Boeing Boeing 777 Crash Lands in San Francisco

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jim hardy

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The flight originated in Shanghai with a stopover in Seoul. I don't know where the flight crew started. Seoul to SF is a long flight, 4AM to 2:30PM, so I can imagine fatigue might have been a factor especialy if they started in China.

Apparently the approach was steep and fast.
That runway (28L) has the 4 light glideslope visual indicators on the ground for the pilot to align himself vertically, like these,
vasi.jpg

EDIT: all red lights says the pilot is too low, these red & white lights mean this pilot is on glideslope. (these have changed a bit since my day).

Also the radio glideslope was out for construction so he had to land the plane himself instead of letting the computer track the radio signal.. It's sounding more and more to me like just a bad landing. If the visual indicators were out too I can have some sympathy for the pilot - it's easy to get rusty from over-reliance on automation.
This could be one instance where the computer would have done a better job.
 
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nsaspook

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I'm having Air France flashbacks.
How does someone watch another fly the plane into the ground without doing something until 1.5 seconds before impact? I've seen this again and again with airline pilots, I've only flown a small plane a few times, each time with a trained pilot at my side also at the stick who corrected my every movement. If it turns out to be pilot error the "trainer" seems to be at fault too.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/world/asia/asiana-airlines-san-francisco-plane-crash.html?_r=0

“Ultimately, it’s the trainer pilot who is responsible for the flight,” Mr. Yoon, the Asiana president, said, referring to Lee Jeong-min, 49, the more experienced pilot who sat in the co-pilot’s seat when Lee Kang-guk was landing the plane. He had 3,220 hours of flying time with 777s.

“Familiarization flights” are part of the routine for pilots learning to fly a new kind of plane, officials at both the Transportation Ministry and Asiana said. At Asiana, the pilots are required to go through manual and simulator training — Asiana has run its own simulator training center since 1998 — and make 20 familiarization flights in the presence of more experienced “mentor” or “trainer” pilots.
 

russ_watters

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For those who don't remember/didn't see it, here is the Air France thread:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=317490&page=9

The basic cause of the Air France crash was the pilot at the time just plain did the opposite of what he needed to do to fly the plane - nearly constantly, for four minutes, while the plane dropped out of the sky from 35,000 feet. Under normal circumstances if you pull back on the stick the plane goes up and if you push forward, the plane goes down. But there are two cases where that logic reverses: stall and landing.

*If you are stalling, pulling back on the stick keeps the plane from gaining the speed it needs to recover from the stall.

*If you are landing, the nose-up attitude means the wings are generating a massive amount of drag and as a result, you control speed by varying the pitch and altitude (descent rate) with the throttle. If you are low and you respond by pulling back on the stick, you'll just lose speed and sink faster. Judging by reports of an unusually high nose-up attitude, it is quite possible that that error is what caused this crash.

Crashing on landing due to wrong control input (if that is indeed the cause) may seem like a spectacularly basic mistake for an experienced pilot and surprising that the captain didn't intervene sooner, but the Air France crash was much, much worse because of just how long the error was being made for before anyone realized and attempted to correct it. In this case, the captain (and of course the pilot) may have had just seconds to correct the error, while in the Air France case, they had minutes.

Jim said:
This could be one instance where the computer would have done a better job.
It seems to me like we may have reached a critical mass or tipping point where automation is causing pilots to become less skilled. 10,000 of flight time doesn't mean a whole lot if 9,500 of it was spent watching the autopilot fly the plane! In addition to the stupid mistakes, you also have to wonder how pilots with little stick-and-rudder time would do in true emergencies, such as in The Miracle on the Hudson (captain Sully was a military pilot and therefore had a ton of stick-and-rudder time).
 

Borg

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According to an accident investigator on ABC World News last night, the pilots took the plane completely off autopilot at 82 seconds before landing. They then failed to adjust engine thrust and left them at idle which caused them to fall well below the glide slope. The investigator interview is at the 7 minute mark in the video.
 

jim hardy

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For those who don't remember/didn't see it, here is the Air France thread:
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=317490&page=9

The basic cause of the Air France crash was the pilot at the time just plain did the opposite of what he needed to do to fly the plane - nearly constantly, for four minutes, while the plane dropped out of the sky from 35,000 feet. .....

...........................................................................
...........................
.............


