NTSB Finds Pilot Error Caused Asiana Crash in 2013
The National Transportation Safety Board said that the flight crew that crashed a Boeing 777 aircraft against the sea wall at San Francisco International Airport was to blame for the accident that killed three people and left more than 180 injured.
The Asiana pilots, according to the NTSB, missed multiple cues that they had done something wrong in the seconds before the crash that occurred the morning of July 6, 2013.
The findings were revealed at a meeting of the board Tuesday, and were simultaneously translated into Korean, the native language of the pilots, and Mandarin, the native language of many of the passengers on board the flight.
“Automation has unquestionably made aviation safer and more efficient. But the more complex automation becomes, the more challenging it is to ensure that the pilots adequately understand it,” said NTSB acting chairman Christopher Hart in opening the session. “In this instance, the flight crew over-relied on automated systems that they did not fully understand. As a result, they flew the aircraft too low and too slow and collided with the seawall at the end of the runway,” he added.
The pilot “lacked critical manual flying skills,” said Roger Cox, chairman of the NTSB’s operations group, and also “needed more active coaching.”
Cox also said that the pilot showed “poor awareness of altitude and airspeed,” and that a second caption, who was training the pilot in charge, did not intervene. Investigators reported that the crew had been counting on the auto-throttle to keep the aircraft’s speed in a safe range.
Another board member, Robert Sumwalt, who is a former airline pilot, said that many pilots do not understand when the auto-throttle will work and when it won’t.
Out of 291 passengers, three were killed. The NTSB credited the plane’s flight attendants for evacuating the aircraft despite the pilot’s orders to wait.
The 2013 crash was the first fatal passenger airline accident in the United States in more than four years.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)