Pilot in SF Crash Was Still Training
It was his first attempt to land 777 at SFO
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2013 4:11 AM CDT
This image released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the interior of the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines Flight 214 aircraft.    (AP Photo/NTSB)

(Newser) – The pilot in Saturday's plane crash in San Francisco was a veteran with almost 10,000 hours of flying experience—but just 43 of them were in a Boeing 777 and the disaster that killed two people and injured 182 others was his first attempt to land that type of aircraft at the site. Asiana Airlines pilot Lee Kang-kook was still in training for the jet and was being assisted by a co-pilot with more than 3,000 hours of flight experience with the 777, Reuters reports.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators haven't settled on pilot error as the cause of the crash but the investigation is focusing on why the plane came in to land at "significantly below" the right speed and why the crew didn't try to abort the landing until 1.5 seconds before the crash, the Wall Street Journal reports. The airline's chief executive says he does not believe the crash—the first fatal one involving a 777—was caused by mechanical failure.

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
1492
Jul 8, 2013 11:37 PM CDT
Lee Gang may have been landing the craft...but there were 3 other pilots including the Captain in the cockpit. Airport computer system was down for that runway. Air traffic Controler had a duty to advise the pilots, and had a duty to receive confirmation from the pilots. While it was the co-pilot's error, he wasn't in charge. 10 hour night flight will put anyone in a trance. Bottom line, these pilots should have been totally aware of San Francisco's airport lack of computer landing or takeoff system before they left Seol, South Korea. Yes I am correct but it doesn't change the outcome. Prayers for all involved, especially the parents of the two young girls who perished. 1492
crackalacka
Jul 8, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
Major airlines pay around $36K for a fully trained 'career pilot.' Less for smaller airlines. They have to get second jobs and are often fatigued and under-trained. What do people expect? I'm not speaking directly to this pilot, since all the details aren't out - but greedy CEOs and business owners need to understand that higher pay attracts higher skills and competition. Sully Sullenberger made a big point about this and it fell on deaf ears.
RidersOnTheStorm
Jul 8, 2013 7:08 AM CDT
They had the doomed jet's throttles set to idle and it was moving so slowly that it nearly stalled before it smashed into the seawall. Out of airspeed, out of altitude, out of options. Aviation experts were surprised that the jetliner's throttles were apparently idling at such a low altitude, which would have caused a lag time when they were finally pushed. "If you do that prior to impact, you're not going to have enough time to advance the throttles," said Barry Schiff, a former pilot for TWA who has written extensively about aviation safety. "You should always make an approach with power, and they didn't do that." He added, "These pilots have a lot of explaining to do." cell phone video of approach and crash http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/item/Video-shows-Asiana-flight-s-moment-of-impact-at-22461.php