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Pilots Not Heard on Tape
Cecil, AVWeb says, "it seems the 30-minute tape begins after the terrorists took
over the cockpit, and the pilots' voices are never heard."
Posts: 2574 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Flight 93 families to hear tape today
Last sounds of lost flight

Thursday, April 18, 2002

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Until today, the U.S. government has never played the cockpit tapes of an air disaster for families who lost loved ones, insisting that the sounds would be too raw.

Now, families of the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 will hear the 30 minutes of tension and chaos that preceded the crash of the jetliner into a Somerset County field Sept. 11. They felt they had a right to listen, to know. Their relatives apparently tried to take back control of the plane from four hijackers, and thereby thwarted another terrorist attack.

As they listen, the families will enter a zone normally inhabited only by a small corps of investigators hardened to bitter reality. Like coroners with headphones, the investigators seek to uncover the hidden causes of tragedies through painstaking analysis of the most minute clues.

They work from a National Transportation Safety Board laboratory in Washington that is stacked with mangled recorders, reminders of life's fragility. The listening room itself is spartan. There is a table and chairs, with headphones at each seat. At the end of the table sits a large computer monitor, so everyone can see as an NTSB technician transcribes what is heard on the tape.

Investigators regard this room as the agency's inner sanctum, a workplace in which they witness struggles that reveal both the harsh finality of death and the power of the human will to live.

"You are really very close to the soul," said Malcolm Brenner, an NTSB psychologist who specializes in voice analysis. "Speech is very close to how a person thinks."

The rest of the article:
Posts: 2574 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Barbara.... Thank you for posting this. I went to bed last night thinking about it, and I still could not convince myself that there was any good to any of this. I am pleased that the voices of the crew are not present. For me, (I have listened to them before in training classes) it is in no way an easy experience and I still have unpleasant memories from those tapes. Even for training, I think the written transcript is more than sufficient. In the case of UA93, I failed to understand how this potential nightmare generator will help anyone, and I feel sorry for anyone choosing to listen in.

As Shakespear wrote, in part, a lot of noise and fury, signifying nothing.
Posts: 58 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cecil, I also feel sorrow for those that choose to listen to that tape as I doubt they will ever be able to get it out of their minds as you've found out from your own personal training experience. There is a limit that we all have to what we can deal with and I know for certain that it would make me insane, particularly if I listened to the sr111 CVR. It makes me think of the old expression, "Be careful what you ask for -- you might get it." Author unknown
Posts: 2574 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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On the ethics and politics of this ...

It is shameful when members of the media misuse our first amendment right to free speech to commit grotesque violations of the privacy of the victims or tragedy, crime or terrorism. Our courts hold that the free flow of information cannot be suppressed by the law, except in cases where harm or endangerment is the direct result of said speech. On this basis, shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater may be banned, but hate speech and simulated kiddie-porn may not.

Therefore, the only way to prevent public disclosure (of just about anything) is to keep it a secret. Once the media's got information, they can't be prohibited from broadcasting or printing it.

In the case of tradedies like air crashes, this presents a special problem. The release of "sensative" information to individuals who might logically be deemed to have a "right to know" or at least a compelling interest in certain information is inhibited because _any_ disclosure is tantemount to public disclosure. Even non-disclosure agreements don't work, because a citizen cannot contractually give up a constitutional right.

Barbara and I agree that we would never want to hear the SR111 CVR tapes, nor would we choose to hear the Flight 93 tapes if we had lost a family member there. That being said, others feel differently. If nothing else, the NTSB's action with respect to the Flight 93 CVR tapes reflects an attempt to respond to the interests of the victims' families.

- Mark
Posts: 90 | Registered: Fri March 29 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I personally don't know IF I would want to hear those CVR tapes either,however I thought the article I read here in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette(Washington Post) was way out of line to say that the family members shouldn't hear it for this reason:One called the exercise "gruesome." Some pilots also said they believe it's unlikely the tape will remain truly private after families listen to it and then describe its contents publicly. "They'll be on 'Larry King Live' that very night," one pilot said.

Makes me wonder if they think being a "victim" makes you want to be a TV Star?

Posts: 5 | Location: Pittsburgh | Registered: Wed April 17 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Terri, Thanks for sending this along:

Flight 93 families hear cockpit tape
'It was excrutiating,' but 'it was wonderful in a strange and odd way.' -- Alice Hoglan

Friday, April 19, 2002

By Steve Levin, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

PRINCETON, N.J. -- They came hoping to glean a voice, a sound, a telltale hint of how the last moments of their loved ones were spent on United Airlines Flight 93.

Alice Hoglan fights back tears as she talks with reporters after hearing the cockpit audio of the final minutes of United Flight 93 Thursday at a hotel in Plainsboro, N.J. (Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette)

During an unprecedented private airing yesterday of the 31-minute cockpit voice recorder tape of the doomed Boeing 757 that crashed Sept. 11 near Shanksville, Somerset County, family members were able to hear their husbands', sons' and relatives' desperate bid to wrest control of the hijacked plane.

Federal officials, however, exhorted family members not to reveal any specifics about what they heard saying it could jeopardize the government's upcoming case this fall against Zacarias Moussaoui, who is accused of having been the so-called "20th hijacker," the one man who did not get aboard one of the four planes hijacked that day.

By the end of the day, all the relatives were honoring that plea. They talked in generalities; they expressed their emotions; but they would not divulge details of the tape.

"The cockpit voice recorder does indeed confirm that our loved ones died heroes," said Alice Hoglan, who son, Mark Bingham, died on the flight. "There was a heroic teamwork effort."

Hoglan and about 70 other family members of Flight 93 passengers and crew listened to the tape on earphones while a transcript of the voices was displayed on a large screen at the front of a ballroom at the Princeton Marriott Forrestal Village hotel. Hoglan said the voices were "very poor quality," often muddled and occasionally drowned out by the sound of wind rushing outside the cockpit as the plane sped at 575 mph at a low altitude.

The background noise made it difficult to discern individuals "even when people were yelling at the top of their voices."

Paula Jacobs, whose brother Louis J. Nacke II died on the flight, listened to the recording along with her brother, Kenny Nacke. When she emerged, her eyes were red from crying. Although she said she could not pick out her brother's voice, her brother thought he heard him.

"It's really subject to interpretation," said Jacobs, of Berlin, Md.

Two sessions were held yesterday. During the morning, families of the plane's seven-member crew listened to the tape. Afterward, none wanted to comment on the experience.

During the afternoon, families of the passengers -- virtually all but a handful were represented -- listened. When they left, most were escorted to their cars by FBI agents and New Jersey state troopers to prevent assembled reporters from interviewing them.

Some, however, chose to speak.

Hamilton Peterson, of Short Hills, N.J., listened to the tape with his wife, Julia. His father, Donald A. Peterson, and his stepmother, Jean Hoadley Peterson, died in the crash.

"The enormity of the tragedy is here," he said, "but it's a proud moment. These were clearly people who were informed of the unthinkable. They digested it and acted upon it in no time at all.

"If anything, I consider it another Normandy [invasion]. I think it's a message to the world that the American spirit is alive and kicking."

The FBI paid for the travel and lodging of two immediate family members of each of the crew and passengers to attend yesterday's proceedings. In addition, United Airlines provided round trip, economy class tickets for two additional family members for each crew member and passenger.

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