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March 6, 2002
Letter to the Editor of The WAVE of Long Island
by Victor Trombettas

I was interviewed by The WAVE last week and asked to comment on my article
about the timeline of American Airlines Flight 587 I had compiled based
solely on NTSB, FAA, and Radar data. I had posted this article along with
all the other coverage at http://usread.com related to Flight 587. You are
welcome to all the research there on flight 587, and the video interviews of
witnesses, and to offer your comments, and even your assistance.

I'd quickly like to correct a misquote in the article. I was quoted as
saying that the call for max power by the pilot, the "recovery mode" the
NTSB's George Black Jr. spoke of, occurred 19 seconds before the NTSB's key,
8 second sequence. Instead, the call for max power occurred at 15 minutes
and 58 seconds after the hour, 15:58, 6.5 seconds before the NTSB had stated
it did.

George Black Jr. had directly given reporters and the public the impression
that the desperate crew comments picked up by the Cockpit Voice Recorder
(CVR), go to "max power", and we're "losing control", came *after* the tail
had broken off. This would certainly explain the obsession and narrow focus
the NTSB currently has on the tail. As I wrote in my timeline article at
usread.com, and mentioned to your wonderful Editor last week, this was a
*major* misstatement on the part of the NTSB, since the NTSB's own data
shows that the call for "max power" (which every heavy jet pilot will tell
you when this happens *in-flight* it means there is a very worrisome
situation at hand), and the crew comments that they were "losing control"
(only 2 seconds after the call for max power!), occurred 6.5 and 4.5
seconds, respectively, *before* the rudder and/or tail broke (the rudder is
the smaller, vertical flap attached to the back of the tail fin or vertical
stabilizer that can "yaw" the nose of the plane ... move it left or right).
This is a *big* deal my friends. If the tail did not lead to the problems
onboard that caused the crew to go to max power and only 2 seconds later to
be losing control, then what did? Wake turbulence? Something else perhaps?
There's no doubt the tail did break off. And so did the engines. But what
was the initiating event?

Also keep this in mind. The Flight Data Recorder stopped working 10 seconds
before the crash, the transponder antenna sent its last radar signal 16
seconds before the crash, and the communications (between crew and Control)
from the plane became severely distorted 18 seconds before the crash. The
engines didn't come off the plane until 3 or 4 seconds before the crash, so
it's not that they couldn't provide power to the craft. Are we also to
believe the tail separation also affected these three systems?

Here's the real concern I have and where the NTSB refuses to cooperate. The
NTSB has released much information (including Flight Data Recorder, FDR,
information) about the 8 second period from 15:59 to 16:07 when there was a
second 1/10th g-force lateral movement, the rudder moved wildly five times
and broke, *and* the FDR stopped working. The plane didn't crash till 10
seconds later at 16:17. However, aside from telling us that the FDR
recorded the first 1/10th g-force lateral movement at 15:39 (19 seconds
before their key, 8 second sequence) they have released no FDR data at all
for that 19 second period. There was a lot going on during those 19 seconds
including loud rattling noises of the airframe. The crew ended that 19
second period by calling out for max power. All this information from the
CVR, all this activity on board, and we have no information about the
plane's speed, altitude, and attitude. Nothing. The NTSB keeps wanting to
talk about the tail. That's fine. I'd like to talk about the 19 seconds too.
They seem *very* important.

Call Congressman Weiner. Ask him to familiarize himself with the timeline
which the NTSB won't comment on now with the response that all data released
so far is preliminary. What exactly does that mean? It is not a hard task
to synchronize the CVR, FDR, and FAA Tapes. They did it in November. Ask
him to call the NTSB and ask them for their own simple timeline of CVR and
FDR events from 15:39 onward. If he gets this I'll shine his shoes.

Victor Trombettas

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