Korea Responds to Asiana Airlines Crash

From Yonhap News:

Asiana Airlines flight crashes in San Francisco…2 dead, 181 hospitalized

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport in the US on July 6th (local time). In this accident, two passengers died and 181 passengers were transported to hospitals, according to the local fire department. According to Asiana Airlines, 291 passengers and 16 flight crew members including 77 Korean nationals were on board. The dead passengers have not been identified yet. [Identified in the next article] American president Barack Obama instructed complete support and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched an investigation team to the crash site. The FBI excluded the possibility of terrorism.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the Asiana flight crashed while landing at 11:36 AM (local time). The exact process and cause of the accident have not been identified yet. According to airport staff, landing on the secondary runway, as its front was lifted up, the plane’s tail hit the ground and broke away from the rest of the fuselage. They said it almost seemed like the whole plane would be torn apart and many would die. In the picture taken from above, the top of the fuselage is seen to be severely damaged. Most passengers calmly evacuated the plane using the emergency slides as soon as the plane stopped. According to American media such as CNN, the captain requested ambulances from the control center prior to landing, so it is possible that a problem occurred before landing. FBI staff said there is no possibility that terrorism was involved in this accident.

In a press conference, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White announced it was known that two aboard the plane had died and 130 were injured from the crash so far. She said 48 people were first transported to a nearby hospital and other 82 people were also sent to hospitals. It is known that one of the passengers has not been identified. There is a possibility that casualties will increase because some of the injured passengers are in critical condition.

Korean and American authorities will conduct joint investigations. Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said they will send a team consisting of four people who will work with the American government. The NTSB immediately dispatched an investigation team to the site. NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said the team is considering all possibilities for the cause of crash, including pilot error, and it is important to collect relevant data on site. Airplane manufacturer Boeing expressed their willingness to provide any technical support. Korean and American authorities will retrieve the wreck and black box of the plane to analyze the crash. In a statement from the White House, President Obama expressed condolences for the bereaved and requested officials closely watch over the investigations.

Two runways at the airport were normalized at 6:28 PM (local time) on the same day. Some airliners that were scheduled to land at the airport had to detour to a nearby airport in L.A. Many passengers are experiencing trouble due to flight schedules disturbed by the crash. 330 flights have already been cancelled and it is expected that more flights will be cancelled.

The Boeing 777-200, the model in the accident, is a twin-engine jet airliner capable of intercontinental flights for longer than 12 hours. It is 60.93m wide, 63.73m long and 18.51m high. Its seating capacity is between 246 and 300.

Comments from Naver:


According to witnesses, the plane’s tail broke off first as it was landing and the pilot chose the nearest runway instead of the scheduled runway. It looks like the pilot’s judgement and skills prevented a big disaster. It takes amazing skill to control a plane that has lost its tail and to make it rotate without flipping while reducing the speed. If it flipped once, they would’ve all died. Imagine how hard it is to stop a tumbling car moving at 150 kilometers per hour all within a short distance. As shown in the emergency landing in Murmansk, Korean airline pilots’ skills are among the top in the world because most of them are from the air force.


I think the captain did a great job. Even a bus accident can cause more than two deaths.


It’s fortunate that there are so few deaths for a plane crash.


It’s really fortunate if there are only two deaths for a plane crash. It’s not a car accident.


My condolences go to the bereaved and I hope the injured people recover soon.


Captain, you saved many lives. If you feel any sense of guilt, I hope you can get over it and get well soon. It was almost miraculous.


According to Dr. Frank Holovati at Harvard University, a mental disease that makes you write stupid weird comments and wait for responses is spreading. It is an illness that causes your long-suppressed subconsciousness originating in the right cerebral hemisphere of the brain to try to attract attention. It is a disease that slowly degrades one’s psychological and physical health. [This is a meme comment made up by a netizen several years ago to mock trolls.]


What the, ke ke. The American pilot became a hero when he landed on a river. In Korea, even if you minimize casualties, you still get bashed. Sigh, what a country.


Fortunately, there aren’t many deaths… My condolences for the loss of the two passengers.


I think his emergency maneuver was really great..

From The Seoul Shinmun:

Two Chinese dead, both female high school students


Two dead Chinese teenage passengers from the Asiana Airlines plane crash at San Francisco International Airport on July 7th have been identified. According to Asiana Airlines, they are Wang Lin-Jia (born on December 13, 1996) and Ye Meng-Yuan (born on June 27, 1997). Both are students. Asiana Airlines said they will contact the bereaved through their local office in China and give full support to them.