It seems to me like we may have reached a critical mass or tipping point where automation is causing pilots to become less skilled. 10,000 of flight time doesn't mean a whole lot if 9,500 of it was spent watching the autopilot fly the plane! In addition to the stupid mistakes, you also have to wonder how pilots with little stick-and-rudder time would do in true emergencies, such as in The Miracle on the Hudson (captain Sully was a military pilot and therefore had a ton of stick-and-rudder time).
Bingo.
I'll add to that:
"If you want your pilot to[STRIKE] have [/STRIKE] build stick and rudder [STRIKE]skills[/STRIKE] time, you really oughta leave the stick and rudder in his plane."

Over-automation is mentioned here but it's in that between-the-lines "Execuspeak" language. Unfortunately i'm not yet skilled at cut&paste from PDF's.... see paragraph on page 4 starting with "These events can be explained by..."
http://www.bea.aero/fr/enquetes/vol.af.447/note05juillet2012.en.pdf

and here
http://spectrum.ieee.org/riskfactor/aerospace/aviation/air-france-flight-447-crash-caused-by-a-combination-of-factors
However, Troadec also made it very clear that BEA was not blaming the pilots alone for the accident:


“If the BEA thought that this accident was only down to the crew, we would not have made recommendations about the systems, the training, etc.”

He went on to say:


“What appears in the crew behavior is that most probably, a different crew should have done the same action. So, we cannot blame this crew. What we can say is that most probably this crew and most crews were not prepared to face such an event.”

In fact, BEA made a total of 25 recommendations (pdf) covering everything from better training of aircrews to changes in display logic to improvements in search and rescue. Training pilots to fly aircraft manually at high altitudes is seen as a major need.

Many of the recommendations also deal with the so-called “automation paradox,” i.e., which as I wrote about for IEEE Spectrum concerns the situation where “the more reliable the automation, the less the human operator may be able to contribute to that success. Consequently, operators are increasingly left out of the loop, at least until something unexpected happens. Then the operators need to get involved quickly and flawlessly.”

I lived on an airstrip with seven airline captains for neighbors.
There's a saying among them: "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going."

Seriously - I really do check the equipment listing on my flight itinerary to avoid Airbuses.

old jim
 
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jim hardy

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interesting discussion of the approach here:

http://flyingprofessors.net/what-happened-to-asiana-airlines-flight-214-2/

He compares this landing to one by another 777 ten minutes earlier from an energy perspective..

On the other hand, AAR214 was never on a stabilized approach. Until about 30 sec before touchdown, it was high and fast. Only 3 miles out, it's 20 or 25 knots too fast, and 500 feet high. As a result, the pilot no doubt reduced power to intercept the glideslope from above. 1.5 nm out (nominally less than 40 sec from touchdown), he's finally on glideslope and at V ref , but with a high sink rate on low engine power. If he applied power at that point, the engines would take some time (a few seconds) to spool up, and he would further sink below glide slope, slow down, or both.

The situation can be appreciated more precisely (but more technically) by looking at the total energy of the aircraft, that is, the sum of the potential energy due to altitude plus the kinetic energy due to velocity. The total energy is given by


E=mgh+1 2 mv 2

where m is the mass of the aircraft, g is the acceleration due to gravity, h is the height of the aircraft, and v is the velocity. Because we don't know the weight of the aircraft, it's convenient to normalize the energy by mg , yielding the energy height

h E =h+v 2 2g

The plot below compares the energy height for the two aircraft:
energy.png


Note that the energy of UAL852 decreases at a steady rate until about 6 nm out, where the rate of energy dissipation increases, because the aircraft is slowing. At about 3.5 nm out, the rate decreases, because the aircraft has hit its target approach speed and stops slowing down.

AAR214 has a much different trajectory. At about 3 nm out, the rate of energy dissipation increases a lot, because the aircraft is both too high and too fast. As a result, the power is reduced significantly, perhaps even to near idle, in order to simultaneously slow the aircraft and get it down to the glideslope. At about 1.5 nm out, it has about the right airspeed and altitude (and therefore energy), but the energy continues to decrease precipitously. If the pilot added enough power at this point, a safe landing might have been possible. But it takes several seconds for the engines to spool up, and the pilot may not have added enough power or done so early enough, so both the altitude and airspeed continue to decrease below their desired values. Indeed, at the last radar return, AAR214 would have been near its stall speed, and unable to pull up.
disclaimer - it's not an official report. But it looked apropos for a physics forum...

old jim
 

AlephZero

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Where was the supervision? How is it that an inexperience pilot is given the responsibility of landing such an aircraft. He apparently had never landed a 777 at SFO.
Apparently he had plenty of hours experience on other aircraft types, though only 40-50 hours on the 777. Most of the other experience should be direct read-across, right back to his first solo flight.

