The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

July 11, 2013

Investigators look into pairing of Asiana pilots

(Continued)

SAN FRANCISCO — "There are two pilots in the cockpit for a reason," she said Wednesday. "They're there to fly, to navigate, to communicate and if they're using automation a big key is to monitor."

As the trainee pilot flew, she said, the instructor captain, who is ultimately responsible for flight safety, was tasked with monitoring. The third pilot was in the cockpit jumpseat also to monitor the landing.

Crash survivor Brian Thomson, who was returning from a martial arts competition in South Korea and walked away physically unscathed, said he's not concerned about the pilot's lack of experience with the airliner.

"At some point you have to start at hour one, hour two. It's just natural. Everyone starts a career someway, somehow. Starts a new plane someway, somehow. They have to have training," he said.

The flight originated in Shanghai and stopped over in Seoul before making the nearly 11-hour trip to San Francisco.

A dozen survivors remained hospitalized Wednesday, half flight attendants, including three thrown from the airliner during the accident. One has been identified as 25-year-old Maneenat Tinnakul, whose father told the Thairath newspaper in Thailand she suffered a minor backache.

Another flight attendant, Sirithip Singhakarn, was reported in intensive care.

Meanwhile, fire officials continued their investigation into whether one of their trucks might have run over one of the two summer camp bound Chinese teenagers, Wang Linjia and Ye Mengyuan, killed in the crash.

Citing similarities to a February 2009 fatal U.S. airline crash near Buffalo, N.Y., two New York Democrats — Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins — on Wednesday called on the Federal Aviation Administration to issue long-delayed safety regulations that would require pilots to undergo more extensive training on how to avoid stalling accidents.

"While the (Asiana) investigation is still ongoing, one thing is clear, this crash and the other recent crashes like Flight 3407 demonstrate a troubling pattern in which pilots are mishandling air speed, which can lead to fatal stalls," Schumer said.

 

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