Comments from Naver:


I heard they have only one child in China these days and always give careful attention to that child. Their parents must be so devastated… Rest in peace.


Rest in peace….


Do you know the Good Comment Campaign… Many people only read news articles and don’t bother with netizen comments while akpeulers write bad comments as if their life depends on it. Therefore, many comment sections of news articles become full of bad comments. Let us normal, reasonable citizens write good comments.


So pitiful, at such young ages…


How sad their parents must be…


Very pitiful to be cut short just at the age when they are starting to look pretty.


It hurts me more because one of them is my age, even with a similar birthday… She must be 18 years old.. I hope they rest in peace..


ㅠㅠ It must have been so scary ㅠ Rest in peace ㅠㅠ And it seems the American emergency response system is very fast and efficient! If it had happened in Korea, more people might have been hurt or died.


Know when to write bad comments. When someone died, even if you don’t feel sad, it is courteous to stay quiet.


Born in 97… It’s heartbreaking. Whether it is the pilot, Boeing, or Asiana Airlines, those in charge should be strictly punished.

From Yonhap News:

Asiana Airlines crash, praise for flight attendants’ devotion


As of July 6th (local time) at San Francisco International Airport, there has been a lot of complimentary reviews about the conduct of the Asiana Airlines flight attendants during the crash.

Passenger Eugene Anthony Rah, a hip-hop concert producer described a flight attendant during the accident in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “This tiny, little girl was carrying people piggyback, running everywhere, with tears running down her face. She was crying, but she was still so calm and helping people. She was a hero,” he said.

It has also been reported that San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes White praised the cabin manager as a hero. According to a Twitter user (@jennalane), the cabin manager remained in the plane until the last person left and then was transported to a hospital.

Many users of social networking sites complimented the flight attendants’ effort as the casualties were considerably limited despite the nature of the accident. Facebook user Steve Cosgrove said, “Imagine you get into a crash at the end of your 14-hour shift. You have to remain calm and let all others evacuate first. The Asiana Airlines flight attendants did it today.” Twitter user Shane Wilson (@jayquu) said, “It really is incredible that most of the people walked away from Asiana 214. Anyone flying should hug a flight attendant!”

Comments from Nate:


Well done. I think many lives were saved thanks to them. Of course, it’s very sad that two Chinese girls died. Rest in peace.


Well done.


Committing oneself to one’s duty is great. Before talking about compensation, we should appreciate her great sense of duty……


You see this, Chairman Wang? Flight attendants are not ramen cooks….


Just reading the article makes me want to cry. The flight attendant herself must have been so scared. Her face was covered with tears but she still carried injured passengers on her back. Proud of her!!


Even if they were trained and educated for emergency situations, they must have been scared… Good job, flight attendants..


See this, Korean loser guys?? Those who you call Kimchi bitches or bean paste girls seem better than you… Go suckle at mommy’s breast more, kids…tsk


Those bastards who call flight attendants waitresses just because they get you coffee and meals, if it wasn’t for them, there would’ve been more casualties. The flight attendants calmly helped passengers evacuate, tsk tsk. The pilot and the cabin crew were all great. There could’ve been many casualties..


These are the flight attendants you have been badmouthing. You’re a bunch of parasites who only know how to curse.


Compliments for the flight attendants are steadily emerging. Do you notice that all the words come from Americans or westerners? In an advanced culture, individual sacrifices and strengths are appreciated and encouraged in any form. In Korea, they only focus on criticism. If finding good deeds and encouraging them becomes the cultural norm, society will be less dreary and more warm. Thank you, flight attendants.

From Financial News:

Asiana Airlines plane crash, man helps 50 passengers evacuate despite his broken ribs

Passenger Benjamin Levy recovers in a hospital after his extraordinary efforts

Passenger Benjamin Levy recovers in a hospital after his extraordinary efforts

In the Asiana Airlines plane crash at the San Francisco International Airport, two died and 181 passengers are being treated in hospitals. A foreign male passenger who helped about 50 passengers evacuate despite his own injuries is drawing attention.

The man is Benjamin Levy, one of the survivors of the crash and a friend of a former WSB-TV staff member. Atalanta local news station WSB-TV shared a picture of him being treated in a hospital on their official Facebook page. According to WSB-TV, he opened the emergency door despite his broken ribs. His wife wrote “Ben opened the exit door and helped 50+ people out of the plane, with broken ribs from the crash. He calmed people down and helped get them out before it was too late.”

