Asiana Flight 214

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MacNut, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #1
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2013/07/08/asiana-airlines-san-francisco-crash/2497769/

    Is SFO the best place for a pilot training on the 777 to land?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    IGregory

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    #2
    I think the critical question is how much training did the pilot have on the 777 before flying the 777 with passengers on board. It seems the pilot miscalculated his approach. I mean how do one land a plane short of the runway. i don't know about SFO but at the Atlanta Airport a pilot can land halfway down the runway and still have enough room to stop.

    i guess we will have to wait for the final report. What I don't understand is what the hell were the trainers doing. Didn't either of them recognize the landing would be short before the pilot had to commit to the landing.
     
  3. macrumors 68020

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    #3
    The fact that it was at San Francisco is 100% irrelevant. I'm a professional pilot. We can land at any airport. Of all the airports I've been to, there was always a first time. What else would you expect?

    Think about you. How many times have you driven your car to someplace you've never been? And how many times have you arrived safely? Is there any reason to think you wouldn't make it safely just because you haven't been there before?
     
  4. macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I'm not a pilot, and I've notice several news outlets keep harping on the 43 hours, but it seems like there would be training and time in a simulator before they take the controls of a new aircraft.

    Is that the case?
     
  5. macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #5
    He's flown into KSFO plenty of times in the 747. And the fact the ILS was out of service is irrelevant. Pilots should be able to do a visual approach with no problems. And the PAPI's were working so he had that to help him judge his glide path to the runway. The weather was perfect for that day. Clear and only 7 knots of wind. Weather was not a factor and an ILS was not necessary.

    What it appears to me at least is they were looking outside the whole time and thinking the auto throttles were maintaining 137 knots. So when they got below the glide slope, they pitched up and thinking the auto throttles would increase power to maintain 137 knots. When in reality, the auto throttles were disengaged( don't know how they got disengaged). As as they pitched up to get back on glide slope, they were getting slower and slower which would require to increase pitch again to compensate for the decreased amount of lift. They realized the slow speed at 7 seconds before impact. Instead of going around, they tried to save the unstabilized approach.

    It was a poor scan and failing to execute a go around in a timely manner from the information that we know already.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Yes, of course. When we transition to a new airplane, our training consists (rough estimate) of 40-60 hours of dedicated academic instruction on the new airplane, followed by about 60 hours of simulator training ending in an FAA check ride (for US airlines). While 60 hours in the sim might not seem like much, consider that a non-pilot off the street can earn a private certificate in as little as 40 hours. We are already highly experienced so we're concentrating on learning the flying qualities of the airplane, mastering the automation, and mastering the emergency procedures.

    After the sim check ride, we fly supervised on the line with an instructor for another 25 hours before we are on our own. That's probably what this guy was doing.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #7
    If this guy had an instructor on board why did he not figure out that the plane was too low and too slow.
     
  8. macrumors 68020

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    #8
    I hate speculation, but I think in the end it will come down to culture. Western pilots are trained that rank/status/crew position should never come in the way of safety. We question. We speak out. We share. Everyone has pieces of information that may be important to safety and good decision making.

    In other cultures, there are strict social hierarchies in the cockpit and junior crew members are often reluctant to speak up.
     
  9. Huntn, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013

    macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #9
    For those who know more, my impression (which could be in error) is that this Captain was being trained during OE?

    If so, for OE (Operating Experience), the term used for training a new pilot on an aircraft, (after simulator checkout), SFO is the perfect place to go with Instructor Pilot supervision. This is to ensure the new pilot becomes familiar with the gotchas and can get in and out of an airport without "issues". It does not matter if you've been there before in a different plane. One a new plane, it's a new checkout even to airports you been to before. If your not familiar, OE comes after the pilot has been qualified in the simulator which is considered as good as the airplane. However as an acknowledgement that the simulator is not real life, pilots new to an aircraft are accompanied by an instructor during their on-aircraft checkout (OE) to be sure they have their heads on right.

