Transcript: Press briefing remarks by NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman on Asiana Flight 214 – July 8, 2013 – Part 1

NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman. SOURCE: NTSB via Twitter

Part 1: Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Deborah Hersman, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, on the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco Airport on July 6, 2013. The press briefing was held on July 8, 2013:

Good afternoon. My name is Debbie Hersman. I’m the Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. I’m here to provide you with an update on our investigation into Asiana Flight 214.

Last night, the NTSB held our first progress meeting, and in that progress meeting we talked about the work that needed to be done and we designated the parties to our investigation.

The parties to our investigation are the Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], Boeing, Pratt & Whitney. And we are also supported by the Korean Aviation and Rail Accident Investigation Board; they are our counterparts from Korea, and they are supported by their technical advisors, Asiana Airlines.

The NTSB deploys a party system to help us in our investigations. We rely on our parties to provide us information, to assist us, and particularly to provide technical expertise. So for example, with the manufacturer of the aircraft of Boeing, that would be about the design and the function and performance of the aircraft. Pratt & Whitney would be the engines.

We have a number of activities that we’re undertaking. I’m going to talk to you about our ops – our operations – and our human performance teams.

They have documented the cockpit, the switch positions, and locations. They also have located the pilot flight bags and the charts that they use for flight. They found the appropriate charts for the airport, the approach, in place in the cockpit. They’re now reviewing manuals to training.

They’re working to conduct 72-hour work-rest histories. And those 72-hour histories are really looking at the pilots’ flight duty time, their rest opportunities, and the activities that have taken place in the days leading up to the crash. In our investigations, we’re often looking for things that might affect human performance, like fatigue, like illnesses or medication, like health issues, and so we will be looking at all of those things to see if there are any impacts on their ability to perform their jobs.

We are working to interview all four pilots that were on the aircraft coming into San Francisco.

There were two pilots and many of you all have talked about those two pilots. It was a captain who was working on his initial operating experience with the 777. He was an experienced pilot and a prior captain but he was working on getting his rating on the 777, getting his initial operation on the 777. He was also flying with a checked captain or a training captain.

And then there were two other crew members – another captain and first officer, who were also flying.

Again, remember, this was a very long trans-Pacific flight and so the four crew members are there for relief so that the others can get rest.

When we interview those four crew members, we’re going to get a lot more details about their activities, about their work, about their training, about who was the pilot flying, who was the pilot in command in the cockpit at the time of the accident. We’re going to be looking to correlate all of that information what we are finding on a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

It was important for us to wait until the arrival of our Korean counterparts at the LARAIB and also at Asiana when we conduct interviews. We utilize the party process. We do group interviews. And we’ve got pilots who also might need translation services during those interviews. We want to make sure those interviews are effective and that they’re comprehensive.

I know you all have a lot of questions about the pilots and their training. I will tell you that when we brief tomorrow I hope to have a lot more information about the pilots. Just to head off some of those questions I may not be able to answer today until those interviews are complete.

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