On his Twitter, Levy said he is waiting for CT scanning while expressing concern for other passengers and their families. On social networking sites, local netizens praised him with comments such as “You did a great job”, “I hope you get well soon”, “You are a hero” and “I’m grateful for your courage”.

Comments from Nate:


You are a hero.


Really great.. Even though your own body was injured ㅠㅠ Hope you get well soon!! I hope they find no more victims in the crash ㅠ


Bruce Willis in real life!


I want to learn his attitude… His warm heart which made him take care of others in emergency didn’t just help those 50 passengers but also set an example for many others.


He’s really great. I would’ve been busy trying to run away ㅠㅠ


I hope Asiana Airlines provides him and his family with free business seats for life.


Meanwhile somebody was trying to save her suitcase…


We get American help even during accidents..


On the other hand, who was that ajumma who tried to get her suitcase?! It’s an international shame. Completely insensible. She tried to save her suitcase when human lives were in danger.


Asiana Airlines should compensate him well!

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  • Patricks

    Haven’t read about the ajumma and her suitcase story yet.

    • Bryan Cheron

      I didn’t know she was an ajumma (as opposed to a young woman), but I’d read that one woman made sure to grab her in-flight bag as everyone was evacuating the plane.

      • Patricks

        As long as she didn’t disrupt others trying to get off the plane, guess I would have reached for mine too if it was within grabbing distance.

      • Asiana

        It was an ajumma, when I focused on the picture. To be fair though, we don’t know her nationality, so she may have been a non Korean woman. Most passengers were not Koreans.

  • chucky3176

    This story isn’t covering everything what’s going on beyond Korean internet. In China’s portals, the Chinese are incensed that the two dead girls were Chinese. Hundreds of thousands of incensed Chinese netizens are flooding their portals, over one comment made by a Dong-A ilbo reporter in “Channel A” column. The Chinese news media picked up on the story and promptly made headlines.


    The reporter commented that it was a relief no Koreans were killed. Sure, a stupid idiotic insensitive thing to say, but it’s equal lunacy to twist around his words to make it look like he was happy to see the Chinese girls die, and then Chinese people claiming that that’s how all Koreans in Korea feel about it.

    But yeah, you would think that the Korean media would have learned by now and be smart enough by now that what they say, a lot of foreign people are scrutinizing what they’re saying – especially in China. But those motor mouths are the problem, giving rest of us the grief.

    • Sillian

      I’d say that’s the problem with Asian internet portals in general…. There is scrutiny for any small dirt to write sensational articles. As soon as the article is hosted on popular portals, it can go very far regardless of its importance as long as it was written in a sensational tone. Some netizens can be swayed so easily at every whim of such reporting.

      Channel A is one of the cable channels and a reporter made a mistake with the comment in a live news program and later apologized for it.

      • whitefoxster

        I think its a problem with all news. People are fascinated by the negative and rarely the positive, on top of that most news orgs can captive more viewers by the negative rather than the positive. (a panda sneezing can only captive for 30 seconds, while a guy going on a shooting rampage can captivate for hours) Although every now and then you do hear an inspirational story.

        Just as how individuals using racial slurs can ruin a public career, even if they apologize or news orgs provide incomplete context, the racial comment will still ruin lives.

        This is one of those cases. .

        • Sillian

          Yes news tend to be negative sometimes with partial context…or even false info from subpar internet news sources. Viewers have to smarten up and think critically after all. It seems Asian netizens tend to get riled up too easily.

    • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

      Bad blood leads to both sides finding insult where none was intended.

      If they search hard enough, with the intent to find some sort of slight to their people, they’ll find it. Always.

      • Kitkat

        When you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing! There is no way anyone can not find fault with such an insensitive statement. Lives were lost. Period! Stop being bias!!

        • Sillian

          Nobody is saying the statement wasn’t wrong. It’s more about how Asian netizens react to such things. They tend to blame the entire nations. Bad blood because each incident isn’t contained in its proper context.

    • obama

      glad koreans didnt die ~ as for the chinese, they got ran over by incompetent white people. rofl how sad

  • sinosoul

    Can we just talk about how the n00b KOREAN piloit killed a coupla Chinese KIDS? kthnxbye: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/07/us/plane-crash-main/

    • Sillian

      He has lots of experience as a pilot but was relatively new to the 777 plane. It will take some time for the investigation team to make a final conclusion.

