NTSB Investigation Of Asiana Flight 214 Crash Begins To Focus on Autothrottle

by Jamie R. Lebovitz | July 10th, 2013

One thing we know for sure about the Asiana Flight 214 crash is that the aircraft came in for landing at a dangerously low airspeed.  Recent news reports reveal that the pilots told investigators that they had set the aircraft’s automatic throttle system to maintain a proper speed during landing,  and that they assumed the auto-throttles were engaged and maintaining proper speeds.   This could mean that the systems relied on by the pilots failed to operate correctly.  At the same time, this information has many experts asking if the pilots relied too heavily on technology in the cockpit, and wondering how the pilots failed to notice that the aircraft was flying dangerously slowly on approach.

Today’s aircraft include many systems that are intended to make flying safer.  However, these systems do not relieve the flight crew of their duty to be aware of the aircraft’s speed and altitude during what should have been a routine landing.  More questions remain to be answered as the investigation continues.

Authored by: Aviation Trial Attorney Jamie R. Lebovitz and Attorney Brenda M. Johnson