Over-reliance on automated systems and the complexity of flight systems contributed to the crash of Asiana flight 214 on 6 July 2013, says the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“In this instance, the flight crew over-relied on automated systems [that] they did not fully understand,” Christopher Hart, the NTSB’s vice chairman, says on 24 June.

Hart made his comments during an opening statement at the NTSB’s hearing into the crash of flight 214 from Seoul.

He added that although automation has made aviation safer, the complexity of aircraft systems have created opportunities for new problems that designers never anticipated.

Investigators also noted that the pilots had inadequate understanding of the aircraft's systems and did not effecitvely monitor the aircraft's airspeed.

Flightglobal will release more of the NTSB’s findings as they become available today.

Flight 214, a Boeing 777-200ER, slammed into a seawall at the beginning of San Francisco’s runway 28L after the aircraft had slowed to 103kt and stalled.

The accident led to the deaths of three passengers.

Information released by the NTSB last year suggested that the pilot’s uncertainty about the 777’s automated systems and his ability to conduct a visual approach may have contributed to the accident.

In an interview with NTSB investigators a few days after the accident, the pilot said he lacked confidence in some of the aircraft’s systems.

Shortly after descending through 4,800ft, the crew switched the autopilot to vertical-speed mode with a commanded descent rate of 1,000ft/min.,

They then switched the autothrottle to “speed” mode, with a selected airspeed of 172kt. The altitude was set to 3,000ft in case of a go-around.

At 1,600ft, the flight-level change switch was activated, causing the aircraft, which was already above the glideslope, to pitch up in an effort to reach 3,000ft.

The pilot responded by disconnecting the autopilot and pulling throttles to idle, which changed the autothrottles to “hold” mode.

The NTSB said that the pilots were apparently unaware the systems’ logic meant that the autothrottle would not control speed in this configuration.

Source: Cirium Dashboard