      • whitefoxster

        I dont know, feels not too complicated. Pilot tried to abort in the last second by taking off, midair (noob mistake), tail hit the ground, plane crashed.

        This is why there are million dollar simulators. I know for a fact that they have mock SFO airports. Its only a question if the Korean company can afford it. (Or want to.)

    • The Truth

      Not gonna focus on that here because the pilots were Korean. If it were a Chinese or Japanese airline with two korean kids killed all hell would break loose. The most derogatory of statements. Hypocrites!

      Apart from that the flight attendants did an awesome job in the aftermath. After a bad call made by the flight crew they really got in there and executed what they were trained for. They are true HEROS!

      • Alice S

        Newsflash! Newsflash! 2 Koreans boys have been burned to death in a Jap Airlines crash!

  • Guest

    “Very pitiful to be cut short just at the age when they are starting to look pretty.”

    wtf… very creepy :S

    • wut

      the translation is very worng.
      basically the writer means the girls are at the age of blooming

      • Brett

        Still fucking creepy if you ask me.

        • Sillian

          Lol..the original comment doesn’t really sound creepy. It’s more like they were so young that they might have just begun enjoying life and caring about looking good.

          • Brett

            I can’t see the original 한글 on my phone, so I just took the translator’s (and wut’s) word for it. Good night Sillian.

          • Sillian

            If you see the original comment, it’s something an ajumma would say rather than some creepy ajushi xD

          • chucky3176

            Words that sound alright in Korean, often come out awkwardly when it’s literally translated into English. The people who are doing the translating, should take this into consideration, and actually translate them into an equivalent meaning, instead of just transposing word for word. But then I recognize that there’s the danger of changing the original meaning of the sentences. That’s a rock and a hard place. This is definitely an example of why miscommunications between languages can lead to hard feelings.

  • Brett

    I heard a big problem in the airline industry, more so in Asia, is the “boss/boy mentality”. Co-captians never speak up, even if they think the caption is doing something unsafe, due to this mindset that older is better/smarter, confucianism and what have you. It’s really a shame.

    Korean Air used to have the problem but they retrained all their flight staff a while back.

    Anyways this was a really sad story and I hope the airline industry will learn and improve from it.

    • chucky3176

      That theory was bandied about in Korea and the internet for many years, but the transcripts of the KAL crash at Guam in 1996, that were later released, proved that’s not what happened. The web site called “Ask A Korean” went into detail and ripped that theory to shreds. I don’t have the link to it now.

      In this San Francisco case, the pilot who was landing the plane was an experienced pilot, but only had 43 hours of flight with the Boeing 777. Not only that, he was doing a visual manual landing (instead of landing with the help of computer landing system which was not available in the airport at that time). Of course, this throws into question how he was able to pass the test with Asiana airline, if he only 43 hours of training with the plane he was flying and still doing a manual landing.

    • chucky3176

      I know that’s what the American FOX media is explaining this crash with that explanation, which is basically garbage. It was the co-pilot under the supervision of the captain, who was flying the plane. So there goes that theory. As well, if you look at the safety record of Asiana in its history of existence, going back to decades, they only had two fatal accidents ever.

    • commander

      I also read an article arguing that rigid hierarcy between captains and copilots with Asian airlines could touch off a catastrophy in an emgergency situation. An unexpected development during flight require agile responses by both the captain and copilot. But the passivity often found in East Asian copilots makes prompt and effective handling hard, the article said. The assistant pilot tends to execute orders from his superior who commander the overall flight. In ordinary uneventual flights, the this hierarchical relationship help plane fly to destinations safely without any discord that is often found in pilots of equal ranks. But when an unexpected situation comes, the vertical relations are a drag on speedy handling.

      I dont want to say this is also applied to the San Franciso’s plane crash. Just introduce a different perspective looking at causes of plane crashes from Asian airlines.

      • chucky3176

        I don’t think that applies to this case. The pilot who was being trained, Lee Kang-guk, aged 46, is a 19 year veteran pilot who mostly flew the 747. The pilot who was supervising Lee that day, is pilot Lee Jeong-min, aged 49, is another veteran with over 3300 hours of flying time with the B-777, and landed 33 times at SF airport. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the plane land safely, so he’s the one in the hot seat. Reading some other sites on this incident, some American pilots surmised that the Asiana pilots tried the old slam dunk landing which I understand, is often done at that airport, and they failed when the landing wheels got caught in the sea wall.