Looking at the amateur video of the crash, it would be hard to think of a simpler situation for a first visual approach landing. Perfect weather, no wind, approach over water so no thermal turbulence, no obstructions like a mountain in an inconvenient place, etc...

The landing speeds etc for all commercial jet aircraft are very similar - basically because air traffic control have a much easier job if everybody is flying at the same speed and keeping the same distance apart. So even if he couldn't remember the exact design landing speed for a 777, he should have known the right ballpark figure.

The other pilot should have been checking the basics, of course, but asssuming this guy knew how to fly at all, what he did doesn't make much sense to me yet...

...the pilots took the plane completely off autopilot at 82 seconds before landing...
...and that makes no sense at all to me, unless the pilot in command (i.e. the "trainiee") decided to go around (a prefectly sensible decision IMO), but the "instructor" said "no, you can do it kid, just go for it..."

(Pure speculation, but there have been studies of the problems caused in cultures which naturally defer to authority rather than assertively challenge it when necessary)
 
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AlephZero

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It seems the "trainee pilot" was half way through his 777-specific training (i.e. about 50 hours of 100)

However the "instructor pilot" was flying in that role for the first time :eek:. That might explain a lot. The fact that you can do something doesn't mean you know how to teach, or supervise others!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23249012
 

nsaspook

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http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_07_09_2013_p0-595503.xml

The instructor pilot in command of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 arriving into San Francisco on July 6 said he had assumed the aircraft’s autothrottle system would keep the aircraft flying at 137 kt. as he and the “pilot-flying” in the left seat guided the 777-200ER to Runway 28L in visual conditions.

Too low and slow on the approach, the aircraft clipped the sea wall leading to the runway threshold with its main landing gear and tail as the pilots attempted to abort the landing. The left-seat pilot was in the process of getting qualified to fly the 777 for the Seoul, South Korea-based airline.
...
The 777 continued to slow as the pilots attempted to “correct a lateral deviation” as it descended from 500 ft. to 200 ft. “At 200 ft., the four PAPIs were red and the airspeed was in the hatched area,” says Hersman. The “hatched” markings on an airspeed tape warn pilots of an impending stall. The instructor pilot at that point recognized that the autothrottle was not maintaining speed and established a nose-high go-around attitude. He attempted to push the throttles forward for more power, but says the pilot-flying had already done so.

Information from the flight data recorder showed that the pilots first increased engine power from flight idle at 125 ft. altitude, reaching 50% thrust 3 sec. before impact.
Not knowing your true air speed while landing when the indicator is right in front of your eyes is inexcusable.
 

OmCheeto

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http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_07_09_2013_p0-595503.xml

Not knowing your true air speed while landing when the indicator is right in front of your eyes is inexcusable.
It depends on how many indicators are in front of your eyes.

3224878652_1b80b9a1ce.jpg

A well trained operator would know which one to focus on. An operator with too little experience would be overwhelmed, IMHO.

I believe this may be why they replaced gauges in automobiles with idiot lights. The average person simply can't process that much information, in an emergency situation.

I use the above image, only as an example, as I manned all three of those stations, many, many years ago, and kept the reactor from melting down one day, during a very unexpected "event".

hmmm..... Strange to think I could be that competent, being only 22 years old.
Yesterday, I refused to cross the street. (There were cars!)
 

jim hardy

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esp minutes 22 thru 25
 
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nsaspook

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It depends on how many indicators are in front of your eyes.

A well trained operator would know which one to focus on. An operator with too little experience would be overwhelmed, IMHO.
I have very limited flight experience but that big indicator in center focus of each pilot in front of each wheel is hard to miss. All of the data so far from this crash points to a lack of energy to stabilize the flight path that should have been detected and corrected with plenty of time to spare.
i-Br8cbkK.jpg


777 flight console:
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3202/3046863641_563cd759c8_o.jpg
 

nsaspook

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(flight path information starts at about 10:00 in the video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1GopE_siVY&feature=youtu.be
Now that we have the final NTSB onsite media update on the crash it's almost certain that pilot error will be the cause of this accident. It's a good thing Boeing makes one hell of a airplane with a wing that seems to have stopped a rollover and possible massive loss of life.

