Federal investigators looking into the deadly crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 are drawing some very public criticism from the country's largest union of airline pilots, which claims the National Transportation Safety Board is being too quick to discuss the preliminary findings of an investigation that could take months. Here's a snippet from the Air Line Pilots Association's full statement:
"ALPA is stunned by the amount of detailed operational data from on-board recorders released by the National Transportation Safety Board this soon into the investigation. The amount of data released publicly during the field portion of the accident investigation is unprecedented.
"It is imperative that safety investigators refrain from prematurely releasing the information from on-board recording devices. We have seen in the past that publicizing this data before all of it can be collected and analyzed leads to erroneous conclusions that can actually interfere with the investigative process."
Thus far, the NTSB has publicly said that the Boeing 777 may have been flying too slow in its final approach to SFO. It has also released information from the plane’s cockpit recorders, which revealed that the flight crew discussed aborting the landing as late as 1.5 seconds before impact. That information—coupled with the revelation that the pilot flying the plane was relatively inexperienced with that particular twin-engine craft—has many suggesting human error was to blame for the crash-landing. But, as commercial pilot Patrick Smith explained in Slate yesterday, "early theories as to why a plane crashed almost always turn out to be wrong or incomplete."