HL7742 AAR214 777 Crash, Korean Asiana Airlines, San Francisco

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Tail Debris:


Seems to be on 28L, which seems to have the displaced threshold recently altered


 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Now this is pure speculation, but given that the threshold (the spot you land beyond) on the runway was moved 300 feet, could there possible have been some issue with the Instrument landing System?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Looking at where the tail pieces are, it's clear that they only just made it to land. I suspect that the tail section caught on the bank at the waterline:
 
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Met Watch

Moderator
I think you can rule out weather on this one. Only interesting thing I'm noting is that the winds were changing directions quite a bit during that time - METARs noted winds varying from 170 to 240, so the plane could have been dealing with a tailwind and then a headwind at different points during the flight. Still, since it was only 6 to 7 knots, I don't think it made a difference.

Just my two cents. This is stunning and sad news.
 

Drew

Active Member
Strange, especially considering that if the runway has been shortened, then the tail hitting the seawall (as suspected) would be even more of a deviation than it would have been pre-2013. I don't know how this would affect the ILS.

I'm interested to hear from the pilots on this board.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Strange, especially considering that if the runway has been shortened, then the tail hitting the seawall (as suspected) would be even more of a deviation than it would have been pre-2013. I don't know how this would affect the ILS.

I'm interested to hear from the pilots on this board.

I was thinking either:

A) as it was recently changed, something was calibrated wrong, and nobody noticed
B) The pilot had out of date information and was surprised the threshold was not where he though it would, and made some error trying to correct.

Neither seems that likely though.
 

FreiZeitGeist

Senior Member.
Is the Debris from the tail?! I remember to view - by accident - the landing of this fligth on CNN, BBC or some other TV-Station "live" - with a "complete" aircraft - and all Pictures/Videos after it are showing the outburned plane withouf the tail.

But please take this not so serious, it could be just an error in my mind, remembering it.
 

Billzilla

Senior Member.
Yep they landed quite short.
It's either a repeat of the British Airways BA38 777 crash where they had ice in the fuel lines, or the crew stuffed-up.
We'll know very shortly when the FAA pulls the data from the FDR's.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
The only other 777 crash I am aware of was the British Airways flight 38 crash at Heathrow, which initially bears a superficial resemblance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_38

That accident was caused by ice accretion in the fuel system of the Rolls Royce engines.

This aircraft has landed short for some reason. It has landed heavily enough to shear off the tail, which means an almighty impact.

I am always loathe to start trying to ascribe a cause to an accident from a first glance, but on a visual day, the ILS system is used only for reference and problems with it should not adversely affect an approach, you simply use the visual aids provided and land visually. So I doubt any problem with the instruments.

Both the ILS and the visual aids attempt to keep the aircraft on a 3 degree glide path and the aiming point for a wide body such as a 777 is about 1200 feet from the threshold.

More info is needed but for a 777 to hit the sea wall, as what appears to have happened here then the causes may be similar to the BA38 crash, a wind shear event or an unstable approach caused by some problem on the flight deck. Micks reference to a high approach may be a pointer there.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I have seen another photo that places the wreckage about 300 metres past the Glideslope antenna which is is positioned beside the runway at the aforementioned aiming point.
It looks like the undercarriage was either shorn off by the sea wall impact or it wasn't actually down. My bet is the former because the latter triggers a slew of hard warnings on the flight deck.

Being dangerously below the Glideslope also triggers a slew of warnings as well provided the ILS is actually operating.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
ATC Audio attached. Crash is noticed at 0:38. At 0:57 the Korean pilot says something like "Hello, I've got trouble!". ATC then very rapidly re-vectors everyone.
 

Attachments

TWCobra

Senior Member.
PPRUNE, the professional pilots rumour network has a thread going for those interested.

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/518568-asiana-flight-crash-san-fransisco.html

Apparently the ILS is not working on 28L nor is there any visual approach slope guidance such as a PAPI or a VASI. This requires pilots to visually judge the glide path, something, in my airline, we are required to demonstrate in the simulator every 6 months or so.

I note that some zealous Asiana employee very quickly tried to spray paint out the Asiana name on the side of the wreckage....
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
I have flown into SFO a few times, you only see the runway come into view (as a passenger) at the last couple of seconds before touch down. My guess is that the rear landing gear hit the sea wall or possibly the water. The rocks that make up the seawall don't really stick up like a wall, they are more or less are level with the runway surface. The bay doesn't have waves so it is just there for tides. For the tail section to hit before the rear landing gear my guess is that the plane would have to have been nose up more dramatically. The witness accounts make it seem like a normal looking landing. Possibly the pilot tried to abort the landing when they realized they were coming up short. I can't believe people are carrying luggage when they are escaping. WTF!!!!o_O
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I have seen another photo that places the wreckage about 300 metres past the Glideslope antenna which is is positioned beside the runway at the aforementioned aiming point.
It looks like the undercarriage was either shorn off by the sea wall impact or it wasn't actually down. My bet is the former because the latter triggers a slew of hard warnings on the flight deck.

