Sunday, July 6, marked the one-year anniversary of the Asiana Flight 214 crash at the San Francisco International Airport. Everyone has now seen the video of the plane as it struck the seawall. Both engines and the tail section of the plane broke off, and the remainder of the plane cartwheeled and caught fire. The fact that anyone survived this crash is nothing short of miraculous. The fact that numerous people were injured and that three young girls were killed in this senseless accident is tragic.
The National Transportation Safety Board has placed most of the blame on the pilots, but it also noted several other contributing factors. One such factor was the complexity of the airplane’s autopilot system. Another was the fact that the system had certain combinations of modes that essentially turned off its automated protection.
The question now is whether adequate steps have been taken to ensure that such an accident does not happen again. The NTSB has recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration convene a special design certification review of the Boeing 777 auto-throttle system. It has also recommended many other safety review items directed at Asiana. To date, however, it does not appear that the NTSB’s recommendations have been taken to heart by anyone. Let’s hope that this miraculous tragedy does not repeat itself with even darker results