OB-YC483_asiana_EA_20130708012934.jpg

Boeing 777 wing test:
 
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Borek

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Another, slightly (un)related crash landing:

 
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Borg

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nsaspook

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I'm going to hell for laughing at that. :devil:
 

Borg

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Borg

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NTSB: Intern confirmed bogus crew names in San Francisco crash
Just too many interesting questions there. Who came up with the list? How did it get distributed to the media? Did the intern know it was a joke or was the intern just cluelessly confirming the names from the same press release? Can't wait for the congressional investigation for this one. :rolleyes:
Yup. Just a matter of time...

Asiana considering legal action over TV broadcast.
An Asiana statement said it's mulling legal measures against both KTVU-TV and the NTSB because the report "badly damaged" the reputation of the airline and its pilots.
 
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I've never flown a real aircraft, but I have a lot of experience with MS Flight Sim. So fyi, that is what I'm basing my analysis on. The jumbo jets are much more difficult to land manually (I understand the ILS was not operational for this runway?) than are the lighter aircraft. I have most of my experience with the 737, but I have flown the 777 occasionally. One thing I've noticed about the 777 is that it's more difficult to slow down (in flight) than the 737. Many times when attempting to land the 777 I will have to use the spoilers, which I do not normally have to do with 737.

From the flight tracking log linked to by Jim it looks to me like the flight 214 was initially coming in hot (too fast). He also had to make a 180 degree turn about five minutes out. Given the initial airspeed, I do not think I could make this landing in the 777. With some luck I might be able to do it with 737, but not the 777. I'm wondering if the pilot tried to reduce airspeed but over compensated? Easy to do in the 777 because the response time is sluggish.

I enjoyed the video "Children of Magenta" linked to by Jim. I've always wondered just how realistic MS flight sim really is. And there was one part in that video, at around 21, that helped to answer that question. The speaker asked "What's the most often asked question in the cockpits"? And the answer was "What's it doing now?". I had to laugh because I don't know how many times I've asked that same question (with a few other choice words) while flying with the autopilot.
 

nsaspook

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http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/07/14/34/0302000000AEN20130714001800320F.HTML [Broken]

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has sent a letter to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in protest to what it views as excessive disclosure of information linked to the ongoing investigation of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco, government sources said Sunday.
...
South Korea and the U.S. have been holding their own press conferences several hours apart, giving different impressions on their approach to the crash investigation. The U.S. investigators have made remarks hinting that the pilots might be responsible for the accident, while South Korea has countered the claims just hours later.
 
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wukunlin

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Why am I not surprised
 

nsaspook

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http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_07_15_2013_p22-596107.xml

While the NTSB's final analysis will likely take a year or more to complete, preliminary information from the cockpit voice and flight data recorders and pilot interviews indicate that distractions and automation surprises appeared to cause the pilots to lose altitude and airspeed awareness.

“I don't know how the whole crew could take their eyes off the speed,” a 777 fleet captain for a major carrier tells Aviation Week. “One of the basic tenets of a stabilized approach is speed.”
 

nsaspook

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A bad story just got worse, The poor girl, I'm sorry but somebody should have checked her body for signs of life and moved her if she was dead before they foamed the plane and she was run over twice. The fact that she was still alive is heart breaking.

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/01/15/ac-pkg-griffin-asiana-airlines-crash-fire-fighters-helmet-cam.cnn&hpt=hp_c4&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http://www.cnn.com/#/video/us/2014/01/15/ac-pkg-griffin-asiana-airlines-crash-fire-fighters-helmet-cam.cnn
 

lisab

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A bad story just got worse, The poor girl, I'm sorry but somebody should have checked her body for signs of life and moved her if she was dead before they foamed the plane and she was run over twice. The fact that she was still alive is heart breaking.

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2014/01/15/ac-pkg-griffin-asiana-airlines-crash-fire-fighters-helmet-cam.cnn&hpt=hp_c4&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http://www.cnn.com/#/video/us/2014/01/15/ac-pkg-griffin-asiana-airlines-crash-fire-fighters-helmet-cam.cnn
I can't bring myself to watch that video, which is widely available on US news sites. Erm, I mean "news" sites, because is it really news? Watching a tragic accident that took a 16-year-old's life does not make me a more informed citizen.
 

nsaspook

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I can't bring myself to watch that video, which is widely available on US news sites. Erm, I mean "news" sites, because is it really news? Watching a tragic accident that took a 16-year-old's life does not make me a more informed citizen.
Yes, it is news because if it happens in the future at SFO we might not have the evidence of it happening. To call it an accident IMO is much too nice term for the lack of following basic ERT procedures.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/after-airliner-crash-sf-chief-bans-helmet-cams [Broken]
 
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