Friday, February 13, 2009

NTSB Briefing on Colgan Flt 3407 Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder

A short time ago, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board presented initial factual findings obtained from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) retrieved from the wreckage of the Colgan Air Dash 8 Q400 that crashed near Buffalo last night. Speaking at a press briefing, NTSB Member Steven Chealander said that information yielded by both the FDR and the CVR was of "excellent quality."

Chealander said the last 30 minutes of the CVR recorded that the crew of the accident aircraft briefed an ILS approach to runway 23 at Buffalo; and briefed weather of three miles visibility with snow and mist. At an altitude of about 16,000 feet they reported hazy conditions and requested a descent to 12,000 ft. Soon after, they were cleared by ATC to descend to 11,000 feet.

The crew "discussed significant ice build-up" on the windshield and the leading edges of the aircraft's wings. Just prior to those comments, the FDR indicated that airframe de-ice was selected 'on'.

One minute before the recordings ended, the crew extended the landing gear, and 20 seconds after that, 'flaps 15' was selected. Within 15 seconds of the flaps command, the flight director indicated a "series of severe pitch and roll excursions." Shortly thereafter -- and just before the end of the recording -- the crew "attempted to raise the landing gear and the flaps," said Chealander.

Since this is very early in the investigation, Chealander declined to elaborate or engage in any interpretation of the factual information presented.

Here is the video of the entire press briefing, which was held earlier today at the Buffalo Marriott Niagara, Amherst, NY, courtesy of MSNBC TV.

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on

RELATED: Click here to view all posts about Colgan Air Flt 3407 on Aircrew Buzz.