Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cockpit Voice Recorder Transcript from Colgan Air Flight 3407 released by the NTSB

NTSB logoPublic hearings got underway yesterday regarding the crash of a Colgan Air Dash-8 Q400 near Buffalo in February of this year. The hearings are being held in Washington, DC at the Board Room and Conference Center of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Yesterday was the first of three days of hearings about the accident flight, which was operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407.

Among the documents released by the NTSB yesterday is the transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the accident flight. The CVR transcript documents crew conversations throughout the flight, as well as radio transmissions between the flight deck and various ground facilities, and sounds from inside the cockpit.

A number of news media outlets have quoted excerpts and snippets from the CVR transcript in articles about the accident. Sadly, these have been presented out of context in several instances. I encourage anyone with an interest in this accident to read the entire transcript, which is available for download from the NTSB website.

I understand that the NTSB website has been very busy since the beginning of the hearings. If you are unable to access the CVR transcript directly from the NTSB site, here is an alternative source:
Note: The present hearings are a part of the ongoing investigation of this accident by the NTSB. It will be some time before a final report is issued. Determination of probable cause will be a part of that final report. Until that time, all interpretations by the news media of the data released so far should be considered with a certain level of skepticism, as they are based on incomplete information.

UPDATE: I'd like to draw readers' attention to two particularly interesting articles related to information that has emerged at the NTSB hearings about the Colgan accident.

For a former Q400 pilot's view of events during the final minutes of Flight 3407, have a look at Sam's thoughtful analysis: Thirty Seconds of Silence, on Blogging At FL250.

Then see journalist Joe Sharkey's article about the issue of pilot fatigue (and a bit about regional pilot pay), with reference to (and quotes from) testimony given at the NTSB hearing: Blaming the Dead Tired Pilots for Colgan Air Buffalo Crash, on Joe Sharkey At Large.

Both articles are well thought out, and each makes several points that should not be overlooked. They are well worth the time it takes to read them.

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