Asiana 214: Airplane as Hero, and Other Analyses

The role of engineers, pilots, coaches, and God in the path toward disaster -- or safety.

Three weeks after the crash, I hear from several travelers that debris from Asiana 214 is still visible at SFO, apparently as investigators keep working through the clues. I am entering my last day-plus in my current Internet-impaired environment, so a few text-only updates.
1) The landing gear succeeded; they failed. From a reader in the Seattle area:
One factor not mentioned in your posting was the "failure" of the landing gear. That is, in an impact beyond the strength of the LG, they are supposed to detach from the wing without breaking the wing off or ripping open the fuel tanks.
They worked! (before the frisbee pirouette )
Likewise the engines. Unfortunately, one of them came to rest snuggled up to the fuselage, and was the ignition source for the post-evacuation fire....

I work for a certain aeronautical enterprise, and actually sent a congratulatory e-mail to the 777 designers...
2) Credit to the airplane as a whole. From another reader in the industry:
I agree that fatigue & a little bit of culture are the broken links in this chain of events.

I have worked as an aircraft mechanic for United Airlines for [more than 25 years] at [a major US hub], and most of us at work believe the 777 is one of Boeing's finest achievements. The talk around the hanger has always been the 777 "is so smart it's a very difficult aircraft to have an accident in," and unfortunately without that technology engaged on the aircraft that is exactly what happened to flight 214.
By James Fallows
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