When I arrived home yesterday at 23.30 and went online to tell my friend, Tito, that I had meet a guy that looked like him a lot. After a few minutes of light conversation he asked, “Hey, have you heard the black box recording of Adam Air?”. And I spontaneously said, “No, why,” because as I know the black box recording is classified and not to be leaked to the media. except the excerpts to conclude the causes of the accident and make a safety recommendation from it.
I work for a JICA project on Aircraft Accident Investigation, and we’ve been working with the Indonesian NTSC (National Transportation Safety Committee) over at the Ministry of Transportation. So, I actually know a thing or two about the accident of Adam Air flight DHI-574 BOEING 737–4Q8 Accident in the Makassar Strait, Sulawesi on January 1st, 2007. So when, my friend told me that the black box recording was everywhere on the net and even being played at the TV, I didn’t believe it at first. So, I downloaded the sound file went through it with the official NTSC report which you can download here. At first I thought this was a hoax, but when I check the time span and the conversation especially near the end of the file, I found that it is in fact the real deal. And I was shocked! I emailed this fact to my boss right away. (I’m not going to post a link, seeing that it’s SHOULD not be spread futher because it can cause grief and mental confusion for the public).
Before I jump further, I need to explain what is actually a black box. They are in fact, 2 separate device on is the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) for recording the sounds in the cockpit and the FDR (Flight Data Recorder), located in the tail of an aircraft and it records flight parameters.What is spreading like wild fire now is the recordings of the CVR. Now aside from the apparent public panic, mainly from it being played on TV and having the files available of the net, I can see people wrote that the pilot was joking before the plane crashed. This is the exact thing why CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder – aka the black box) SHOULD NOT be released to the media. For one thing, according to International Civil Aviation Organization’s Annex 13(you can download the complete annex 13 here), “the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents” and “it is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability”.
Another thing from the Annex 13 is:
Responsibility of the State conducting the investigation
1. Designate IIC and initiate the investigation immediately. (5.5)
2. Independence in the investigation and unrestricted authority.(5.4)
3. Separate blame or liability. (5.4.1)
4. Read-out of FDR without delay. (5.7)
5. Effective use of FDR. (5.7)
6. Non-disclosure of records. (5.12)
– All statements taken from persons. (ex statements of witness.)
– All communications in the operation of the aircraft. (ex. ATC )
– Medical or private information.
– CVR recordings and the transcription.
– Opinions expressed in the analysis of information.
I don’t know much about what is to happen next. But I think that Indonesia will receive a lot of heat from the ICAO and other related parties. What is need to be done is damage control and people can help by not making their on conclusions about the accident and with a bit of luck it would be nice if the media didn’t blow things out of proportion. Please read the final report thoroughly. To say that the accident was because of human error is not helping cause for common people, human error could lead to blame >_<. The investigation purpose is not to BLAME but to PREVENT the same accident of ever happening again. I really hope people can understand this.
Okay, that’s it, I just need to get this out of my chest to have peace on my well-deserved weekend. Tomorrow I’m gonna meet up with friends from high school.
I just want to clarify that I was never involved with the NTSC’s activity. As you can see in my blog I wrote: “I work for a JICA project on Aircraft Accident Investigation, and we’ve been working with the Indonesian NTSC (National Transportation Safety Committee) over at the Ministry of Transportation.”
The fact is that:
1. What I wrote was my own opinion and did not represent those of JICA, NTSC or the Ministry of Transportation.
2. I am not an engineer nor am I an expert in aviation. I do not have the ability to analyze CVR and DFDR recordings. So, I checked the sound file just from the NTSC report.
3. I did say, “I actually know a thing or two about the accident of Adam Air…” but not on a large scale. I only followed the news about it, attended the press conference (on which I received many information from some senior pilots), and study the report released by NTSC.
The writings on my blog should not be used to actually confirm that the CVR recordings are “the real deal”, seeing that I’m still following further progress on this news.