Foreign airlines urged to use GPS at San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal aviation officials have advised all foreign airlines to use a GPS system instead of visual reckoning and cockpit instruments when landing at San Francisco International Airport in the wake of the deadly Asiana Airlines crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the recommendation on Sunday involving main runways at the airport, saying in a statement that it took the action after noticing an increase in aborted landings by some foreign carriers flying visual approaches into the airport.

Pilots on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 had been cleared to make a visual approach when the plane crash-landed on July 6. Three people died, and 180 others were injured among the 307 aboard the flight that came in too low and too slow, slamming its landing gear into a seawall well before the actual runway.

Seconds before the accident, the pilots called for a go-around, meaning they wanted to abort the landing and circle for another approach. The FAA said such maneuvers are “routine, standardized procedures that can occur once a day or more at busy airports for various reasons.”

Two weeks after the crash, another Asiana flight aborted its landing, San Francisco airport officials said. In addition, they said a Taiwanese EVA Air flight approached too low last week then aborted and began another approach.

The FAA said it was investigating the EVA flight. It did not say how many other such incidents have occurred.

Airport officials met with Asiana managers and FAA representatives after the July 19 aborted landing by the Asiana aircraft to see if any additional measures were necessary, airport spokesman Doug Yakel said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein also has met with federal and local officials about improving airport safety. Spokesman Brian Weiss said Monday that Feinstein also spoke with the South Korea ambassador. Asiana is based in that country.

In clear weather, it’s not unusual for pilots to make a visual approach, using the view through their windshield.

They also can use an instrument system called a glide slope indicator, although that has been out of service in San Francisco since June 1 because of ongoing runway improvements.

The FAA said all foreign carriers should continue to use alternate instrument approaches until the glide slopes return to service in late August.

The advice came from “an abundance of caution,” the FAA said in its statement. However, it’s not a requirement. Foreign pilots can choose to fly visual approaches, but they typically accept air traffic control assignments.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Son arrested for hitting father on head at Marysville home

The father grabbed a metal rod and struck his son in the head, too. Both needed medical treatment.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

A King County voter uses a ballot drop box. (King County Elections)
Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Most Read