July 8, 2013– The July 6, 2013 crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Instrument landing System (ILS) at the airport , on the runway which was used for the landing of the Asiana plane, was not fully operational.It is not clear if this was a factor in the crash, as the NTSB is still investigating the accident and they have not released any kind of preliminary report. They say that it is premature to find the root cause of the event, which is apparently, the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 777.
It is not though that the ILS is essential for landing, as it was a clear sunny day with good visibility and weather for landing. Airports routinely take off the ILS for maintenance on clear sky days, as pilots can land the plane manually with the aid of the plane’s instruments.
The ILS is essential for safe landings during inclement weather conditions with poor visibility such as heavy rainfall or fog. The glide path technology of a modern ILS calculates the descent path and height/speed necessary for smooth landing in real time and “talks” with the plane, thus enabling a smooth landing.
Aviation experts say that due to over reliance on ILS and other forms of automation, pilots’ manual landing skills may get eroded over time. They strongly suggest that pilots get refresher training in landing planes without the aid of the ILS.