Re: Swissair MD-11 (SR 111, JFK-GVA) crash off Nova Scotia

Date:         09 Sep 98 04:12:10 
From:         Pete Mellor <>
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Further to Karl's message with the basic facts of this crash,
the UK media (BBC Radio 4 news and Guardian newspaper) reported
today (Sunday) that the flight data recorder had been recovered
and read.  (The CVR is still to be located, although signals from
it have been detected by sonar.)

Unfortunately, the DFDR was found to have stopped recording at
the point at which the aircraft descended below 10,000 feet,
i.e., it does not cover the last 6 minutes of the flight, during
which the behaviour of the plane is the most mysterious!
Investigators speculate that this is due to a total loss of
power at that time.

>From the state of the wreckage and the bodies, the impact appears
to have been *extremely* violent.

Already, there are allegations of pilot error (the captain should
not have wasted time circling to dump fuel, but should have gone
straight into Halifax). I think the ground rules about premature
speculation should apply here?

Peter Mellor, Centre for Software Reliability, City University, Northampton
Square, London EC1V 0HB, UK. Tel: +44 (171) 477-8422, Fax: +44 (171) 477-8585