Agency said the Boeing 767-300 cargo plane’s pilots lost contact with air traffic control in Houston during the last 18 seconds before the Feb. 23 crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s Office of Research and Engineering Vehicle Recorder Division completed an initial review of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders that were recovered over the weekend from the site of the Feb. 23 Atlas Air Boeing 767-300 cargo plane crash at Trinity Bay, Texas.
“The condition of the accident site made locating the recorders challenging,” the agency said.
The NTSB has drawn no conclusions from its initial review of the cockpit recorder’s details, which consisted of about two hours of recording while the aircraft was en route from Miami to Houston. The recording’s quality was described as “poor” and the agency said “there are times during the recording when the content of crew discussion is difficult to determine; at other times the content can be determined using advanced audio filtering.”
The Atlas Air crew was reportedly in communication with air traffic control during the aircraft’s approach to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Contact was lost, however, during the last 18 seconds of the recording.
The flight data recorder arrived at the NTSB’s Recorder Lab on Sunday night, and the memory module was disassembled, cleaned and dried and its data downloaded by Monday afternoon. The agency said the recorder investigators currently are verifying and validating the flight data recorder data, and the NTSB plans to provide a summary in an update during the next few days.
The NTSB also will produce a transcript from the cockpit voice recording. “It will be a time-consuming process to complete the transcript,” the agency said.
The two Atlas Air pilots operating the plane and a Mesa Airlines pilot, who was on his way home, were killed in the crash. The plane was transporting cargo for Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service.