Peter Repak of Dunedin thinks Saturday's crash of a Boeing 777 in San Francisco was so avoidable it is hard to replicate.
"Every fiber in my body is against that," Repak said Monday, as he deliberately aimed his Boeing 737 flight simulator at the sea wall off the end of the San Francisco airport's runway. He was already ignoring four large lights to the left of the runway that let pilots know if they are coming in at the correct angle.
"We have a saying as pilots: four red, you are dead," Repak explained.
The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation is just beginning, but authorities have already confirmed the airliner came in too low and too slow. They have also confirmed the pilot summoned more power from the engines seven seconds before impact.
Aircraft usually glide in with the least amount of power required to stay aloft.
"So once he actually cut the power, he noticed, ‘Okay I'm too low, I'm giving power,' " Repak said. "Then he clipped the jetty, it hit with the landing gear, but then there is power."
That is what he thinks explains what was captured in an amateur video of the crash: seconds before impact, the nose of the aircraft lifts up, the middle of the plane makes contact, then the aircraft lifts up and nearly flips over to one side before the fuselage crashes down one last time.
"I mean we're talking about seconds here," Repak said, "If he pushed the throttle here a little bit further out, none of this would happen."
Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was at the end of an 11-hour flight from Soul, South Korea. The pilot and co-pilot were the second crew on the long flight, and it was the pilot's first landing at San Francisco International Airport.
However, a clear sky and light wind provided ideal conditions for what should have been a routine landing.
"Yes, and I think the problem is the fairly routine part," Repak commented, "Because that's when you let your guard down."
Repak is certified to fly small aircraft, and his business, Sim Center Tampa Bay, provides flight simulators for entertainment purposes.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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