View Mobile Site

PROBE QUESTIONS SPEED CONTROLS

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED July 10, 2013 9:37 p.m.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Investigators are trying to understand whether automated cockpit equipment Asiana flight 214's pilots said they were relying on to control the airliner's speed may have contributed to the plane's dangerously low and slow approach just before it crashed.

New details in the accident investigation that were revealed Tuesday by National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman were not conclusive about the cause of Saturday's crash. But they raised potential areas of focus: Was there a mistake made in setting the automatic speed control, did it malfunction or were the pilots not fully aware of what the plane was doing?

One of the most puzzling aspects of the crash has been why the wide-body Boeing 777 jet came in far too low and slow, clipping its landing gear and then its tail on a rocky seawall just short the runway. The crash killed two of the 307 people and injured scores of others, most not seriously.

 

AIRLINES MORE TO SOAR

FAA to expand co-pilot qualifications

WASHINGTON (AP) — The amount and type of flying experience first officers — also known as co-pilots — must have to qualify to fly for an airline will be significantly increased and expanded under new regulations announced Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The regulations require first officers to have at least 1,500 hours of flying experience. Airline captains are already required to have at least 1,500 hours. Previously, first officers were only required to have 250 hours of flight time.

The rule also requires first officers to have an aircraft-type rating, which involves additional training and testing specific to the type of airplane they fly.

"The rule gives first officers a stronger foundation of aeronautical knowledge and experience before they fly for an air carrier," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said.

The FAA said it expects to publish the regulations soon.

The new regulations are required under a sweeping aviation safety law enacted in 2010 in response to the crash of a regional airliner near Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people. The crash was blamed on pilot error.

The regulations are a victory for some family members of victims of the air crash who dedicated countless hours over the last four and a half years first to lobby Congress for passage of the law and later to lobby the Obama administration to carry through with the regulations despite industry opposition.

The law required the FAA implement a series of safety regulations. Changes to the first officer qualifications, which hadn't been changed in many years, are considered among the most important. Two years ago, the FAA adopted regulations required under the safety laws that set new policies governing airline pilot work schedules aimed at preventing dangerous errors made by tired or overworked pilots.

The question of pilot experience is one of the issues that have been raised by the investigation of the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco over the weekend. Two of the 307 people aboard the plane were killed and scores of others injured.

However, it is unlikely the regulations would have made a difference had they been in place since the pilot flying the Asiana plane had nearly 10,000 hours of flying experience. The pilot, Lee Gang-guk, had recently received his aircraft-type rating and was about half way through has postrating real-world training at the time of the crash.

"Flying in America has never been safer, but the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214 is an urgent reminder that we must still constantly look for ways to make it even safer," said Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington, the senior Democrat on the House's aviation subcommittee.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...