NTSB Investigating Crash Landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214
Summary of the Crash
On July 6, 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 carrying 291 passengers and 16 crew members crash landed at its destination, San Francisco International Airport.
Based on initial reports from the NTSB, it appears that the flight crew attempted to abort a landing at the last second causing the large passenger plane to hit a seawall separating San Francisco Bay from the beginning of runway 28L. The main landing gear impacted first followed by the tail section of the plane. The landing gear and the tail were severed from the plane on impact as the plane slid and spun down the runway and finally came to rest approximately 2,000 feet from the point of impact.
The plane had departed about 10 hours earlier from Incheon International Airport just outside of Seoul, Korea. According to NTSB reports, the pilot made a last second request to initiate a “go-around” — to abort the landing, fly around the airport and try again. The request was only made 1.5 seconds prior to impact. Amateur video shows the incoming plane’s nose pointed up at a higher angle than usual indicating the pilot may have been attempting to add power to climb and initiate the go-around, but it was too late and too low to avoid impact.
Flight 214 originated from Shanghai, China. The flight was a 10-hour nonstop flight departing from Incheon International Airport (ICN) outside Seoul at 5:04 p.m. KST (08:04 UTC). It departed 34 minutes behind its scheduled departure time. It was scheduled to land at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 11:04 a.m. PDT (18:04 UTC). It crash landed at about 11:28 a.m. PDT.
The airplane, a 2006 Boeing 777-200ER, was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engines. Asiana had 11 other Triple 7s in service at the time. Three different manufacturers have produced engines for the Boeing 777: Pratt and Whitney, Rolls Royce and General Electric. The Pratt & Whitney engines actually represent only 15% of the engines currently installed in Triple 7s. The General Electric GE90 is currently the exclusive engine series for all new Boeing 777s and will eventually represent 100% market share.
Because the transpacific flight was scheduled for a duration of 10 hours, there were four pilots on board. Transoceanic flights have four pilots, three captains and one first officer on board.
The pilot at the time of the crash was Captain Lee Kang-Kook, who was receiving his initial operating experience (IOE) training. Lee Kang-Kook was operating the controls under the direction and instruction of Captain Lee Jeong-Min.
Although Lee Kang-kook had a total of 9,793 flying hours, he only had 43 hours in the cockpit of the 777 and had never landed the aircraft at San Francisco International Airport. Lee Kang-Kook’s instructor, Lee Jeong-Min, was both a check/instructor captain and was the pilot in command. At the time of the accident, Lee Jeong-Min was located in the right seat, the co-pilot position. Flight 214 was Lee Jeong-Min’s first flight as an instructor and also his first flight with trainee Lee Kang-Kook. The third pilot was a relief first officer who occupied a cockpit jump seat at the time of the crash, and the fourth pilot, the relief captain, was seated in the passenger cabin at the time of the crash.
In addition to the four pilots, there were 10 flight attendants for the nearly full plane. 14 members of the crew were from South Korea and the remaining two members were from Vietnam.
The plane was nearly full, carrying a total of 307 people — 291 passengers and 16 crew members. Of the 291 passengers aboard, 141 were from China, 77 from South Korea, 64 from the United States, three from Canada, three from India, one from France, one from Japan and one from Vietnam. Because of limited direct flights from Shanghi to San Francisco, the Asiana Shanghai to Seoul to San Francisco route is a popular choice for Chinese residents planning a trip to the United States.
Photo Credit: Asiana Airlines Boeing 777, Aero Icarus