News

No sign automatic equipment failed in plane crash

No sign automatic equipment failed in plane crash

Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is engulfed in smoke on the tarmac after a crash landing at San Francisco International Airport in California July 6, 2013 in this handout photo provided by passenger Eugene Anthony Rah, released to Reuters on July 8, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Eugene Anthony Rah/Handout

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – There are no signs of failure of the autopilot or other key automatic flight equipment on the Asiana plane that crashed in San Francisco last week, the head of National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.

“There is no anomalous behavior of the autopilot, of the flight director, and of the auto-throttles, based on the FDR (flight data recorder) data reviewed to date,” NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman told a news conference, referring to the flight data recorder from the Boeing 777.

The plane, carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew from Seoul to San Francisco, hit a seawall in front of the runway on Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring 180 others.

The tail section of an Asiana Airlines plane hit a seawall in front of the runway at San Francisco International airport, and initial information from the NTSB investigation shows that it was flying much too slowly in the final stages of the approach.

The plane’s pilots have said in interviews with the NTSB that an electronic control known as an auto-throttle had been set to keep the plane flying at the proper speed, according to Hersman, and it remains unclear why the jet lost speed and why the pilots failed to notice the problem.

Hersman said the cockpit voice recorder showed that none of the three pilots on the flight deck said anything about speed until about 9 seconds before the crash. One of the pilots did raise a concern about “sink rate,” or the speed of descent, prior to that, but Hersman did not provide further details.

The charred wreckage of the plane will be cut up and removed from the airport runway beginning on Thursday evening, Hersman said.

A final report on the crash will likely come in about a year.

In five detailed press briefings since the crash, Hersman has painted a picture of a flight crew that inexplicably failed to correct a doomed approach as the plane came in too low, too slow and off-center on a clear day with little wind. She has declined to speculate on the cause of the crash.

The briefings have drawn criticism from an airline pilots union and others, who say the release of so much information from flight recorders and other sources at an early stage of the investigation has unfairly suggested the pilots were at fault.

The pilot flying the plane when it crashed was still in training for the Boeing 777, and the instructor pilot who was in charge of the aircraft was on his first flight as a trainer.

Recent Headlines

in Local

The City of Yankton’s Sales Taxes Have Turned Around

Money Coins

After some errors by the state revenue department, the sales taxes for Yankton are looking much better.

in Local

Wanted: Marina Operator

Boater

The current lease for the operation of the marina at the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area is set to expire at the end of this year, and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is looking for someone interested in taking over.

in Local

Transportation Bill Is Short Term Fix

Road Construction

Before adjourning earlier this month, Congress passed another short term transportation bill. That bill continues the bulk of funding for highway construction projects across the country, but only until next spring.

in Local

District 40 Candidates Debate

WP-Microphone

The two candidates for the District 40 Senate seat in the Nebraska Unicameral debated this week in Hartington.

in Local

Raise For Social Security Recipients

Money Coins

Folks on Social Security will see a one point seven percent increase in their benefits starting on January first.