Lack of black boxes in Dallas airshow crash may hinder investigation

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The classic plane in Saturday’s lethal collision at a Dallas air present, as anticipated, lacked flight knowledge recorders, making social media essential to the investigation, a federal official indicated Sunday.

“Neither plane was outfitted with a flight knowledge recorder or a cockpit knowledge recorder,” Nationwide Transportation Security Board member Michael Graham mentioned at a information convention Sunday.

Pictures and movies of the collision on the Wings Over Dallas Airshow, which killed all six folks on board the plane, could possibly be “very important, since we haven’t any flight knowledge recorders,” he mentioned.

Whereas flight knowledge recorders and different knowledge units, together with cockpit recorders, are required for industrial airliners, they’re non-obligatory for many different air operations, together with commuter, constitution and tour flights, in addition to most vintage aircraft, wherein digital units would typically should be tailored for mechanical flight management programs.

The design of the Boeing B–17G Flying Fortress in Saturday’s collision is almost 90 years previous. The opposite, a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, was a design Russia used throughout World Struggle II.

The NTSB has been calling for wider mandates for flight knowledge know-how for many years, because it has developed to change into extra highly effective and cheaper.

“The NTSB believes different forms of passenger-carrying industrial plane, akin to constitution planes and air excursions, ought to be outfitted with knowledge, audio, and video recording units,” the company mentioned in a text up to date Oct. 28.

The board famous, “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not mandated that plane operators set up [the technology], citing privateness, safety, value, and different issues.”

Debris from two planes that crashed during an airshow at Dallas Executive Airport lie on the ground on Nov. 12, 2022.
Particles from two planes that crashed at an airshow at Dallas Government Airport on Saturday.LM Otero / AP

Nonetheless, even underneath the NTSB’s want record for improved crash knowledge, such classic plane weren’t singled out.

The NTSB says flight knowledge know-how, together with cockpit voice recorders, or CVRs, might help investigators reconstruct the occasions resulting in an accident and discover a trigger and assist pilots and producers keep away from lethal errors.

The up to date flight knowledge recorder displays not less than 88 vital parameters, together with altitude, airspeed and plane perspective, knowledge that sometimes permits the NTSB to construct a computer-animated video reconstruction of the flight, according to the agency. A cockpit voice recorder “data the flight crew’s voices, in addition to different sounds contained in the cockpit,” the NTSB web site says.

Graham mentioned it is common for the company to research collisions involving plane with out black bins.

“Sadly, lots of the normal aviation accidents that we see on the market, there is no such thing as a flight knowledge recorder or CVR, and lots of instances there is no such thing as a video, so it’s totally troublesome for us to find out the possible trigger,” he mentioned.

“There are occasions we can’t decide the possible trigger to an accident,” he added.

Graham requested the general public to ship pictures or movies they captured of the crash to

A preliminary report is anticipated in 4 to 6 weeks, he mentioned. The total investigation will final 12 to 18 months earlier than the ultimate report is launched, he mentioned.

The investigation will deal with airworthiness, operations, air site visitors management and air efficiency, Graham mentioned.

NTSB officers are analyzing radar and video to pinpoint the place the collision occurred; starting interviews, the content material of which won’t be launched; and acquiring audio recordings from air site visitors management, Graham mentioned.

Officers additionally plan to acquire pilot coaching and plane upkeep data from Commemorative Air Power, the group behind the present. And they’ll look at the airframes, or the planes’ buildings, and their engines after having moved them to a safe location, he mentioned.

Graham mentioned it is too early to find out whether or not the crash was attributable to a mechanical error or pilot error.

“We’ll take a look at all the pieces we will, and we’ll let the proof lead us to the suitable conclusion,” he mentioned.

Wings Over Dallas Airshow organizers and Clay Jenkins, the choose, or CEO, of Dallas County, confirmed that six folks died within the collision; 5 had been on the B-17G, and the opposite was aboard the P-63.

The present, in its seventh yr, showcases World Struggle II flying prowess and know-how, organizers mentioned. The planes belong to the host group, the Commemorative Air Power, which maintained a fleet of 180 plane earlier than the crash.

The nonprofit group’s CEO, Hank Coates, mentioned at a information convention Saturday that its plane are meticulously maintained and that pilots, typically skilled former army and industrial service flyers, are strenuously vetted.

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