Balck Box Transcripts from Kenya Air Crash that killed 169 : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Secrets of the KQ black box

By NATION Reporter

The final moments of the Kenya Airways jet that crashed into the sea, killing 169 people, can be revealed today.

The last words spoken on the flight deck as the pilot fought to save his stricken jet are clearly revealed by a transcript of the plane's 'black box' cockpit voice recorder.

As a warning signal sounded to show the plane had stalled, the voice of the main pilot, Captain Paul Muthee, is heard giving the clear command to his co-pilot Lazarus Muli - Go up!

Within seconds the warning horn shut off and the hideous sound of the plane's first impact is heard.

And then, silence.

Both men died in the crash three months ago as the Airbus 300 took off from Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire, heading for Lagos, Nigeria.

After a lengthy struggle to recover the vital cockpit voice recorder (CVR), and flight deck recorder (FDR) both black boxes were sent to Canada, as a neutral country, for decoding.

The transcript of the CVR - technically called a "dry run transcript" was the result of experts from the airline, the Airbus manufacturers and Cote d'Ivorian and Kenyan civil aviation officials listening to the recording and agreeing on its content.

Each sound on the transcript from Flight KQ431 is given its own time to one hundredth of a second and all statements are attributed wherever possible either to the First Pilot, Co-pilot (also the First Officer) or Air Traffic Control.

In one nightmarish sequence, the air traffic controller can be heard counting down the height of the plane as it dived from 300ft into the sea - a journey to death that took exactly 7.4 seconds.

The crash happened just 40 seconds after two strange sounds were recorded during lift-off.

The section of the transcipt obtained by the Nation opens with the command by Captain Muthee, "V one and rotate" ... one of the many checks that take place during lift-off.

Next is the first indication of trouble. Just 4.5 seconds later there is what the transcript describes as "a very pronounced popping sound, possibly engine related."

Then, exactly one second later, comes "a subtle puff sound."

Captain Muthee: Positive.

Officer Muli: Positive rate of climb, gear up.

Then 1.7 seconds later the flight crew knew they were in trouble, as the transcript records: "Start of the audible stall warning."

Captain Muthee: "Uhhoo!" (noted on the script as exclamation/surprise/stress).

The voice of the (unidentified) air traffic controller then cuts in with the aircraft's altitude reading, in feet: 300. Less than two seconds later the tape records a sharp breath by one of the pilots, followed by Officer Muli making the sound: Ahhh?

Three seconds later, Mr Muli asks: What's the problem?

Relentlessly, Air Traffic Control keeps giving the altitude countdown as the Airbus goes into what proved to be its fatal dive: 200

One of the pilots, it is not indicated which, takes another deep breath.

Mr Muli: Silence the horn!

After this terse command, which goes unanswered and the stall warning horn keeps sounding, the tape runs on remorselessly as the final seconds of the drama are played out...

Control: 100

Sound of another breath.

End of stall warning.

Blip sound.

(Air Control counting) : 50, For... (possibly a cut off for 40ft), 20 ....10

The fire warning alarm starts

Then come the dreadful last words of Captain Paul Muthee - Go up!

Exactly one second later the fire alarm cuts off followed by the first sound of impact.

The recording ends.

After the transcript comes a note that had the landing gear actually gone up, following Captain Muli's response early in the recording, then the aircraft's computerised positioning warning would have been expected as the plane descended. The warning was not recorded however, suggesting to our expert source that the landing gear did not retract.

The Nation invited Kenya Airways to comment on the transcript and make any other observations they thought helpful. They declined to do so, saying that the airline was bound by international law not to comment on a continuing investigation.

Kenya's transport and communications minister, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, is expected to make a statement on the crash in Parliament, next week.

-- Carl Jenkins (, April 30, 2000


Dead men flying---what horror.

-- (, April 30, 2000.

They aren't supposed to take off (rotate) until V-two

-- Cherri (, May 01, 2000.

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