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Alaska Airlines Cockpit Voice Recorder Data Was Lost: NTSB

by Staff

The NTSB’s John Lovell examines the fuselage of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282.
National Transportation Safety Board

  • The cockpit voice recording from Friday’s Alaska Airlines incident has been lost.
  • It got overwritten after two hours and investigators couldn’t retrieve it in time.
  • The NTSB wants that period increased to 25 hours, in line with European requirements.

Data from the cockpit voice recorder of the Alaska Airlines flight that lost part of its fuselage Friday has been lost, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Jennifer Homendy, the NTSB chair, said at a media conference Sunday the data was overwritten because it wasn’t retrieved within the two-hour window.

Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 was in the air for about 20 minutes as it returned to Portland International Airport shortly after takeoff, per Flightradar24.

A door plug, which covered a deactivated emergency exit on the Boeing 737 Max 9, was blown off and oxygen masks were deployed. The door plug and two cellphones have since been recovered.

Shortly after the briefing, Homendy returned to announce that the door had been found by a school teacher in his backyard. It could provide key insights for investigators.

However, the lack of data from the recorder could make it harder to determine what happened during the flight.

“There was a lot going on, on the flight deck and on the plane. It’s a very chaotic event,” Homendy said.

She acknowledged that the Federal Aviation Administration had proposed a rule for increasing the holding time on cockpit voice recorders from 2 to 25 hours.

That’s in line with what the International Civil Aviation Organization recommendations since 2016, and the European Union’s requirements for planes made since 2021.

The FAA’s rule would only be for newly manufactured aircraft. Homendy pointed out that “you can easily install a different cockpit voice recorder and increase the time from two hours to 25 hours.”

“Cockpit voice recorders aren’t just convenient for the NTSB to use in investigations, or the FAA to use in investigations – they are critical to helping us accurately pinpoint what was going on,” she added.

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