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Letters: The stick-and-rudder gap

July 09, 2013
  • Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board inspect the site of the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board inspect the site… (NTSB )

Re "Jet on verge of stalling before crash," July 8

The crash of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday highlights a very real problem: automation dependency. The article describes this as "a growing trend among pilots to rely so heavily on computerized flight systems that they lose their own proficiency to fly an aircraft without assistance."

One aviation expert quoted in the article speculated that the Asiana pilots probably "weren't accustomed to making visual landings without coupling their systems to the instrument landing system."

This doesn't just apply to "foreign" pilots but also our airline pilots. And, most disturbing of all, this extends to student pilots taking flying lessons at our flight schools, where the focus has become more on the instruments than learning to fly the airplane.

If one doesn't have stick-and-rudder flying skills, all the instruments in the world won't help if the instruments quit working.

Trent D. Sanders

La CaƱada Flintridge

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