Aviation Experts Analyze The Shocking Survival Rate of the Asiana 777 Crash

airplane-flight-attendantEarlier this month, two passengers on the Asiana 777 lost their lives during a crash landing at San Francisco International Airport. Aviation consultants assert that the high survival rate can be explained by a range of developments within the industry including perfected safety measures and improved employee training; but the statistic is still shocking. Here, Zintro experts specializing in aviation share their thoughts on what may have caused the crash and the factors that played a role in saving the lives of so many passengers.

Allen Shisler, an aerospace expert, asserts that “the Asiana 777 crash is one in a million.” So what happened here? “First of all, it may take years to figure out what happened and [no one] should try to fix blame on Asiana 777, the Korean company or the pilots…We should all wait for the official report from the professionals at the NTSB. Moreover, we should not blame the pilots, crew, the aircraft or the Air Traffic Controllers; as they were most likely doing their best job that day.”

“Some are looking at pilot error” as the cause, but Shisler maintains that “before we start drawing conclusions on who to blame [we should] at least give credit where credit is due.” According to Shisler, it was the pilots’ “corrective flying” that kept the plane from crashing into the sea wall “which would have killed everyone. They were able to get the aircraft into the safest position they could and land [it] in such a way as to maximize the survival of the passengers and crew…that is amazing.” He adds that “the crew did an excellent job getting everyone off of the aircraft in minutes; saving more lives and decreasing injuries,” and applauds “the heroism of the flight attendants.”

“The Boeing 777 is one of the safest aircrafts in the world,” continues Shisler. “Boeing has excellent maintenance programs…A lot of care and precision goes into records on aircrafts during maintenance.” He explains that “each part [of the aircraft] has a card that is used to track its airworthiness, [which] senior leaders from  the owner of the aircraft and the maintenance provider sign, stating the aircraft is airworthy: So to say it was a maintenance problem would be a stretch.”

The weather in the bay is constantly changing from fog, to rain, to low clouds, to microburst; and although clear [at the time of the crash], could have produced an unseen microburst of wind; pushing the aircraft closer to the water.” Shisler raises the possibility of “increasing airspeed mandates at SFO as planes are landing over the saltwater bay.” In fact, “the procedure in its entirety may need reworking as the plane appeared to follow mandated speeds for the airport,” and still experienced problems.

“Maintenance, the aircraft and the pilots are all very well managed and [the latter] well trained: However, the system that is put in place may need to be reviewed to take into account the SFO airport and its unique landing criteria: the San Francisco Bay and its effects on the micro weather patterns near the airport.” “When all is said and done,” Shisler continues, “there will be multiple issues that factor into the equation that led to the crash,” and “the professional investigators will come up with a great solution, as they always do, making our air travel safer.”

According to Ahmed Sultan who specializes in industry analysis of passenger airlines, “generally, the operability of the aircraft depends on the aircraft itself and the flight crew operating it. However, in case of crashes during takeoff or landing, the survivability of the passengers depends on the aircraft, the flight crew, the cabin crew, the ground emergency teams, and the passengers themselves: Human beings represent the major component of the survivability equation.”

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By Gabriela Meller

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