Korean Pilots Rely on Autopilot: Aviators
They're not trained much on manual flying, pilots say
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2013 8:28 AM CDT
This July 6, 2013, file photo shows the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 on the ground after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(Newser) – A potentially telling revelation in the wake of the Asiana Airlines crash landing at the San Francisco airport: Asiana pilots have little training on manual flying and visual approaches, according to three pilots Bloomberg spoke to who have either flown for Asiana or helped train Korean crews. One of the three recalls preparing to land an Asiana jet at LAX and asking his Korean co-pilot to make a visual approach. The co-pilot couldn't do it, forcing the American captain to take over in order to avoid an accident. The co-pilot's explanation to him afterward: "I don't need to know this. We just don't do this." Explains the US captain, "You will never hear an Asiana pilot request a visual approach."

Since the Asiana pilots in the San Francisco incident were forced to use a visual approach due to the airport's closed glide slope, their manual flying skills are a focus for crash investigators. While hand-flying skills are integral in US pilot training, many experts say not just Korean pilots but other foreign pilots are deficient in that area, particularly since heavily automated planes are now the norm and many international flight crews spend most of their time on autopilot.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Aug 2, 2013 10:28 AM CDT
How can anyone get the pilot license without manual flying the plane knowledge, how may I ask? This is unbelievable.
Jul 23, 2013 8:25 AM CDT
That is just plain stupid and dumb, both on the pilots part to not even ask to learn, and the foreign airlines to think of not training a visual. What do you think will happen should the electricity go out at an airport? Or if a computer malfunction on the plane? Just stupid. Another reason not to let the auto industry go to auto-pilot on the cars - heaven help us if we have the blue screen of death occur at 70 mph. And unfortunately we have too many people who will jump into those cars, and in 10 years, won't even know how to turn a stupid steering wheel, or hit the brake, or even step on it. Just another example of dumbing down a whole society. I was reading another example where our education system is considering not teaching cursive because everyone uses electronics. So, now we're going to have a genneration who not only can't print worth their weight in salt, but can't sign legal documents either?
Jul 16, 2013 6:06 PM CDT
Why are we allowing such ill trained pilots to land at our airports if the government knows of this situation with foreign pilots?