Pilot In Asiana Crash Was Worried About Automated System

Three died and more than 150 were injured in the crash

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Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

In this Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial file photo, the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane is seen after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET on Dec. 11

The pilot who flew the Asiana plane that crash-landed in July in San Francisco said he was “not so confident” with the auto-flight landing system and “very concerned” about his ability to land the plane himself moments before the crash that killed three people, officials said Wednesday.

The pilot, Lee Kang-Kuk, said he thought the auto-throttle was “always working” during the botched landing, but investigators found that auto-throttle changed from “thrust” to “hold” when the plane was 1,600 feet in the air, which would disengage the automated system, USA Today reports. The runway’s automated landing aids were under construction on the day of the crash, and Lee told investigators that it was difficult to do a visual landing with such a large plane.

More than 150 people were injured in the crash.

Lee is an experienced pilot, but he was still training on the 777, according to the report by the National Transportation Safety Board released at the start of a daylong hearing on the crash Wednesday.

The NTSB released this new video of the crash on Wednesday afternoon:

Two other Asiana pilots told investigators that they reminded Lee in April that if the auto-throttle goes to “hold,” it won’t automatically re-engage in descent. And a pilot that  flew with Lee just two days before the crash told NTSB investigators that he was concerned about Lee’s familiarity with the aircraft, and that he seemed “not well organized or prepared,” the Associated Press reports. 

The Asiana crash was the first fatal plane crash in the U.S. in almost five years.

This story has been updated with the new NTSB video of the crash.

[USA Today]

3 comments
jimmyharpoon
jimmyharpoon

The pilot was the guy "signing" at the Mandela memorial.

tsvskibum
tsvskibum

If a pilot cannot make a manual in the aircraft he is flying then, he should not be flying the plane.  To depend on automated system to land is folly.  This technology should only be used as backup.  When given a visual approach clearance to land, then the pilot should land the plane.

In addition, it is incumbent on the "pilot not flying" to take control of the aircraft once it is observed the aircraft commander is not flying the plane which in this case is obvious.  Given the radar trace, it is clear  Mr. Lee was not in full control, he was way behind the plane from at least 10 mile final (the other side of the bay). 

tsvskibum
tsvskibum

...that is: cannot make a manual landing...

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