Transcript: Press briefing remarks by NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman on Asiana Flight 214 – July 8, 2013 – Part 2

Part 2: 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:

Our ATC team has looked back through communications, through voice communications. And as I shared with you yesterday, we have no evidence of any distress calls or any problem reports with respect to the aircraft prior to the accident.

We will be reviewing data for prior flights coming into San Francisco in the hours and the days prior to the accident, particularly on the accident runway, to see if there were any issues associated with the recent runway construction or the Glide Slope outage.

This crew was vectored in for a 17-mile straight [incomprehensible audio] final visual approach. They were vectored in from the northern California [incomprehensible audio], which is located near Sacramento. Asiana 214 reported that they had the airport in sight. They were cleared for their visual approach and they transitioned to tower control. They were cleared to land by the tower. And then there was the accident sequence and the subsequent launch of the emergency responders on the airport property. Some of that we’ve already talked about yesterday.

I have seen and heard reports about a 4,000 foot per minute descent rate. They have reviewed the radar data, and the group that reviewed the initial FAA radar data indicated that there’s no abnormally steep descent curve that’s been detected in the data that they have.

Our power plants team has conducted an on scene examination of the two engines. They indicate – those preliminary evaluations indicate that both of the engines were producing power at the time of impact. And this is consistent with information that we also see on the flight data recorder. There was no evidence of an uncontainment. The number two engine was found adjacent to the fuselage, and there was evidence of a high rotation at impact. The number one engine was found liberated from the aircraft and exhibit severe rotational damage. We also took fuel samples from the aircraft for testing.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder groups are beginning to convene in Washington. We will create groups who will listen to the flight data recorder and help transcribe. We want to have people on that cockpit voice recorder group who are familiar with the aircraft and any noises or sounds or alerts that might come from that aircraft. We also want to make sure that we have Korean speakers on that group as well. There’s a mix of English and Korean heard on the cockpit voice recorder. Those teams will begin their work looking at the two-hour cockpit voice recorder and transcribing the sections that they believe are most relevant to our accident investigation.

The flight data recorder group will be validating the parameters on the recorder. As I mentioned yesterday, this is a recorder that has data on it and there are 1,400 different parameters that are measured by the recorder. We want to make sure that we understand those parameters, what they represent, and make sure the information that’s on there – the data that’s on there – is accurate and is good.

There is another recorder onboard the aircraft – quick access recorder – or QAR. It may record different parameters and so we’ll also be taking a look at that as well.

We have a vehicle performance group and their work is really to focus on the performance of the aircraft. How the aircraft moved, how it operated, how it responded, if it performed in a way that was predictable and consistent with the manufacturer’s guidance and expectations. They have been examining the accident scene as well as the aircraft. There are ground scars, witness marks, and a significant amount of evidence out on the airport property. They are also evaluating and reviewing videos that have been made available to us by the airport and by others. The performance group will use physical evidence, recorded data, and aerodynamic models to confirm that the control inputs and the power that were used do result in speed and descent rates that we have observed. This is used to confirm that there are no hidden issues or problems with the aircraft.

Our structure and our recovery team is proceeding with their work. They’re actually the people who are responsible for the accident site and the accident aircraft. With the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the FBI, we are doing a total station documentation of the accident scene. This is a GPS-based precision documentation of the accident scene. Where parts that were shed from the aircraft might have been, where things have ended up, what the aircraft looks like, and how it was damaged. And we will receive all of that information once these scans are complete.

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