Wed., December 11, 2013 2:00pm (EST)

Asiana Pilot Was 'Very Concerned' Before California Crash
By Mark Memmott
Updated: 4 months ago

The wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last July.
The wreckage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 on the runway at San Francisco International Airport last July.
The pilot of an Asiana Airlines passenger jet that crashed in July at San Francisco International Airport has told investigators he was "very concerned" about trying to land there, The Associated Press writes.

Three people were killed and more than 150 others were injured when the plane approached at too slow a speed and too low an altitude. Its tail struck a seawall. The collision sent the jet twisting and twirling down the runway.

The pilot was nervous because the airport's automatic warning systems had been disengaged due to construction. That meant the crew was making a "visual approach." The 46-year-old pilot had never landed a Boeing 777 at San Francisco. He was joined in the cockpit, though, by an instructor.

The National Transportation Safety Board is holding an all-day hearing about the crash and the results, so far, of its investigation. The hearing is being webcast here. We'll watch for other news and update.

Update at 1:40 p.m. ET. Auto Throttles In Idle:

Bill English, the NTSB's lead investigator on the Asiana Flight 214 investigation, said Lee had switched off the autopilot about 3.5 miles from Runway 28, about 1,600 feet altitude and manually changed the auto throttles to idle.

"In this configuration, the auto throttles would not be controlling speed," English said at the start of the hearing.

The San Jose Mercury News writes:

"At about 500 feet, nearly 1.4 miles from the runway, 'the thrust levels remained at idle as the airplane continued to lose airspeed and sink below the glide path,' English said. ... 'About 11 seconds later, just below 100 feet above the water, the throttle levers were moved fully forward to initiate a go-around, followed four to five seconds later by the stick shaker activation and a verbal call to go-around ... but the action was too late and the main gear and the underside of the aft fuselage struck the seawall. The lowest recorded airspeed was 103 knots, which was 34 knots below the desired airspeed of 137 knots.'"

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