The NTSB says a “flight crew failure” nearly destroyed a plane bound for San Francisco International Airport

The NTSB says a “flight crew failure” nearly destroyed a plane bound for San Francisco International Airport

A United Airlines plane takes off in front of the stand of Air Force One at San Francisco International Airport on June 21, 2023.

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in December. 18, 2022 United Airlines Flight 1722, bound for San Francisco International Airport from Maui, descended just 748 feet above the Pacific Ocean before ascending back to the proper altitude. The plane returned to the proper altitude less than a minute after descending and eventually landed softly at San Francisco International Airport.

United Airlines did not immediately report the incident to the NTSB because the plane was not damaged and no passengers, crew or other persons were injured. in feb. 14, nearly two months after the incident—which has since been made public—the NTSB announced it would conduct an investigation.

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Because the organization launched its investigation months later, the devices that record what pilots say and what planes do have already documented much of the information from flights following the crash. This meant that the NTSB had to rely heavily on flight crew data and “other records,” according to the report.

The report stated that the ground controller informed the pilots of adverse weather conditions that day, which included heavy rain and wind. The captain in charge chose to take off at a specific location for the flight panels that would help the plane fly in this type of weather. After the plane had experienced turbulence, the captain advised his first officer to reduce the flap setting to five, but the first officer did not hear and thought the captain said 15. This caused the plane to speed up and descend.

The report stated that “the failure of the flight crew to manage the aircraft’s vertical flight path, airspeed, and pop-up attitude after a misunderstanding about the required captain’s flap setting during the initial climb” was listed as a possible cause of the accident.

air streamwhich first reported the story, has sources claiming that both pilots were new to flying the Boeing 777.

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United Airlines told SFGATE in a statement that United Airlines “is leveraging the lessons learned from this flight to guide the training of all United pilots.” The airline said in an earlier statement that the pilots involved in the incident had requested to undergo additional training.

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