Reporting Michelle Roberts
NASHUA, N.H. (CBS) –National Transportation Safety Board officials say Asiana Flight 214 came in too slow and not high enough, leading to Saturday’s plane crash in San Francisco.
While investigators are still trying to figure out how and why this happened, aviation experts are recreating the deadly crash in simulators like one in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“We can do things in a simulator, we would never do in an airplane,” Steve Cunningham said.
Cunningham, has been a pilot for 25 years and owns Nashua Flight Simulator.
When he’s not in the air, he’s in the simulator, teaching pilots how to handle an emergency.
“The alarms are going off. What does that tell you? It’s telling me we are too low,” he said.
In a computer-generated view of San Francisco Airport, the public can have a rough look at what pilots of the Asiana Flight saw when approaching.
“There was a call for increased speed. Throttles went forward, the nose went up. It started to stall. Low and slow and the stick shaker kicked in,” Cunningham demonstrated.
Cunningham says that’s the moment when the plane crashed and burst into flames.
“Accidents happen, people make mistakes. A combination of the two,” he says.
There were two pilots in the cockpit at the time of the crash. One was still training to fly the Boeing 777.
“I can assure you he flew the airplane many times in a simulator,” Cunningham said, noting the simulators commercial pilots train on are even more advanced than the one in Nashua.
Cunningham says every pilot is trained in a machine like his, before they ever lift off.
The pilots are also required to pass tests every six months for their entire career.
“The airlines have done a remarkable job over the last 25 years with improving safety,” Cunningham said. “It’s through learning what did we do wrong, what someone did wrong the last time and how do we prevent that from happening again.”