Asiana To Beef Up Pilot Conversion Training

July 15, 2013

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Asiana Airlines said on Monday that it would enhance training for pilots converting to flying new aircraft, part of a series of measures it is undertaking after the fatal crash of a Boeing 777 in San Francisco.

Three Chinese teenagers were killed and over 180 people injured when the Asiana flight from Seoul crash-landed at San Francisco airport on July 6.

The pilot in charge of landing the plane was in training on the 777, while seated next to him was a pilot on his first flight as an instructor. Both were experienced pilots, although they had not flown together before, the US National Transportation Safety Board said.

"We will bolster our training programme... when a pilot converts to a jet from a different manufacturer," Asiana said in a presentation to the government, which was shown to reporters.

Currently Asiana pilots have to fly 10 flights and a total of 60 hours on a 777 to complete its training programme, a spokeswoman for the airline had previously said. Pilot Lee Kang-kuk, a pilot with nearly 10,000 hours of total flying experience, had completed eight flights and 43 hours on the Boeing 777, she said.

He had flown Airbus planes before switching to the Boeing 777.

The new measures will include enhancing training for visual approach and automated flight and conducting flight inspection on airports which are "vulnerable to safety."

The pilots aboard the Boeing 777 made a visual approach to San Francisco, and relied on automatic equipment to maintain airspeed.

Asiana said it will also seek to improve communications skills among crew members, and introduce a system to manage "fatigue risk."

Other measures include setting up separate maintenance teams for Boeing and Airbus planes, and enhancing safety management systems.

Meanwhile, the carrier said on Monday that it planned to sue US television station KTVU for reporting racially offensive fake names for the pilots of the Asiana flight.

"The KTVU report that not only disparaged Asians in general through the use of racially charged epithets, but also severely damaged the reputation of Asiana Airlines," it said.