News / Europe

Downed Malaysian Airliner’s Voice Recorder Intact

A pro-Russian rebel prepares to turn over recorders from crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Donetsk, Ukraine, July 22, 2014.
A pro-Russian rebel prepares to turn over recorders from crashed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Donetsk, Ukraine, July 22, 2014.

As the Dutch paid their respects Wednesday to victims of the Malaysian airliner shot down over eastern Ukraine, an international team of investigators is examining the Boeing 777-200’s voice and flight recorders for clues about its demise.

Investigators say the voice recorder retrieved from the crash scene has been damaged but shows no evidence of manipulation, the Associated Press and other media reported.

It had taken several days of negotiations before pro-Russian rebel leaders controlling the crash site near Donetsk had handed over the two “black boxes.” The voice and flight recorders tracked the final minutes before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down, killing all 298 people aboard. Nearly half of the passengers were from the Netherlands.

Watch: Related video by VOA's Carolyn Presutti

MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Detailsi
X
July 24, 2014 3:22 AM
The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.

The delay, along with U.S. accusations that the rebels had deleted social media posts boasting they’d downed an aircraft at approximately the same time and place at which Flight 17 exploded, have fueled suspicions of tampering. The rebels have proclaimed their innocence, instead saying the flight was shot down by Ukrainian government forces.  

Investigators found the voice recorder “was damaged but not manipulated, and its recordings were still intact,” the Dutch Safety Board said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.   

“Black boxes are designed to withstand tremendous force, but all of the data from the boxes are stored on memory chip,” says Anthony Brickhouse, who teaches a course on aircraft accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. “… Once you take the memory chip out, then it’s exposed. Conceptually, you could destroy” the information.

But “a trained investigator would be able to look at the unit and know it had been tampered with,” Brickhouse added.

What is a black box?

“Black box,” a misnomer, refers to the two recording devices required on commercial aircraft: a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data recorder. Each comes sheathed in bright orange metal casing to enhance visibility. They can be completely separate devices or they can be housed in a single chassis.  

A cockpit voice recorder tracks all sound in the cockpit, from conversation to ambient noise such as buttons being pushed or doors opening. “It will tell you what the crew was doing, right up until the time something untoward occurred,” said Les Dorr, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

“A flight data recorder will tell you what conditions the aircraft is experiencing and what the aircraft systems are doing at any given time,” Dorr said.

It can track air pressure, turbulence, wing adjustments, altitude and much more.

The Boeing 777-200 downed in eastern Ukraine was equipped with 20-year-old recorders, said Steven Brecken, spokesman for Honeywell Aerospace. The New Jersey-based firm had acquired the company that made the airliner’s first-generation solid-state recorders.

Its cockpit voice recorder had a capacity of 30 minutes, unlike newer models that go up to two hours before an incident halts its operation.

The airliner's flight recorder can track up to 25 hours. An airline and the government that oversees it determine what will be measured, Brecken said. “It’s proprietary information, not provided to Honeywell.”

NTSB investigator to assist

The U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board was sending a senior investigator to assist in downloading flight and voice data. Investigators will examine the flight data on Thursday, the AP reported.  

The NTSB declined an interview request, instead providing a video clip of research and engineering director Joe Kolly explaining and demonstrating how black boxes work.

The recording devices -- layered with aluminum and insulation and corrosion-resistant stainless steel or titanium – are built to withstand extreme conditions, according to Honeywell. The devices can retain data for up to two years, surviving impact of up to 3,400 Gs, ice, or fire of up to 1,100 degrees Celsius for an hour.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: David from: Italy
July 23, 2014 10:52 PM
Nazism speaks Russian nowadays!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid