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Foreign airlines urged to use GPS for SFO landings

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal aviation officials have advised all foreign airlines to use a GPS system instead of visual reckoning and cockpit instruments when landing at San Francisco International Airport in the wake of the deadly Asiana Airlines crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the recommendation on Sunday involving main runways at the airport, saying in a statement that it took the action after noticing an increase in aborted landings at the airport by some foreign carriers flying visual approaches into the airport.

Pilots on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 had been cleared to make a visual approach when the plane crash-landed on July 6. Three people died, and 180 others were injured among the 307 aboard the flight that came in too low and too slow, slamming its landing gear into a seawall well before the actual runway.

Seconds before the accident, the pilots called for a go-around, meaning they abort a landing and circle for another approach. The FAA said the maneuvers are "routine, standardized procedures that can occur once a day or more at busy airports for various reasons."

Last week, for example, Taiwanese carrier EVA Air approached a San Francisco runway too low then aborted the landing and began another approach. The agency said it was investigating that flight. It did not say how many other such incidents have occurred.


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