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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid