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Asiana says it was pilot’s first landing of a Boeing 777 at SFO

The pilot of Asiana Airlines 214 started his career with the airline as an intern in 1994. He has 9,793 hours of flying experience, but only 43 hours with the Boeing 777 jet. (NTSB photo via Twitter)

Asiana Airlines says the pilot in charge of landing the Boeing 777 that crash-landed was making his first landing of that type of jet at San Francisco’s airport.

Two passengers were killed in the crash landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, and dozens of the 307 passengers were injured Saturday.

“It was Lee Kang-kook’s maiden flight to the airport with the jet. He was in training. Even a veteran gets training,” a spokeswoman for Asiana Airlines told Reuters.

The pilot “has a lot of experience” and had previously flown a Boeing 747 to San Francisco’s airport.

The airline says Lee, who started his career at Asiana as an intern in 1994, has 9,793 hours of flying experience, but only 43 hours with the Boeing 777 jet.

His co-pilot was Lee Jeong-min, who has 3,220 hours of flying experience with the Boeing 777 and a total of 12,387 hours of flying experience.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman says it’s too early to say whether pilot error or mechanical failure was to blame.

The airline said within hours of the crash that they believed there was “nothing wrong” with the 777-200. Boeing isn’t commenting as the investigators continue to gather more details about what went wrong.

The NTSB reports the pilot of the Asiana Airlines flight requested a “go around” 1.5 seconds before the crash.

Aviation experts say when the pilot is instructed or decides to “go around,” the pilot applies full power to the engines.

Boeing and Airbus jets use fly-by-wire systems with go-around modes that automatically set maximum available power and pitch for that maneuver.

Hersman says the “black box” audio recorder indicates the pilots did not discuss any aircraft anomalies as they approached the runway in San Francisco.


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