Monday, July 29, 2013

Federal Aviation Administration Tells Foreign Pilots to Use GPS When Landing at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO), California


The FAA is taking action Sunday in the wake of the airline crash at San Francisco International Airport. 

 Foreign pilots are now being treated differently at SFO than U.S.-based pilots. The FAA told foreign pilots to use GPS when coming in for a landing at SFO.

There is concern some foreign pilots do not have the skills needed to safely land the plane manually, and that is part of the reason for the change.

There are two ways a plane can land on a clear day at SFO. The pilot can do it visually or use instruments that can guide the aircraft down to the runway.

But right now, because of construction, one of those landing instruments called glide slopes are not available on two of SFO's main runways, including the one that was intended to be used by Asiana when it crashed July 6.

The instruments are expected to be back in service in late August, but until then, the FAA is requesting foreign carriers to utilize another type of electronic help through GPS.

MORE: Rescue technology bought, not installed, at time of Asiana crash

Former NTSB official Greg Feith said the move by the FAA Sunday is extremely unusual.

"I think it's very unusual given the fact it is not isolated to one particular carrier but it involves multiple air carriers from foreign carriers flying into the US," Feith said.

Since the crash, the FAA says it has noticed an increase in the number of so-called go-arounds at SFO when the pilots are using visual approaches to land. In these cases, the pilots have to abort a landing and circle back around.

The FAA also said Sunday it is looking into an aborted landing by Eva Air on July 23.

The Taiwanese carrier was landing at SFO and the plane came in too low.

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