    From what I've read, I'm not sure if the person in the right seat was a Captain, a First Officer, or an Instructor. Based on U.S. standards I assume he was a Captain Instructor and his sole purpose was to make sure this new Captain gained the experience of operating into and out of SFO without getting into trouble.

    SFO is located in a congested area. The approaches to the West for SFO are offset ILS LDA PRM Approaches (Instrument Landing System, Localizer Directional Aid, Precision Runway Monitor) which not inherently dangerous, have some factors that can be dangerous, such as converging flight paths, and are more complicated than standard ILSs. Although I don't know if it is required, it's not unusual for pilots to receive specific training for specific airports. SFO is one of those airports. These approaches can be conducted in VFR conditions. In addition there are separate chartered visual approaches. This explains why you'd want a new Captain to be accompanied into SFO with an instructor during the OE period.

    Either OE is when this would happen or depending on the airline, a Captain would not be allowed to fly into an airport (with known congestion or terrain issues) until he was checked out for that airport. This is usually done with an Instructor flying in the right seat or in the jump seat. There are several mountain stations which are considered dangerous and usually require some kind of a Captain checkout.

    However, that said, based on what has been reported, (I missed the news conference), I view the accident as pilot error, possibly fatigue, and not because SFO is a difficult airport to land at. There maybe more congestion and distraction, but the mechanics of landing the airplane are basically the same as anywhere else. It's very basic for the pilot flying to keep the airplane on speed and on a desired approach path (vertical and horizontal parameters).

    The instructor pilot, the guy really responsible is more accountable than the Captain trainee for keeping the fight within parameters at all times, especially during approach. Deviations occur when something disrupts normal habit patterns, normal habit patterns are not firmly in place, aircraft malfunction, or just not paying attention, possibly due to fatigue or slow to see a deviation developing.

    In the absence of mechanical malfunction, instructors are supposed to be the sharp ones who will not allow this kind of deviation to happen. Even when tired, the approach portion of the flight usually raises pilots to a higher degree of awareness due to the demands of being in a position to land and avoiding a hard landing, something pilots really hate to allow. This accident is well beyond this, it's a stall on approach followed by a crash landing. If they had been a little higher when it happened, they might have been able to do a go around or there could have been no survivors.
     
  10. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #10
    I think that this is an appropriate reaction so far.

    Incidentally, I flew into SFO on Sunday, and it was quite creepy to view the burnt and collapsed plane still sitting there on the ground as we landed (naturally it will take time to investigate and clean it up).
     
  11. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #11
    They had an eye witness talk about the airplane "kart wheeling" down the runway, from what I know, totally in error.
     
  12. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #12
    I was truly appalled to hear that people in the front of the plane actually took their baggage with them as they evacuated. I realize people are jaded with the airlines and they really love their stuff, but holy crap!
     
  13. macrumors demi-god

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    #13
    According to CNN, "The pilot sitting next to him was serving as an instructor pilot for the first time'.
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    Tinmania

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    #14
    I believe he did try to spool up for a go-around but it was too late.

    Some have speculated that the slam dunk approaches at SFO could have had them using FLCH, where autothrottle is inhibited.

    As usual it will likely be several factors but I think it will involve the lack of ILS (yes, that "should" not be a problem but if it didn't help we wouldn't have it), ATC's call for rapid descent, and pilot inexperience. Don't think there will be any mechanical issues.



    Michael
     
  15. macrumors demi-god

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    #15
    This was surprising for me to read:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/09/world/asia/asiana-flight-attendant/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

    If that's accurate, it almost sounds like to me, the folks in the front of the plane had no idea how bad the back was.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Tinmania

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    #16
    I don't think the passengers, with the plane splattered on the ground and smoke already beginning to enter, waited on the flight attendant before getting the hell out of there. Taking carry-ons, however, was really a low-point. Hate to think any delays caused by that contributed to a fatality.

    If it is true that an emergency vehicle ran over one of the two fatalities that would really be a shame. Surviving a hull loss airliner crash, only to get killed by a an emergency responder. Dang.



