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Automated cockpit systems key to Asiana probe

By CNN Staff
updated 9:29 AM EST, Tue December 10, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Government weather-related closing prompts postponement of NTSB hearing
  • Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed on landing in San Francisco in May
  • Three people were killed and more than 180 others were hurt
  • Probe looks closely at pilot action aboard the Boeing 777

(CNN) -- Pilot reliance on automated systems to fly big jets and related errors have become a key focus of investigators digging into last summer's Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco that killed three people and injured more than 180 others.

Details were to be released at a National Transportation Safety Board hearing starting Tuesday. But the hearing has been postponed because of the federal government's weather-related closing, the NTSB tweeted.

The hearing pulls together the strands of the probe so far into the crash of Flight 214, but the board's conclusions and a final report are still months away.

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In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years. In this handout photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 sits just off the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday, July 7. The Boeing 777 coming from Seoul, South Korea, crashed on landing on Saturday, July 6. Three passengers, all girls, died as a result of the first notable U.S. air crash in four years.
Plane crash-lands in San Francisco
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Plane crash-lands in San Francisco Plane crash-lands in San Francisco

The hearing is also expected to examine how automated cockpit systems impact pilot workload, the meeting agenda showed.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that investigators will release new information highlighting how an over-reliance on cockpit computers and pilot confusion about automated engine thrust settings led to the crash in July as Boeing 777 sought to land at San Francisco airport. The report cited people familiar with the matter.

Originating in Seoul, Flight 214 struck a sea wall and skidded along the runway, breaking into pieces and catching fire.

Investigators have not yet said if the crew failed to activate auto-throttles, which aim to maintain a certain airspeed, or somehow disconnected them during the approach, the Journal reported.

The safety board would not confirm nor deny the Journal report.

No charges for firefighter who ran over Asiana crash survivor

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