Being dangerously below the Glideslope also triggers a slew of warnings as well provided the ILS is actually operating.

The landing gear ended up on the runway, half way between the impact point, and where the body of the plane ended up, so very likely was involved in the initial sea wall impact.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
The landing gear ended up on the runway, half way between the impact point, and where the body of the plane ended up, so very likely was involved in the initial sea wall impact.
The footage I saw of landing gear on the runway seemed to look like the front landing gear. It looked liked only two tires, not six like the rear gear.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Thanks for that Mick. I wonder where the other landing gear is. Possibly under the plane still. If the landing gear hit the seawall I would expect to see signs of an impact on the rocks. Seems more like the pilot tried to abort and pulled up too much.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for that Mick. I wonder where the other landing gear is. Possibly under the plane still. If the landing gear hit the seawall I would expect to see signs of an impact on the rocks. Seems more like the pilot tried to abort and pulled up too much.

There seems to be impact evidence on this area of rocks (composite image from two video frames). Rocks on the runway. Some debris in the water.
 
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Soulfly

Banned
Banned
It looks like impact damage. Wouldn't the only way the tail would hit before the landing gear, is if the pilot pulled up in an attempted abort?

That is if the landing gear didn't hit the wall.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member

One thing that might come out of it is some racetrack contrails. Hmm, might even be on MODIS.

Edit: nothing on Terra, still waiting for Aqua images. Probably nothing their either, not ggod contrail weather.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
I have to admit that a chemie shooting at the plane crossed my mind within the first 30 seconds of seeing the news.
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
Godlikeproductions is already speculating there is a missing passenger and it is Snowden.
 

Met Watch

Moderator
PPRUNE, the professional pilots rumour network has a thread going for those interested.

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/518568-asiana-flight-crash-san-fransisco.html

Apparently the ILS is not working on 28L nor is there any visual approach slope guidance such as a PAPI or a VASI. This requires pilots to visually judge the glide path, something, in my airline, we are required to demonstrate in the simulator every 6 months or so.

I note that some zealous Asiana employee very quickly tried to spray paint out the Asiana name on the side of the wreckage....

I cannot thank you enough for providing this link - it has provided some excellent insight to the accident. It is important to note that NOTAMs mentioned that the Instrument Landing System and the Precision Approach Path Indicator were both inoperable for Runway 28L. Of course, this doesn't normally present too much of a problem on a good VFR day.

There are things in there talking about the culture of South Korean pilots that I find rather interesting, especially regarding the use of auto-land as often as possible. When you use that automated feature, you tend to forget how to manually land the aircraft by yourself, which is still an important skill to have. Autoland, however, relies on a working ILS system (I know at least this - there may be other things in addition to this, if someone can enlighten me). As mentioned before, Runway 28L's system was not operable.

The description of the final approach of one of the passengers is telling - coming in too high, a steep descent to correct, and then suddenly too low, before the engines rev up. The Flightaware data, although not official, does show that the plane started to climb at about 120 ft/min. This seems but may not necessarily be, evidence of a poor approach followed by an attempt to go around - that is, give up on the landing and try again.

I'll wait on NTSB, but to me, it looks like this plane crashed thanks to a crew possibly overly used to auto-land, which was taken away from them with inoperable equipment on Runway 28L. This forced a manual landing, which the crew may have been shaky on due to the common use of the autoland, and a bad final approach was flown. The pilots attempted to go around, but didn't have enough time. The plane hit the seawall as the nose pitched up to try to gain altitude. The tail came off on the displaced threshold, forcing the remainder of the plane hard onto the runway, sliding into the median between 28L and 28R.

This is my theory. Not official, and I may be completely wrong. But this is what it looks like to me.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
...This seems but may not necessarily be, evidence of a poor approach followed by an attempt to go around - that is, give up on the landing and try again.
...
Geez, how'd you feel?
What are the consequences for the pilot in this situation?
 

Met Watch

Moderator
For crashing on landing due to poor judgement or pilot error.

Well, if you survived...you'd probably get fired by the airline, if not have your license flat-out revoked.

There was an incident back in late October of 2000 in Singapore, where this plane hit some construction equipment while trying to take off in a typhoon. The pilots weren't paying attention to where they were going and ended up on the wrong runway. They survived the crash, but they were fired from the airline shortly thereafter.

If this does turn out to be pilot error, the pilots may not be able to fly for that airline, if more serious consequences are not put forth.
 
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