Experts: Boeing 777 has ‘fantastic’ safety record

Jul 7, 2013, 3:37 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) – The crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 in San Francisco on Saturday is only the second major accident for the twin-engine, wide-bodied jet in the 18 years the model has been in service, aviation safety expert said.

“The 777 has a fantastic record,” said Tom Haueter, who retired last year from the National Transportation Safety Board, where he was the head of aviation accident investigations.

The two accidents share a striking similarity _ both occurred just about the time the planes were touching down to landing.

The previous accident occurred on Jan. 17, 2008, at London’s Heathrow Airport. In the process of landing, British Airways Flight 28 from China landed hard about 1,000 feet short of the runway and then slid onto the runway. The impact broke the 777-200’s landing gear. There were 47 injuries, but no fatalities.

An investigation revealed ice pellets had formed in the fuel while the plane was flying at high altitudes, clogging the fuel-oil heat exchanger. As a result, fuel was blocked from reaching both of the plane’s engines. The Rolls-Royce Trent 800 series engines that were used on the plane were fixed afterward to prevent similar problems.

Bill Waldock, an expert on aviation accident investigation, said he was reminded of the 2008 Heathrow accident as he watched video of Saturday’s crash in San Francisco.

The Asiana 777 “was right at the landing phase and for whatever reason the landing went wrong,” said Waldock, director of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University accident investigation laboratory in Prescott, Ariz. “For whatever reason, they appeared to go low on approach and then the airplane pitched up suddenly to an extreme attitude, which could have been the pilots trying to keep it out of the ground.”

Waldock cautioned: “Of course, there is no indication directly that’s what happened here. That’s what the investigation is going to have to find out.”

While the two accidents appear to have occurred about the point in landing, “you can’t rule out anything thing at this point,” Haueter said.

“I think it’s someone who got slow and low on the approach, quite frankly, but we won’t know anything until we see the flight data recorder,” he said.

Haueter said was doubtful the Asiana accident will be linked to the same icing problem as that caused the British Airways accident since changes were made after that crash to prevent further incidents.

“Most accidents happen during takeoff and landing anyway,” he said.

Safety improvements to planes in recent years _ better fire-proofing of passenger cabins and reinforcements to fuel systems _ may have prevented the San Francisco accident from becoming much worse, Waldock said.

Commonly referred to as the “Triple Seven,” the 777 is a long-range jet designed primarily for extended flights over water. The plane that crashed in San Francisco was coming from Seoul, South Korea.

The 777 had its first flight in 1994 and was introduced into service in 1995. As of last month, Boeing had delivered more than 1,100 of the planes to airlines around the world.

___

Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at
http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Uncategorized

FILE - A sign bearing the company logo is displayed outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in D...
Associated Press

US has over 750 complaints of Teslas braking for no reason

DETROIT (AP) — More than 750 Tesla owners have complained to U.S. safety regulators that cars operating on the automaker’s partially automated driving systems have suddenly stopped on roadways for no apparent reason. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed the number in a detailed information request letter to Tesla that was posted Friday on […]
28 days ago
A destroyed window of a house is seen during a military sweep to search for possible remnants of Ru...
Associated Press

Zelenskyy: Retreating Russians leave many mines behind

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned his people early Saturday that retreating Russian forces were creating “a complete disaster” outside the capital as they leave mines across “the whole territory,” even around homes and corpses. He issued the warning as the humanitarian crisis in the encircled city of Mariupol deepened, with Russian […]
3 months ago
...
Arizona Department of Gaming

While March brings upsets and buzzer-beaters, it also needs to bring caution

In March, basketball fans around the country glue themselves in front of a television for almost 11 hours for four consecutive days.
3 months ago
Follow @KTAR923...
KTAR.com

Some of the greatest Big Game comebacks in NFL history

The Big Game has brought some of the best and worst comebacks for not only the casual fan, but gambling fans.
5 months ago
...
No Author

Broomhead’s Action Alliance

Sign up to make a difference! Join Broomhead's Action Alliance to learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities where you'll work side by side with Mike Broomhead in service to others.
7 months ago
KTAR.com

Couple residing in Chandler arrested for AHCCCS, pandemic loan fraud

A couple residing in Chandler was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly fraudulently billing the Arizona healthcare system and for fraud in their applications for COVID-19 pandemic-related loans, authorities said.
10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Experts: Boeing 777 has ‘fantastic’ safety record