    Michael
     
  17. macrumors 603

    mobilehaathi

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    #17
    Given that people did grab their bags implies they did not know how bad it was in the back. Although that is no excuse, in fact I think it reinforces the point!
     
  18. macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #18
    Yes, he did try to go around 1.5 seconds before impact. But given the slow airspeed and the time it takes for turbines to spool up, it was too late. Hence why I said failed to execute a go around in a timely manner. He should have went around at 7 seconds instead of trying to save that approach.

    An ILS is for an approach during IMC( instrument meteorological conditions) when when you can't do a visual approach where visibility is crap and clouds are at 300 ft( though a CAT III ILS can have worse conditions than that).

    Weather was ideal for visual approaches. Doing an ILS was not necessary. The PAPI was functioning so it would have given the pilots a visual way to judge their glide path to the runway.
     
  19. macrumors 68030

    Tinmania

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    #19
    I read the account of that "eye witness" too. Can only assume he was lost in Sioux City.



    Michael
     
  20. macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #20
    CNN got it wrong. It was the first time this pilot was landing (and this is big here) at KSFO. The guy had over 10,000 flight hours logged. He had only 43 in this aircraft type.

    I'm short, the PIC was no slouch, but this was his first time landing at KSFO. If he needed an instructor for that, fair enough. But that's where it ends, as he has enough hours to BE an instructor in his own right.

    BL.
     
  21. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #21
    As far as basic flying skills, should not have made a difference. Maintaining speed on approach is not that difficult. If the instrutor saw them getting slow, he should of given verbal commands to increase speed, and if the response not satisfactory, taken the controls and bumped up the power. Another issue with highly automated planes is that if you take away automation such as auto throttles, there is more opportunity to deviate for a pilot who typically relies on automation. For a visual approach, they may well have disabled automation, but then they should be really vigilant regarding the pitfalls.

    The slam dunk potential is well out on the approach, maybe 10-20 miles out. If you don't get down, the tendency would be to get fast trying to get down, this is possible and once acquiring the visual glide slope, then if a proper power correction was not made and they got slow.

    As far as I know as a former A320 pilot, auto throttles do not have to inhibited for slam dunk approaches. Boeings might be different or they may have opted to turn them off for the sake of a manual approach.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors Core

    MacNut

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  23. macrumors G3

    Huntn

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    #23
    They bring you in high above normal altitudes for a stabilized decent and expect you go dive the airplane down to a normal approach path. This is only a real problem if they expect you to do this close-in within about 5 miles where the aircraft should be stable. What well traveled passengers would note is a steeper than normal decent angle, in essence, the nose pointed down more.

    For a visual approach, the absolute latest that the plane should be stable (configured, on speed, and on glideslope, in a position to land) is at 1000' above the ground or a go around should be initiated.
     
  24. macrumors demi-god

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    #24
    Agreed, but am wondering if the lack of experience instructing caused any hesitation on the part of the instructor pilot to correct the trainee pilot. Guess the cockpit voice recorders will answer that sooner than later.


    Hmm, I was quoting CNN talking about about the instructor pilot, not the trainee pilot. The quote above sounds like it's referring to the trainee pilot. :confused:
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    #25
    There's crazy long thread on FlyerTalk about this - look in the Asiana Club part of the forums.

    Some observations:

    * I too was appalled when I saw pictures of hand baggage outside of the plane. HOWEVER, given that the overheads collapsed, it could be that luggage was strewn about the cabin and the best thing to do was to take some with you to actually help with egress. I'll also note that some passengers also did this after the BA 777 crash at LHR. Some of it is habit, of course.

    * If you've seen the video of the crash, you'd understand why people (called "witnesses") used the term "cartwheel." Yes, we here know it was not exactly the right term, but it wasn't that far off either.

    * If indeed one of the survivors was run over, let's understand how chaotic and unclear the situation was, and there's additional limited visibility when they start spraying water, which they'd do while still moving towards the aircraft.

    Give the NTSB (and SFFD) time to sort through things.
     

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