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NTSB hearing on San Francisco crash postponed

Dec. 10, 2013, Washington, D.C. - Wintry weather has forced postponement of a National Transportation Safety Board hearing into the crash-landing of an Asiana jet at San Francisco International Airport in July. The agency said it hopes to reschedule the hearing to later in the week.


December 10, 2013
By The Associated Press

The crash of the Boeing 777 jet left three teenagers dead. The safety
board wants to examine whether the pilots were overly reliant on
computer systems when they approached too low and slow before striking a
seawall and tumbling across the runway.

 

The board said the hearing will focus on "pilot awareness
in a highly automated aircraft." There are also plans to review the
emergency response.

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Three teenage girls were killed; one died during
the crash, a second was run over by a fire truck on the tarmac, and a
third died at San Francisco General Hospital. More than 150 of the 307
aboard the flight were injured.

 

In briefings held days after the
July crash, investigators said pilots of Asiana Flight 214 relied on
automated cockpit equipment to control the jetliner's speed as they
landed at San Francisco airport, and they realized too late they were in
trouble.

 

Increasing automation has been a tremendous
overall safety boon to aviation. But the automation has also changed the
relationship between pilots and their aircraft, and an overreliance on
automated cockpit systems has figured in dozens of air crashes and
incidents in recent years.

 

Asiana Airlines' newly appointed
chief safety officer Akiyoshi Yamamura, who plans to attend the hearing,
told reporters in Seoul last week that safety is the airlines "top
priority" and that they continue to improve oversight of pilots.

 

The pilot at the controls when the plane crashed
was only about halfway through his training on the Boeing 777 and was
landing that type of aircraft at the San Francisco airport for the first
time ever. And the co-pilot was on his first trip as a flight
instructor.

 

At least 61 passengers are suing the airline, according to federal court records.