SEOUL – Asiana Airlines said Monday that the pilot in charge when its Boeing 777 crashed in San Francisco was in training for this type of aircraft.
Pilot Lee Kang-Kuk, 46, had 43 hours of experience in piloting this type of aircraft although he was well skilled with more than 9,000 hours of flight time under his belt, Asiana said.
“It’s true that Lee was on transition training for the Boeing 777″, an Asiana spokeswoman told AFP.
But he was accompanied by an experienced trainer, who acted as co-pilot.
Asiana said the airliner, purchased in March 2006, had received repairs for oil leaking from an engine early last month.
Asiana CEO Yoon Young-Doo on Sunday ruled out the possibility of mechanical failure as the cause of the crash.
US investigators said the aircraft was travelling much slower than recommended and a pilot asked to abort the landing moments before the plane smashed into the ground at San Francisco International Airport Saturday.
The flight data recorder also showed that the Boeing 777 received a warning that its engines were likely to stall as it approached the runway, where it later burst into flames killing two people and injuring 182 others.
The request to abort the landing was captured on the cockpit voice recorder 1.5 seconds before the plane crashed, said National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman, who is leading the probe.
It was the first fatal crash involving an Asiana passenger plane since June 1993, when a Boeing 737 operated by the carrier crashed into a mountain in South Korea, killing 68.