Multi-Agency Effort to Glean Facts on Asiana 777

Today at 2:30 EST, Debbie Hersman, Chairperson of the NTSB conducted an update of the Asiana 777 flight crash at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The crash of the Boeing 777 resulted in two deaths 181 injured people. Forty-nine patients are at area hospitals after surviving the crash. Some of the important points that she made:

• The investigating parties along with the NTSB will be the FAA, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, the Korean Aviation & Rail Association, and Asiana Airlines. Their focus will be on the operations of the aircraft, as well as human performance. The FBI has already provided GPS-based documentation and aerial photos to assist.

• All four pilots on board will be questioned; the Captain that was flying (training to receive his 777 rating), the Training Captain, and the relief Captain and First Officer (standard procedure for long international flights)

• There is no evidence of distress calls or problem reports prior to impact. The flight was vectored in to a 17 mile approach, cleared for both visual approach and landing.

• The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) is a mixture of both English and Korean. It’s important to note that, despite the reports from some news agencies, there was no call for permission for a go-around – it was mentioned on the CVR only.

• The crash site has lower portions of the aircraft in the sea wall, with a significant portion of the tail in the water, and debris is visible at low tide. Seawall debris has been found several yards up the runway as well.

• Despite initial reports of one the fatalities being caused by an emergency vehicle, the coroner has not rendered an official cause of death.

• The airspeed required for landing is 137 kts, and Flight Data Recorder shows that the aircraft had already dropped to 118 kts by 200 ft (about 16 seconds from impact). At 125 ft (8 seconds to impact), the throttles were moving forward. At 3 seconds to impact, the engines were back up to 50% power, with an airspeed of 103 kts. At impact, the airspeed has only climbed to 106 kts.