Three weeks after the crash, I hear from several travelers that debris from Asiana 214 is still visible at SFO, apparently as investigators keep working through the clues. I am entering my last day-plus in my current Internet-impaired environment, so a few text-only updates.
One factor not mentioned in your posting was the "failure" of the landing gear. That is, in an impact beyond the strength of the LG, they are supposed to detach from the wing without breaking the wing off or ripping open the fuel tanks.They worked! (before the frisbee pirouette )Likewise the engines. Unfortunately, one of them came to rest snuggled up to the fuselage, and was the ignition source for the post-evacuation fire....I work for a certain aeronautical enterprise, and actually sent a congratulatory e-mail to the 777 designers...
I agree that fatigue & a little bit of culture are the broken links in this chain of events.I have worked as an aircraft mechanic for United Airlines for [more than 25 years] at [a major US hub], and most of us at work believe the 777 is one of Boeing's finest achievements. The talk around the hanger has always been the 777 "is so smart it's a very difficult aircraft to have an accident in," and unfortunately without that technology engaged on the aircraft that is exactly what happened to flight 214.
It's a shame that more people in the US aren't aware of that remarkable feat. I live outside of Detroit and was able to watch a short documentary about it on CBC the other night. Admittedly, I had never heard about this until watching it. The stories of the pilot, crew, and passengers on that flight was far more interesting than the perceived impending crash of Noah Gallagher Shannon's flight.
Captain [Robert] Pearson was an experienced glider pilot, which gave him familiarity with flying techniques almost never used by commercial pilots. To have the maximum range and therefore the largest choice of possible landing sites, he needed to fly the 767 at the "best glide speed". Making his best guess as to this speed for the 767, he flew the aircraft at 220 knots (410 km/h; 250 mph). First Officer Maurice Quintal began to calculate whether they could reach Winnipeg. He used the altitude from one of the mechanical backup instruments, while the distance traveled was supplied by the air traffic controllers in Winnipeg, measuring the distance the aircraft's echo moved on their radar screens.
I'd like to send a brief note in response to your post - specifically, the anecdote about Hiddink [Guus Hiddink, the Dutch coach.] It is usually the case, in a situation in which a new authority changes the fortunes of a team (whether in sports or in business or wherever these inspirational movie theses appear), that some nugget of aphoristic truth can be gleaned from the turnaround, like so much dropping pitch. So it is with this one, in which Hiddink reverses the team's entire trajectory via an elemental ceremony that just so happens to represent the insertion of Western values into a team ruled by Eastern culture.What instead turns out often to be the case is that this turnaround was actually managed through an intensive process of redesigning the team's (or department, or business, or what have you) strategy and tactical objectives, followed by an even-more intensive process of working with the team to relearn this new method of approaching competitors and the world at large. I'm sure one of the things you realize in these situations is that they rarely make for good cinema until they're condensed into the crystalline pitch-wisdom that we see in your anecdote.Apologies for the soccer pun.While I am loathe to claim that a practice of giving up shots on goal didn't doom the Korean squad pre-Hiddink (as a player myself once upon a time, I know how precious SOG are), I regrettably cannot bring myself to believe that a) this practice was the only problem the squad had, or that b) the problem was solved in a single ceremonial display of Hiddink's authority.
On whether the crew's failure was a product of Korean "culture" or simply poor crew culture: Take a look at the NTSB report from the United Airlines DC-8 crash in Portland [Oregon] in 1978. One of the safety recommendations stemming from that accident was to direct all air carriers to indoctrinate flight crews in principles of flight deck resource management. It's my understanding that United took this recommendation to heart, and pilot Al Haynes credits that change with saving so many lives in the United DC-10 crash at Sioux City.As Haynes later said:"As for the crew, there was no training procedure for hydraulic failure. Complete hydraulic failure. We've all been through one failure or double failures, but never a complete hydraulic failure."But the preparation that paid off for the crew was something that United started in 1980 called Cockpit Resource Management, or Command Leadership Resource Training ...All the other airlines are now using it."Up until 1980, we kind of worked on the concept that the captain was THE authority on the aircraft. What he said, goes. And we lost a few airplanes because of that. Sometimes the captain isn't as smart as we thought he was. And we would listen to him, and do what he said, and we wouldn't know what he's talking about. And we had 103 years of flying experience there in the cockpit, trying to get that airplane on the ground, not one minute of which we had actually practiced, any one of us. So why would I know more about getting that airplane on the ground under those conditions than the other three. So if I hadn't used CLR, if we had not let everybody put their input in, it's a cinch we wouldn't have made it."I don't know if any of you remember the old movie Marty, I kind of refer to that, it was Ernest Borgnine, and a group of his cronies, trying to find something to do on a Saturday night, and they said, what do you want to do Marty, and he said, i don't know, what do you want to do Joe, and that's kind of the way we flew the airplane now."
"Aircraft do not crash of themselves. They come to grief because men are foolish, or vain, or lazy, or irresolute or reckless. One crash in a thousand may be unavoidable because God wills it so - not more than that."
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