No longer do I turn to the media for information when it comes to a situation, for example the OZ 214 (Asiana Airlines) flight that “landed hard” on Saturday while arriving KSFO. At the time of the crash I was work in the control center and a train operator called to inquire about black smoke seen at the airport, from Millbrae BART station. We literally missed the crash by 3 minutes, as we panned and focused to see dust and billowing black smoke coming from the Boeing 777-200ER.
What’s even more impressive was I had the flight number, details and registration number within minutes. Most news outlets didn’t break this story for close to 30 minutes, while social media outlet, Twitter received a tweet from Samsung executive, David Eun reading,
Pretty amazing to see footage moments after this crash from a passenger onboard. That wasn’t my first outlet for information, as I quickly brought up Airliners.net, which is primarily a photo repository for aviation, but their discussion board already had an OZ 777 Crash At SFO Part 1 started. I am sure there was much speculation there regarding what happened, but it was amazing to see the amount of information and reports that rolled in. Unlike local media, the stooges they are, continued to report the same damn information for hours. Nothing new, no footage, no new images and individuals claiming to be “experts” offering their opinions. Why didn’t anyone call me, hell I could have at least played the part of an aviation expert on the newscasts!
I am surprised however we have not see any live footage (yet) of the actually hard landing. Speculation continues to fly (no pun intended) as to what when wrong with OZ 214 prior to the threshold. Without information from the flight recorders (yet) and upon watching the aerial footage it seemed the aircraft was too low, didn’t have enough power and landed short, which meant hitting the approach lights or the sea wall prior to runway 28L. Pilots are taught early on in their flight training that seeing red over red on the VASI (visual approach slope indicator) means “you’re dead.” I would much rather be too high in an attempt to land, potentially executing a miss approached rather than too low with not enough power immediately to pull out of a deadly sink rate.
Unfortunately jet engines, like those Pratt & Whitney PW4090’s don’t spool up quickly, so needing lots of power quickly isn’t going to happen as you approach the threshold of the runway. The more a pilot pulls back on the yoke in an attempt to gain altitude the more you force a plane, yes even something as large as a 777 into more of a stalled condition, which bleeds off speed and increases your sink rate. I am sure all the details will come out in the NTSB investigation, but the bottom line, pilot error.