July 8, 2013

San Francisco crash investigators turn to cockpit decisions

Authorities also say a fire truck may have accidentally run over one of the teenagers killed in the crash at San Francisco International Airport.

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

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An unidentified family member of the two girls killed during the Asiana Airlines plane crash on Saturday, cries at the Asiana Airlines counter as she and other family members check infer the flight to San Francisco at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, Monday, July 8, 2013. The Asiana Airlines flight crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing at least two people, injuring dozens of others and forcing passengers to jump down the emergency inflatable slides to safety as flames tore through the plane. The flight originated in Shanghai, China, and stopped over in Seoul, South Korea, before coming to San Francisco, airport officials said. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

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In this Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial photo, the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 lies on the ground after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco. The pilot at the controls of airliner had just 43 hours of flight time in the Boeing 777 and was landing one for the first time at San Francisco International. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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NTSB crash findings

Asiana Flight 214 makes its final approach after a 10-hour flight that started in Shanghai and stopped in Seoul. A preliminary review of the crash by federal investigators turns up the following:

APPROACH PROCEEDS NORMALLY ... the plane receives clearance from air traffic control to land without its instrument landing system. Visibility is about 10 miles with winds out of the southwest at 7 knots. There are no distress calls or requests for support in the air traffic control tapes that captured the discussion between a controller and the Asiana crew.

PLANE DESCENDS ... at 1,600 feet and 82 seconds before impact the autopilot disengages. At 1,400 feet and 73 seconds before impact, the plane's speed is about 196 mph. At 1,000 feet and 54 seconds before impact, the plane slows to about 171 mph. At 500 feet and 34 seconds before impact, the plane is traveling at about 154 mph, and at 200 feet and 16 seconds before impact, the plane is traveling at 136 mph.

EIGHT SECONDS OUT ... at an altitude of 125 feet, the throttles began moving forward. The plane is traveling at about 129 mph.

SEVEN SECONDS OUT ... the crew asks to increase its air speed.

FOUR SECONDS OUT ... the stick shaker, a yolk the pilots hold, begins shaking, indicating the plane could stall.

THREE SECONDS OUT ... the plane is traveling at 119 mph, the slowest speed recorded by the flight data recorder. That is 39 mph below the approximately 158 mph it should have been going as it crossed the runway. The engines are at 50 percent power and engine power is increasing.

1.5 SECONDS OUT ... the crew calls to abort the landing and go around for another try.

CRASH ... the plane, traveling at 122 mph, hits a seawall. The controller declares an emergency. The pilots talk to air traffic control and emergency vehicles are deployed.

The flight originated in Shanghai, China, and stopped over in Seoul, South Korea, before making the nearly 11-hour trip to San Francisco.

NTSB investigators are also sure to examine whether pilot fatigue played a role in the accident, which occurred after a 10-hour nighttime flight. As is typical for long flights, four pilots were aboard, allowing the crew to take turns flying and resting. But pilots who regularly fly long routes say it's difficult to get restful sleep on planes.

The accident occurred in the late morning in San Francisco, but in Seoul it was 3:37 a.m.

"Fatigue is there. It is a factor," said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines chief international pilot. "At the end of a 10-hour flight, regardless of whether you have had a two-hour nap or not, it has been a long flight."

The two teenagers killed in the crash were close friends and top students.

Wang Linjia showed talent in physics and calligraphy; Ye Mengyuan was a champion gymnast who excelled in literature. Both were part of a trend among affluent Chinese families willing to spend thousands of dollars to send their children to the U.S. for a few weeks in the summer to practice English and hopefully boost their chances of attending a U.S. college — considered better than China's alternatives by many Chinese families.

The girls posted their last messages on their microblog accounts Thursday and Friday. The last posting from Wang said simply, "Go."

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Additional Photos

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This aerial photo shows a United Airlines plane sitting on the adjacent runway next to the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013.

AP

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Deborah Hersman of the National Transportation Safety Board speaks at a news conference , Monday, July 8, 2013 in South San Francisco, Calif. An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed.

AP

 


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