        • commander

          The gist of the article I read the other day was not about the dexterity of pilots, but about the lack of smooth communication beteen the superior and assisstant pilots.

          You might be right to say that pilots with rich experiences of flying planes would make no errors during the flight.

          But the airliner officals confirmed no mechanical glitches that caused the plane crashes, and a preliminary review of cockpit voice and flight recorder reveals no suspected trouble associated with the crash landing.

          If these cases prove right, we might have to put all possibilitiea on the table, including veteran pilots’ unexpected mistakes in landing planes.

      • chucky3176

        Here is the excellent article that has all the pilots weigh in, with what the causes could have been. They all point to human error after everything went wrong all at the same time in a perfect storm.


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  • Mihel

    “Very pitiful to be cut short just at the age when they are starting to look pretty.”

    Would it have been less sad had they died at an age they didn’t look pretty?…

    • Sillian

      It means they were so young that they were just beginning to bloom. Do people in general get emotionally affected to the same degree when an 80 year old man died and when 10 year old girl died in an accident?

  • Paul M

    Pilot error or no pilot error, at least we know the cabin crew performed exceptionally evacuating the panicking passengers and preventing further deaths. I hope that asshole POSCO chairman who got angry over the in flight ramyeon feels even more shame for his actions.

  • chucky3176

    Amazing description and pictures of the crash here.


    Here are the pictures of the flight attendants. Ten Koreans, and two Thai nationals.


    Five of the twelve flight attendants were knocked out when the entire tail section of the plane separated, taking the people in it with them. Immediately after the crash, confusion reigned as many of the passengers were Chinese who didn’t understand the instructions from the pilot’s intercom to immediately evacuate the plane. Some of the Chinese passengers even started to take out their luggage. Amazingly only two people died, while one of the two Chinese teens who probably died was run over by a rescue vehicle. Sadly, the two girls were best friends who were seated in the tail section which separated.

    All points to pilot in training error. I wonder how much B777 simulator training he got before he was allowed to land. I don’t care how much experience he had flying, you don’t risk people’s lives by allowing someone who never operated a B777 to land manually. But then again, all pilots have to learn on the job, sometime. Otherwise how are they going to gain their experience. Catch 22 situation. Something doesn’t add up though. Notice the article saying the plane should have been at 174 knots, but then the next sentence says the target speed was given as 134 knots. Who gave this speed and why the discrepancy? For sure this was human screw up.

    • mr.wiener

      Chucky have you turned into a voice of sanity and moderation in your old age bro?
      Liking it , keep up the good work mate.
      [don’t let them seduce you into being a moderator. Life is less fun when you have access to the “smite button]

      • jon776

        Hitler didn’t seem to think so.

      • Jurippe

        Sanity and moderation as long as it fits his agenda. Then again, that’s almost everyone on the Smack, Bang, Crush forums.

    • commander

      In my thought, the miraculous few casualties in the plan crash could be blamed on the slower approaching speed on landing than the routine one, in addition to praiseworthy commitment to passenger safety by flight attendants on board.

      The slower landing pace could reduce the crash impact, enabling some passengers to escape along the emergency slide, though we need to wait for a final identification of the incident’s cause from US-Korea joint investigation team.

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  • commander

    Referring to the remarks by an Aisana Airline official that there were no mechanical faults on a Boeing 777 that crash landed in San Franciso, some raise a speculation that pilot’s control errors might contribute to the crash, citing the assessment by the American air safety authorities of the cockpit voice ans flight recorders showing that pilots tried to abort the landing at San Franciso International Airport where the aircraft were approaching the runnway too low and too slowly.

    Given the long time the joint investigation will take to pinpoin what happened to the plane on a sunny day and circumspection the authorities demonstrated in identify the accident’s cause at a press briefing, it would be best for now not to jump at an conclusion, offer condolences to the injuired and the dead in the crash and beef up safety measures for a fleet of Boeing 777s that has been operated in South Korea.

  • chucky3176

    German airlines says San Francisco crash was just a matter of time, and rates the airport with a bad reputation. The Lufthansa had few aborted close calls. The airport controllers make the planes to come in high and steep, to reduce noise to surrounding residential areas, and not mention safety equipment that could have helped, that have been out of action for months on end. It says coming down on the water, makes the perception of height extremely difficult for the pilots.


    • cb4242

      I flew in SFO hundreds of times, if Ze Germans don’t like it, it’s probably because they don’t know how to fly properly.

