Meanwhile the world is still shocked by the accident of San Francisco and the media and experts are raising hypotheses of what could have happened, the NTSB is trying to piece together the elements that caused the accident of Asiana 214.
Although Deborah Hersman, head of the NTSB is careful to draw or speculate premature conclusions, the Flight Data Recorder shows that the Boeing 777, one of the aircrafts with the highest safety records in the industry, was flying well below the calculated Vref. (Reference Speed at 50ft above runway threshold) at the moment of impact with the seawall of Runway 28L at San Francisco Airport – KSFO.
The FDR shows that the pilots disconnected the autopilot 82 seconds before the impact, three seconds prior to the impact the aircraft was flying at 103 Knots, well below the Vref of 137 Knots.
Media and news has made so much speculation during these days about the low time on the aircraft of Capt. Lee Gang-guk, the pilot in charge of the controls at the time of the accident. Although in a critical moment, this can be a factor, there was a 12.500 hrs. instructor with him with more than 3.000 hrs. on the Boeing 777 working on his familiarization with the aircraft.
Consulted about the experience of the pilot in command of Asiana 214, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger stated: “Everybody’s new on an airplane at some point in their career”
More than three years ago, a Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800, Flight 1951, crashed during approach to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers and crew including all three pilots. Although the cause of this accident was a malfunctioning auto-throttle, this accident had similarities with the Asiana 214.
In both cases:
– The aircrafts stalled due to the low flying speed.
– There were pilots in training in both aircraft.
– Both flights had highly qualified instructors on the type giving training.
– Both crews were unaware of the dangerously low speed.
– Both accidents occurred during the approach phase.
– Both crews had a late reaction to the impending stall.
– Both crews didn’t report to the air traffic controllers that there were problems with the aircraft.
– In both accidents, the crews tried to abort the landing prior to the impact.
All we can make up to here is only speculations, the investigation of Asiana 214 can take up to 18 months and reality shows that is always very easy to talk in the comfort of our home pointing what could have been done and another completely different history is to be behind the controls of an aircraft with an individual and his life story.
Author: Capt. Ivan
Chairman Hersman briefs media on Asiana Flight 214 (July 7, 2013)
Video B Roll of wreckage from the Asiana flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport
Amateur video of Asiana 214 Crash at San Francisco – KSFO