The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is holding a two day investigative hearing this week (Dec. 10-11) on the crash of the Asiana Airlines jet that was flying too low and slow while trying to land at SFO last July. About three weeks ago some findings leaked from a recently commissioned FAA study….the conclusion – essentially there are a large number of pilots today who cannot manually fly modern aircraft.
From the Wall Street Journal:
The 277-page report—written by a team of industry, labor, academic and government officials—details the hazards of excessive pilot dependence on increasingly automated and complex flight decks.The study found that some pilots “lack sufficient or in-depth knowledge and skills” to properly control their plane’s trajectory, partly because “current training methods, training devices and the time allotted for training” may be inadequate to fully master advanced automated systems. Among the accidents and certain categories of incidents that were examined, roughly two-thirds of the pilots either had difficulty manually flying planes or made mistakes using flight computers.
From the AP:
Pilot “mode awareness” is a more common automation-related problems showing up in accidents and incidents, according to an automation study released last month by the Federal Aviation Administration. Mode changes occur frequently during flight, often without any direct action by pilots. If pilots aren’t continually paying close attention, they can lose track of which mode their systems are in. Last month, the FAA issued new pilot training regulations calling for more attention to teaching pilots how to recover from stalls.
Check out the extensive write up from the WSJ here.
Korean Pilots Avoided Manual Flying, Former Trainers Say On Record this Time
Email from UA First Officer Who Witnessed the Asiana Accident While Holding Short of Runway
Can Cultural Issues Cause Plane Crashes & Another United Pilot Email re. Asiana
…and then there’s the $, Legal, & Business Impact of the Asiana Accident