    • whitefoxster

      You should try John Wayne airport over in the OC. THAT is REALLY steep.

      • cb4242

        I hate taking off at John Wayne! Because of the noise pollution, they need to get in the air quick and up as fast as possible, My stomach always does flips! lol

  • Yu Bum Suk

    It’s increasingly looking like pilot error. That’s amazing considering there were four of them in the cockpit, and some if not all were likely ex-air force pilots. I still can’t believe that only two people died when I look at the wreckage.

  • linette lee

    My friends take asiana and cathay airline all the time. I always use cathay. This is just completely messed up. When I heard about the accident my first thought besides being nervous was I hope no one on that plane was hurt or died. Some fxcked up reporter said thank god no koreans were killed. I mean what kind of low life will think like that?

    • Pissed Off

      Yes, how sad Chinese people only care about what one Korean reporter said, disregarding many other Koreans who showed compassion and apology, and above all, disregarding the Korean stewardess crew who risked their lives to save Chinese passengers. How sad they only zero in on that reporter’s comment, the pilots who purposely downed the plane to kill Chinese, and then condemn all Koreans (including the Koreans who alerted the world about this comment, and made him apologize), as same as him. Yes you are right, all Koreans are fucking bad people. You have the right to hate them to eternity, I don’t blame you.

      • Robert Lo

        I like how you respond to a generalization by…generalizing Chinese people’s reactions. Way too go, now you’ve lost all credibility.

    • Guest

      Is that what the reporter said? “Thank God no Koreans…” or are you just taking something you half assedly understood and are running with it?

      So if you had missed that flight for whatever reason then later stated to your family “thank God I missed….” should everyone assume that you meant F*** those 2 Chinese girls & glad it was them and not me?

  • Pissed Off

    Watch this American broadcast,


    I don’t know, watching this report, is making me pissed off at Americans now. What could be the reason?

    • Kate

      that is Fox News for you… the worst America has to offer!

      • cb4242

        Really, tell me then, the MOST watched news in America, what should we watch then? The other Obama loving networks? No shame on anyone that wants to watch liberal regurgitated liberal talking points crap!

    • Andrew

      Yes, be pissed at all Americans because a single notorious pundits makes ignorant, idiotic comments.

    • Jang

      Why are you pissed? O’Reilly just asked questions about whether the U.S.(FAA) has any authority over how foreign airlines train their pilots and how they maintain aircraft. Which it turns out is very minimal. The U.S. can’t even test foreign pilots for drugs/alcohol when the crash their planes in America. That’s pretty sad, and foreign airline companies or at least Asiana Airlines don’t care to know whether their pilots were drinking. Some investigation, huh? We’ll NEVER know whether those pilots were drinking/drugging while flying the WILD American skies filled with foreign pilots.

  • Isaac
  • Yorgos

    This is 3rd hand from an Airline captain friend of mine who got from another captain.

    Sent: 7/9/2013 12:16:10 P.M. Mountain Daylight Time
    Subj: Low-down on Korean pilots

    This from a retired airline pilot – good friend – a bit eye opening – but in dealing with the Koreans while in Vietnam many years ago this does not surprise me –

    As we learn more about the competency of the Korean cockpit crew, this letter provides background (from the inside) on why Asiana demonstrated such low standards. However, we should also keep asking why there was no glide slope guidance on the two primary runways (28R and 28L), at one of the primary International airports in this country. Both the ILS and PAPI (precision approach position indicator) were out of service. In addition, there was no PAR (precision approach radar) monitoring their progress. So, in effect, the Asiana flight had exactly the same landing guidance they would have received at East Overshoe airport…….none.

    Subject: Low-down on Korean pilots


    enjoy your flight on Asiana..

    After I retired from UAL as a Standards Captain on the –400, I got a job as a simulator instructor working for Alteon (a Boeing subsidiary) at Asiana. When I first got there, I was shocked and surprised by the lack of basic piloting skills shown by most of the pilots. It is not a normal situation with normal progression from new hire, right seat, left seat taking a decade or two. One big difference is that ex-Military pilots are given super-seniority and progress to the left seat much faster. Compared to the US, they also upgrade fairly rapidly because of the phenomenal growth by all Asian air carriers. By the way, after about six months at Asiana, I was moved over to KAL and found them to be identical. The only difference was the color of the uniforms and airplanes. I worked in Korea for 5 long years and although I found most of the people to be very pleasant, it’s a minefield of a work environment … for them and for us expats.

