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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid