NTSB: Asiana captain worried about visual landing

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

NTSB: Asiana captain worried about visual landing
FILE - This Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial file photo shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. Officials are looking into whether some attorneys may have violated a U.S. law barring uninvited solicitation of air disaster victims in the first 45 days after an accident in connection with the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco. The National Transportation Safety Board says it has received an unspecified number of complaints about solicitations since the July 6 accident that killed three Chinese teenage girls and injured 180. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
FILE - This July 6, 2013, file photo, shows the wreckage of the Asiana Flight 214 airplane after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. The pilots of Asiana Flight 214, as well as the airline, are raising the possibility that a key device that controls the Boeing 777's speed may have malfunctioned, an aviation expert familiar with the investigation into the crash said Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, July 6, 2013, file photo provided by passenger Benjamin Levy, passengers from Asiana Airlines flight 214 are treated by first responders on the tarmac just moments after the plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. Officials are looking into whether some attorneys may have violated a U.S. law barring uninvited solicitation of air disaster victims in the first 45 days after an accident in connection with the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco. The National Transportation Safety Board says it has received an unspecified number of complaints about solicitations since the July 6 accident that killed three Chinese teenage girls and injured 180. (AP Photo/Benjamin Levy)
Two men take photographs of the rear of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco, Friday, July 12, 2013. Two people were killed and dozens of others injured although most suffered minor injuries. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and slow. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man walks under a wing of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Friday, July 12, 2013. Two people were killed and dozens of others injured although most suffered minor injuries. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and slow. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man walks near an engine of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco, Friday, July 12, 2013. Two people were killed and dozens of others injured although most suffered minor injuries. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and slow. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In a photograph taken through a fence, a man walks past wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at San Francisco International Airport, in San Francisco, Friday, July 12, 2013. Two people were killed and dozens of others injured although most suffered minor injuries. Investigators have said the plane came in too low and slow. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
FOR USE AS DESIRED, YEAR END PHOTOS - FILE - This aerial photo shows the crash site of Asiana Flight 214 at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
The wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, is seen on a tarmac at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
The tail of Asiana Flight 214, which crashed on Saturday, July 6, 2013, is seen on a tarmac at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In this image from video provided by ABC7 News/KGO-TV a section of the fuselage of Asiana Flight-214 is removed at San Francisco airport early Friday morning July 12, 2013. Workers began clearing the wreckage early Friday. The Asiana flight crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/ABC7 News/KGO-TV)
Tuesday's Asiana Flight 214 comes in for a landing over the wreckage of Saturday's Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Saturday's Asiana Flight 214, crashed upon landing, two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed., (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Spectators look toward the wreckage of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crashed upon landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, Monday, July 8, 2013 in San Francisco. Investigators said the Boeing 777 was traveling "significantly below" the target speed during its approach and that the crew tried to abort the landing just before it smashed onto the runway on Saturday, July 6. Two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
In this photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board, on Tuesday, July 9, 2013, Investigator in Charge Bill English, foreground, and NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman discuss the progress of the investigation into the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Francisco. The Asiana flight crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/National Transportation Safety Board)
In this Saturday, July 6, 2013 aerial photo, emergency crews respond at the scene of the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214, top right, after it crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, earlier in the day. 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)
A fire truck sprays water on Asiana Flight 214 after it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Planes from various airlines are docked at the terminals after Asiana Flight 214 crashed at the San Francisco International in San Francisco, Saturday, July 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Asiana Airlines captain who crashed a Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport in July told investigators he was "very concerned" about attempting a visual approach because the runway's automatic landing aids were out of service due to construction, according to an investigative report released Wednesday.

Lee Kang Kuk, a 46-year-old pilot who was landing the big jet for his first time at San Francisco, "stated it was very difficult to perform a visual approach with a heavy airplane." The jet crash landed after approaching low and slow in an accident that left three dead and more than 200 injured, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A visual approach involves lining the jet up for landing by looking through the windshield, as well as using numerous automated cues.

The investigative report was released at the start of a daylong NTSB hearing into the accident.

"In this hearing, we will learn about the facts of the crash, but we will also learn about the factors that enabled so many to walk away," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, opening the hearing. "We will focus not only on the human machine interface in highly automated aircraft, but also on emergency response."

Though Lee was an experienced pilot, he was a trainee on the Boeing 777.

NTSB investigator Bill English said Lee had less than 45 hours experience in the Boeing 777 and it was his first trip to San Francisco since 2004.

Lee told investigators that he realized others had been safely landing at San Francisco without the glide slope indicator, an array of antennas that transmits a signal into the cockpit, helping ensure the plane is landing correctly.

That system was out of service while the runway was expanded, and has since been restarted.

But Lee also told investigators he was "not so confident" about his knowledge of the plane's auto flight system.

When asked if he was concerned about his ability to perform the visual approach, Lee said "very concerned, yeah."

Lee said he told his instructors about his concerns in the flight's planning stages. He told investigators that as he realized his approach was off, he was worried he might "fail his flight and would be embarrassed."

Another Asiana pilot who recently flew with Lee told investigators that he was not sure if the trainee captain was making normal progress and that he did not perform well during a trip two days before the accident. That captain described Lee as "not well organized or prepared," according to the investigative report.

According to the NTSB's transcript of the Asiana plane's cockpit voice recorder, the Korean crew did not comment on the jet's low approach until it reached 200 feet above ground.

"It's low," an unnamed crewman said at 11:27 am.

In an instant, the plane began to shake.

At 20 feet, another crewman broke in: "Go around," he said.

It was too late. At impact, someone yelled: "Oh!"

Multiple alarms chimed in the cockpit as the crewmen sat stunned.

Lee acknowledged to investigators that it took him 20 to 30 seconds to order an evacuation from the shattered jet.

San Francisco Fire Department Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes is also scheduled to talk at Wednesday's hearing about how a fire truck racing toward the burning plane ran over a survivor on the tarmac.

Footage taken after the crash showed a fire truck running over 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan while she was lying on the tarmac covered with fire-retardant foam. The San Mateo County coroner later ruled that she was killed by the truck.

Attorneys representing some of the more than 60 crash victims suing the airline and Boeing Co. plan to attend the hearing. Asiana Airlines is also offering $10,000 to each of the surviving passengers, a payout the airline says is not a settlement and does not prevent passengers from suing the airline.

The hearing was originally scheduled to run for two days, starting Tuesday, but it was postponed because of wintry weather in Washington, D.C. The crash was the first commercial airline crash in the U.S. since one near Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009.

Read Full Story

People are Reading

The Latest from our Partners
1 - 3 of 15