    One of the first things I learned was that the pilots kept a web-site and reported on every training session. I don’t think this was officially sanctioned by the company, but after one or two simulator periods, a database was building on me (and everyone else) that told them exactly how I ran the sessions, what to expect on checks, and what to look out for. For example; I used to open an aft cargo door at 100 knots to get them to initiate an RTO and I would brief them on it during the briefing. This was on the B-737 NG and many of the captains were coming off the 777 or B744 and they were used to the Master Caution System being inhibited at 80 kts. Well, for the first few days after I started that, EVERYONE rejected the takeoff. Then, all of a sudden they all “got it” and continued the takeoff (in accordance with their manuals). The word had gotten out. I figured it was an overall PLUS for the training program.

    We expat instructors were forced upon them after the amount of fatal accidents (most of the them totally avoidable) over a decade began to be noticed by the outside world. They were basically given an ultimatum by the FAA, Transport Canada, and the EU to totally rebuild and rethink their training program or face being banned from the skies all over the world. They hired Boeing and Airbus to staff the training centers. KAL has one center and Asiana has another. When I was there (2003-2008) we had about 60 expats conducting training KAL and about 40 at Asiana. Most instructors were from the USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand with a few stuffed in from Europe and Asia. Boeing also operated training centers in Singapore and China so they did hire some instructors from there.

    This solution has only been partially successful but still faces ingrained resistance from the Koreans. I lost track of the number of highly qualified instructors I worked with who were fired because they tried to enforce “normal” standards of performance. By normal standards, I would include being able to master basic tasks like successfully shoot a visual approach with 10 kt crosswind and the weather CAVOK. I am not kidding when I tell you that requiring them to shoot a visual approach struck fear in their hearts … with good reason. Like this Asiana crew, it didn’t compute that you needed to be a 1000’ AGL at 3 miles and your sink rate should be 600-800 Ft/Min. But, after 5 years, they finally nailed me. I still had to sign my name to their training and sometimes if I just couldn’t pass someone on a check, I had no choice but to fail them. I usually busted about 3-5 crews a year and the resistance against me built. I finally failed an extremely incompetent crew and it turned out he was the a high-ranking captain who was the Chief Line Check pilot on the fleet I was teaching on. I found out on my next monthly trip home that KAL was not going to renew my Visa. The crew I failed was given another check and continued a fly while talking about how unfair Captain Brown was.

    Any of you Boeing glass-cockpit guys will know what I mean when I describe these events. I gave them aVOR approach with an 15 mile arc from the IAF. By the way, KAL dictated the profiles for all sessions and we just administered them. He requested two turns in holding at the IAF to get set up for the approach. When he finally got his nerve up, he requested “Radar Vectors” to final. He could have just said he was ready for the approach and I would have cleared him to the IAF and then “Cleared for the approach” and he could have selected “Exit Hold” and been on his way. He was already in LNAV/VNAV PATH. So, I gave him vectors to final with a 30 degree intercept. Of course, he failed to “Extend the FAF” and he couldn’t understand why it would not intercept the LNAV magenta line when he punched LNAV and VNAV. He made three approaches and missed approaches before he figured out that his active waypoint was “Hold at XYZ.” Every time he punched LNAV, it would try to go back to the IAF … just like it was supposed to do. Since it was a check, I was not allowed (by their own rules) to offer him any help. That was just one of about half dozen major errors I documented in his UNSAT paperwork. He also failed to put in ANY aileron on takeoff with a 30-knot direct crosswind (again, the weather was dictated by KAL).

    This Asiana SFO accident makes me sick and while I am surprised there are not more, I expect that there will be many more of the same type accidents in the future unless some drastic steps are taken. They are already required to hire a certain percentage of expats to try to ingrain more flying expertise in them, but more likely, they will eventually be fired too. One of the best trainees I ever had was a Korean/American (he grew up and went to school in the USA) who flew C-141’s in the USAF. When he got out, he moved back to Korea and got hired by KAL. I met him when I gave him some training and a check on the B-737 and of course, he breezed through the training. I give him annual PCs for a few years and he was always a good pilot. Then, he got involved with trying to start a pilots union and when they tried to enforce some sort of duty rigs on international flights, he was fired after being arrested and JAILED!

