As more information is released from the NTSB hearings into the Asiana SFO crash last July, we are learning that Lee Kang Kuk, the pilot-in-training, told investigators he thought the auto-throttle, a device which aids in landing, was “always working,” when in fact, it was not. Mr. Lee and the other pilots in the cockpit realized this only seconds before the accident.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
“The trainee captain was asked how confident he felt about his knowledge of the Boeing 777 autoflight system just prior to the accident,” the report said. “He stated he was not so confident because he felt he should study more.” Lee Kang Kuk told investigators he was stressed out and “very concerned” about attempting a visual approach in landing because the runway’s automatic warning systems were out of service due to construction, the report stated. On visual approach, a pilot lands the plane based on visual cues; on an instrument approach, the tower provides much more help. Lee’s unfamiliarity with the 777 and the airport likely contributed to his unease about a visual approach.
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