Blackbox recording on crashed cargo jet suggests crew lost control
AN audio recording recovered from the doomed Atlas Air cargo flight indicates the three pilots may have lost control of the Boeing 767 aircraft before it plunged into Trinity Bay
AN audio recording recovered from the doomed Atlas Air cargo flight indicates the three pilots may have lost control of the Boeing 767 aircraft before it plunged into Trinity Bay.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in a statement that its preliminary review of the audio found that 18 seconds before the flight's blackbox recording ends there were 'crew communications consistent with a loss of control of the aircraft'.
The cockpit recording recovered from the muddy wreckage of Flight 3591 captured the final moments of Captains Ricky Blakely and Sean Archuleta and First Officer Conrad Aska during the February 23 contract flight from Miami to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport with cargo from Amazon and the US Postal Service.
The three crew members were 40 miles away from their destination and in contact with air traffic control with plans to land at runway 26L. The pilots then made communications 'consistent with a loss control of the aircraft', according to NTSB.
It took about 30 seconds for the plane to plunge 11,750 feet and nose dive into the bay near Anahuac in Chambers County, according to the Houston Chronicle.
It was not known if the end of the recording signified the moment of impact. It is possible for cockpit voice recorders to stop working when the engines shut off, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.
The investigation into the cockpit audio continues, although engineers noted it was difficult to understand the crew members because of the poor quality of the audio. A copy of the two-hour-long recording was not available.
'The quality of the audio is poor,' the statement read. 'There are times during the recording when the content of the crew discussion is difficult to determine. At other times the content can be determined using advanced audio filtering.'
Investigators expect to release a transcript of the final transmissions in at least a week, officials said.