    The Koreans are very very bright and smart so I was puzzled by their inability to fly an airplane well. They would show up on Day 1 of training (an hour before the scheduled briefing time, in a 3-piece suit, and shined shoes) with the entire contents of the FCOM and Flight Manual totally memorized. But, putting that information to actual use was many times impossible. Crosswind landings are also an unsolvable puzzle for most of them. I never did figure it out completely, but I think I did uncover a few clues. Here is my best guess. First off, their educational system emphasizes ROTE memorization from the first day of school as little kids. As you know, that is the lowest form of learning and they act like robots. They are also taught toNEVER challenge authority and in spite of the flight training heavily emphasizing CRM/CLR, it still exists either on the surface or very subtly. You just can’t change 3000 years of culture.

    The other thing that I think plays an important role is the fact that there is virtually NO civil aircraft flying in Korea. It’s actually illegal to own a Cessna-152 and just go learn to fly. Ultra-lights and Powered Hang Gliders are Ok. I guess they don’t trust the people to not start WW III by flying 35 miles north of Inchon into North Korea. But, they don’t get the kids who grew up flying (and thinking for themselves) and hanging around airports. They do recruit some kids from college and send then to the US or Australia and get them their tickets. Generally, I had better experience with them than with the ex-Military pilots. This was a surprise to me as I spent years as a Naval Aviator flying fighters after getting my private in light airplanes. I would get experienced F-4, F-5, F-15, and F-16 pilots who were actually terrible pilots if they had to hand fly the airplane. What a shock!

    Finally, I’ll get off my box and talk about the total flight hours they claim. I do accept that there are a few talented and free-thinking pilots that I met and trained in Korea. Some are still in contact and I consider them friends. They were a joy! But, they were few and far between and certainly not the norm.

    Actually, this is a worldwide problem involving automation and the auto-flight concept. Take one of these new first officers that got his ratings in the US or Australia and came to KAL or Asiana with 225 flight hours. After takeoff, in accordance with their SOP, he calls for the autopilot to be engaged at 250’ after takeoff. How much actual flight time is that? Hardly one minute. Then he might fly for hours on the autopilot and finally disengage it (MAYBE?) below 800’ after the gear was down, flaps extended and on airspeed (autothrottle). Then he might bring it in to land. Again, how much real “flight time” or real experience did he get. Minutes! Of course, on the 777 or 747, it’s the same only they get more inflated logbooks.

    So, when I hear that a 10,000 hour Korean captain was vectored in for a 17-mile final and cleared for a visual approach in CAVOK weather, it raises the hair on the back of my neck.


  • Jang

    The pilot(s) lost control when they hit the sea wall so how or why would kudos be given to the pilots as in the first comment? The pilots lack of skill and/or drunkeness/drugged state of condition seems to be the cause of the crash. Yet, the first comment by a Korean netizen reads…”It looks like the pilot’s judgement and skills prevented a big disaster. “

    • Yu Bum Suk

      Now apparently they were “blinded” by some strange light upon descent. The trough of bullshit looks bottomless.

    • Matti

      Look at the date of the Nate news. It’s July 7, or July 6, North American date. I have to think that the details of the crash weren’t fully known at that time yet in Korea, as we have the benefit of knowing today.

    • Sillian

      At that time, not much details were known.

  • yondae

    Some TV station in the States.

    KTVU Reports Racist Joke As Names Of Asiana 214 Pilots


    The problem was that the names — “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow” — were obviously fake. The news anchor read the names off the teleprompter and didn’t bat an eye, adding that the information had been
    confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

    —–pretty disgusting

    • chucky3176

      This is not the first time, and it won’t be the last. Racist American media has been running non stop for the last week, reporting everything from half crock racist theory that Korean culture was the reason why they crashed, to unfounded rumors that the pilots were flying for the first time, or that the pilots were on drugs – you name it, they came up with it. If those pilots were American, they would never have been subjected to these kinds of accusations and media finger pointing. DISGUSTING.

      Now this, which was inevitable. I just don’t find anything funny about dead teen girls in an airplane crash. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.

      • mr.wiener

        It does make you think, if they could get something like this so obviously wrong…what else have they misreported?
        Disgusting yes, but funny in that it leaves the dum-arse media with egg on its face

      • Keith Stone

        I contacted KTVU and gave them a piece of my mind, you can too… here’s the link: http://www.ktvu.com/home/contactus/

  • pingu777


    Worth a read if you’re interested if you think it was hierarchy that caused the problem.

  • KCdude

    I don’t like any incident that generates more incidents. Who doesn’t?

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