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Pilot error to blame for Asiana Airlines crash

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REUTERS -- Pilot error and over-reliance on automated systems. That's what the nation's highest transportation safety board says led to the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco last July. The NTSB said on Tuesday that the pilots of Flight 214 made 20 or 30 errors in the final 14 miles of approach. The landing was too low; too slow. The co-pilot thought the auto-throttle wasn't working right. The plane's tail hit a seawall just short of the runway, sending the Boeing 777 spinning before it broke apart and caught fire. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRISTOPHER HART, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE NTSB, SAYING: "We had a lot of holes line up this time. We had a pilot who was new in this airplane. We had an instructor who was new as an instructor. We had fatigue. We had issues regarding understanding the automation. A lot of issues lined up the wrong way as it turned out, to produce this result because each one of those issues probably happens a lot by itself innocuously and in fact if you removed any one of those links in the chain, this accident wouldn't have happened. But this was the line up of a series of unfortunate events." The pilots didn't understand exactly how the auto throttle worked, said the NTSB; that it wouldn't maintain minimum air speed in all circumstances. THAT complexity, it said, and training manuals that didn't clearly describe how the controls operate, contributed to the crash. Three passengers were killed and over 180 injured. The board made over two dozen recommendations, including better training to explain auto-throttle functions. Boeing says it's taking the recommendations under review.
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