TODAY   |  July 07, 2013

Asiana Flight 214 used ‘visual cues’ for landing

Greg Feith, former investigator-in-charge for the National Transportation Safety Board, says that due to an outage, pilots coming through San Francisco International Airport, including those on Asiana Flight 214, were using "visual cues" during landing.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a former investigator for the ntsb joins us this morning with more insight. greg, good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> give us a sense this morning, there are these interesting reports we just heard lester mention and john touched on, the president of asiana saying we don't believe there was engine failure. the head of the ntsb telling lester earlier this morning there are so many things they still need to go through. this terms of putting that information out, what does that tell you?

>> well, one, i'm surprised the ceo even made those kinds of comments. typically that's guarded information and for him to make that analysis this early is really quite surprising. given that information if there was an engine problem because that's been a concern because of the british air waste 777 and having an icing issue with the fuel that will looked at and scrutinized by the ntsb . if there was no 0 engine problem and it was pure pilot discipline or operational discipline that they're going to be looking at, then there's a big concern as to why this airplane got into a very high sink rate . a lot of witnesses said it hit very hard on the runway.

>> and talk of people mentioning it felt very low. there's also been talk about the instrument landing guidance that was disabled june 1st at sfo and there was construction in the area. could either one of those have played a role?

>> typically pilots in this particular instance with good weather will shoot what they call a visual approach, using visual cues on the runway to control their approach to the runway. however, they use this instrument system as a backup, and so a lot of the pilots will use this three-degree glide slope . because the ils is out of service, it's now all visual so the pilots, it will be interesting to knee what kind of flight path they were flying, if they were kept high on the approach and then they had to make a steep descent to get the airplane down. they got into a high sink rate and were unable to stop it before they struck the runway so that's going to be a critical factor here are for the ntsb to look at.

>> we know investigators are already on scene looking at a number of these things. we mentioned the black boxes were recovered but those are in the tail. the tail broke off. will that affect the information they are hoping to gather?

>> the big thing is if those boxes -- they're probably in good shape. they are on their way to washington. now the critical information is going to be during the course of the readout. a lot of times when we've had it in the past where we've had good recorders as far as physical recovery of those boxes. however, the data, we've had data drops. we've had electrical problems with the boxes. so hopefully they're going to get some good data and that will be pumped back to the investigators on the ground almost immediately so that they can focus their investigative work at sfo based on that information.

>> real quickly before we let you go especially these days we all like information immediately. but give us a sense how long for the andlization of the black boxes and the investigation will take?

>> if there's good data the investigators will have some very good data by this afternoon, at least to get them started. the entire analysis process will take probably several days especially the flight data recorder because that's where all the parameters for the aircraft are and that's how the performance engineers will determine exactly what caused this high rate of descent or had this low approach and the aircraft striking the sea wall .

>> greg feith , great to have you with us as always.