do with it. I can understand how it may be distracting when you swear and a loud beep happens, but that shouldn't cause a crash.


should not have been flying
By ssobol on 12/12/2013 12:43:09 PM , Rating: 5
A pilot who freely admits that flying an approach in a perfectly functioning airplane on a fine weather day is "very difficult" and "very stressful" clearly is not up to the task and should not have been in that position.

Flying visual approaches is one of the most basic tasks pilots usually learn very early on in their careers.




RE: should not have been flying
By sorry dog on 12/12/2013 1:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
This coming out doesn't seem too surprising, and it's setting the stage for the NTSB final report to not only blame the lack of basic airmanship, but organizational failures. Like not allowing pilots to fly by hand, training program failures, and automation dependency.

There's too much of a trend going on to not address it.


RE: should not have been flying
By Keeir on 12/12/2013 2:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. If you read the article, it comes across more as a lack of trust in the control systems of the plane.

"entered certain parameters into the flight-management and auto-throttle systems that day, leading the plane to believe he wanted to accelerate and climb. He then throttled back to counter the plane’s increase in thrust so that the plane’s descent could resume."

"A transcript showed that Lee Jung Min (an instructor pilot monitoring the captain as part of his training) gave the command to abort the landing and climb 8.5 seconds after the initial speed warning."

In both these situations, they ignored that the plane was telling them something was wrong.

In this situation, better training and awareness of the automation and warning sensors could have averted the crash. More "fly by hand" would not likely have fixed the issue alone.


RE: should not have been flying
By MozeeToby on 12/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: should not have been flying
By Chaser on 12/12/2013 10:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In S. Korea, there are no private pilot licenses. There's too much concern that some idiot will either try to defect

South Koreans, don't do defections. You might want to have your head checked for reverse polar syndrome.


The lineup
By DigitalFreak on 12/12/13, Rating: 0
RE: The lineup
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: The lineup
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 1:35:16 PM , Rating: 1
What, too soon?


RE: The lineup
By Monkey's Uncle on 12/12/2013 2:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
Um... it's an Asian airline -.-


RE: The lineup
By Reclaimer77 on 12/12/2013 2:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
That was the joke! :)


RE: The lineup
By retrospooty on 12/12/2013 3:11:20 PM , Rating: 1
I would have thought they would be more likely to merge onto another runway/taxi lane without looking and bump another plane than to botch the landing though ;)


practice flight?
By milktea on 12/14/2013 2:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
"... entered certain parameters into the flight-management and auto-throttle systems that day, leading the plane to believe he wanted to accelerate and climb. He then throttled back to counter the plane’s increase in thrust so that the plane’s descent could resume."

From the description, it sounded like he's was practicing landing. But with a plane full of real/live passengers, the pilot should not be in the practice mode or doing drills. They should know exactly what to do to land that plane (given that both the weather and ground conditions were normal). Who allow that pilot to do such is irresponsible.




RE: practice flight?
By sorry dog on 12/16/2013 1:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
touch and go's are not usually not in large transport planes. The gear is engineered for certain amount of use for a given number of cycles and hours and practice would throw that out of balance. On top of that, tires and brake linings aren't cheap either.

In fact, even air force planes like F-16's are rarely used this way even for student training for the above reason.

Most SLF (self loading freight) would probably be surprised, but it's pretty normal for pilot training to be done on revenue flights. It's safe as long as there is a competent person sitting in the front row...


10,000 hours
By ssobol on 12/13/2013 11:10:05 AM , Rating: 2
The pilot flying the 777 is reported to have 10,000 hours of logged time. What was he doing all that time that left him uncomfortable in making a normal landing? Surely he must have made a few previous landings. Flying one big airliner is not that different from flying any other when it comes down to the basics such as landing. The control layout may be different (e.g. Airbus vs. Boeing) but the principles and aerodynamics are exactly the same (particularly when it comes to maintaining the proper speed).




RE: 10,000 hours
By DT_Reader on 12/16/2013 12:39:46 PM , Rating: 1
His experience was almost entirely with Airbus, not Boeing. They have very different philosophies when it comes to flight controls, and pilots need proper training to adjust. For example, when on autothrottle the Airbus throttles just sit there, while the Boeing throttles are back-driven so they move. When this pilot saw them move he wasn't familiar with that and he put them back where they were, overriding the autothrottle and leading to an un-recoverable situation. This is entirely pilot error due to poor training.


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