SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — In a response to the deadly Asiana Airlines crash, the Federal Aviation Administration is advising that all foreign airlines use GPS technology when landing at the San Francisco International Airport because of concerns over pilots’ experience with visual approaches.

On July 6, the Asiana pilot was learning how to land on runway 2-8 Left. He was on a visual approach when he came in too low and too slow, clipping the seawall – resulting in the deadly crash. Normally when weather is clear, pilots can land at SFO without relying on cockpit instruments, primarily the glide slope indicator; but that system has been out of commission since the beginning of June because of a construction project and it won’t be back up until the end of August.

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The FAA now wants pilots of all foreign airlines to use a GPS alternative, the R-NAV system, to land. The recommendation is being made because it is not clear if those pilots have enough experience to land visually. Mike McCarron, former SFO spokesman said domestic pilots have more experience with those situations.

“With U.S. carriers, most pilots are ex-military—Navy, Air Force or whatever—and they have a lot experience off instruments because you’re flying into combat or patrols over the water doing search and rescue—where you have to have to use all-manual flying,” he said.

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Former NTSB chair and CBS news aviation consultant Mark Rosenkur told KCBS that foreign airlines, particularly in Asia, often rely heavily on automation.

“I think, as we begin to look and recognize that we’re not training the number of pilots that we used to,
(we need to ask) where are we going to find these skilled people to make sure that we have a good enough, skilled enough, talented enough to be able to fly our commercial airlines?” he said.

Pilots are not obligated to use the R-Nav system, but they could be pushed to the back of the landing line if they refuse.

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