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- May 29, 2002
- Flight 587 Update - "Evasive"
- by Victor Trombettas
- At the May 3rd NTSB/NASA Press Conference in Hampton, Virginia,
I had the opportunity to ask NTSB Chairman Marion Blakey the
following question: "We mentioned the five rudder movements
this morning. The crew comments calling for max power and also
their comments that they had lost control, where do they come
in relation to those five rudder movements ... before, during,
or after?" The Chairman's answer: "One of the things
we're doing, of course, is matching up the Cockpit Voice Recorder
(CVR) information with the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) data. As
you know, that's a complicated process takes a long
time to do. All of that will be provided for the Docket when
we have it but we don't have it now." Click here
to see a video or click here
for an mp3 clip of this brief exchange.
- The Chairman was saying that 6 months after the 2nd worst
aviation accident in the United States, the NTSB had not yet
finished synchronizing the CVR with the FDR and the FAA Tower
tapes. "All of that will be provided for the Docket when
we have it but we don't have it now." The
docket is the cache of factual reports that will be released
at the public hearings which will probably take place in D.C.
later this year.
- Unfortunately for the NTSB, their "we're sorry, we don't
have that info now" routine doesn't square with reality.
Based on a synchronization of CVR and FDR information the NTSB
had done and made public back in November during
their week in New York, and information from their first "Update"
on November 20th, and a February 8th Safety Recommendation, the
Pilot's calls for "max power" came before
the rudder movements and the alleged 2nd wake encounter. The
heart-wrenching declaration less than 2 seconds later that they
were "losing control" came as the rudder movements
were just getting started. More importantly, "max
power" and "losing control" came 6.5 and 4.5 seconds,
respectively, before the time the NTSB believes the vertical
stabilizer and rudder broke away. This plane was doomed before
the alleged 2nd wake encounter, before the rudder movements,
and before the separation of the tail.
- Clearly, if the NTSB felt confident enough back in November
to announce the time-stamps of milestone events on board the
plane, then by May of the following year the expectation would
be that their timeline would be nailed down tight. The Chairman's
answer implies they have less confidence now than they
did six months ago. That can't be. Why would the NTSB
refuse to publicly acknowledge the implications of the facts
I've outlined above? If the time-stamps they released in November
were incorrect the assumption is they would have informed us
of corrections as part of their monthly updates. There have been
- One word comes to my mind Evasive. A Former Air
Safety Investigator for the U.S. Government had a much more colorful
metaphor to describe his assessment of the Chairman's answer.
Too nasty to print. A CVR/FDR expert stated "I believe the
NTSB is terminally dead in the putrid waters of political scum".
- The Chairman did not want to get into a public discussion
about the implications of the Pilots of 587 being in a desperate
situation before the alleged 2nd wake encounter, before the five
rudder movements recorded on the FDR, and before the rudder and
tail broke away. To acknowledge these facts would instantly weaken
the subliminal theories slowly taking root in the hearts and
minds of some ... that a combination of wake turbulence and Pilot
over-control broke the rudder and tail. But more importantly,
the implications of the timeline point to an initiating event
or series of events internal to the plane. In other
words, something that cannot be attributed to a freak encounter
with wake vortices, or to Pilot actions. The NTSB insists there
is no evidence of terrorism, nor was there ever. If there was
no fire or explosion on board 587 (and obviously the FBI has
not ruled this out because they were still interviewing witnesses
in March who had seen in-flight fire) then there was clearly
a catastrophic loss of flight control brought on by a mechanical
and/or structural failure that has yet to be identified. If the
NTSB (and the FAA and American Airlines for that matter, as they
are parties to this investigation) do not understand the implications
of the timeline then it's time we all got a new NTSB. If they
do understand its implications, then they are playing
Russian Roulette with public safety because an Airbus A300 ripped
itself apart in-flight, they don't know why, and yet they continue
to fly these planes.
- As I've reported previously, we've identified one of the
Flight 587 Pilots as stating "Try Escape" on the FAA
tape, 12.5 seconds before the time the NTSB believes the rudder
and tail broke (the FAA had unfortunately transcribed "try
escape" as "nice game"). This call for the "escape"
procedure is significant because it occurs 13 seconds after the
first alleged wake encounter. An encounter the NTSB told us back
in November left the plane's attitudes "unchanged"
(attitude is the combination of the plane's roll, pitch and yaw
angles). Flight 587 had gained 500 to 700 feet after that first
"encounter". The "escape" call comes 7 seconds
before the alleged 2nd wake encounter. The call
for escape, the call for max power, the desperate cry that they
had lost control, all came before the separation of the tail.
They came before the five rudder movements.
- Please jump
to the U.S.Read Home Page where you will see more links to
Flight 587 stories.
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