MIAMI — Asiana Airlines has acknowledged that the “probable cause” of flight 214’s deadly San Francisco crash may have been the pilot, the first time it has done so. It added, however, that “inconsistencies” in the Boeing 777-200ER’s auto-throttle have also contributed to the crash.
In a report to the National Transportation Safety Board, the airline says the naviagation equipment “led the crew to believe that the auto-throttle was maintaining the airspeed set by the crew.” However, Asiana says the equipment “disabled the aircraft’s minimum airspeed protection.”
Asiana also went on to say that test pilots had trouble landing the aircraft in a full motion simulator under the same conditions.
Boeing’s report to the NTSB about the accident contradicts Asiana’s report. According to Boeing, all aircraft systems were normal, and the systems “did not contribute to the accident.” Further, Boeing also testified that the pilots should have aborted their landing 500 feet off the ground just like Asiana’s own policy states.
“This accident occurred due to the flight crew’s failure to monitor and control airspeed, thrust level and glide path on short final approach,” said the filing from Michelle Bernson, Boeing’s chief engineer for air-safety investigations.
Despite this, Asiana still says that the pilots do not remember changing the autopilot settings, based on interviews after the accident. Asiana’s explanation is that it changed “for an unknown reason.”
To prevent future crashes, USA Today says the airline is urging “the NTSB to recommend that FAA require Boeing to put better warnings in its training manuals and aboard its aircraft about the autothrottle.” Additionally, “Asiana also suggests a noise alert for low airspeed, like what 737 aircraft have, early enough to allow a pilot to abort a landing and try again.”
Flight 214 crash landed back in July of 2013 after flying too low and hitting a perimeter seawall. Three died in the accident.