Inglewood, California, City Hall.
The NTSB conducted a public "deposition" of three mishap-pilots, staged as a media event: with each individual pilot confronted by TV lights & cameras, with twenty-six microphones. Then one-by-one, each individual pilot was forced
into his own "perp-walk" toward a seat in the middle of the ring of inquisitors.
Each mishap-pilot answered questions from
NTSB, Boeing, TWA, and one FAA spokesman.
Kampschror stated that this was not a "Public Hearing" [as defined in §845.10],
and it did not qualify as a Public Hearing [per §845.11]:
Thus there were none of the usual procedural safeguards customary of a formal Public Hearing,
no Board Member attended this depositional proceeding,
nor had there been any Board Member serving on-scene at DTW
[no Go Team went to Detroit].
In contrast to the "interview" style questioning from NTSB staff and Boeing (all engineers), the longest interrogation was by the FAA representative (an attorney), mostly in a hostile manor of an enforcement proceeding.
NTSB allowed that attorney to act as "spokesman" for FAA :
that attorney dominated that NTSB proceeding.
This mismanaged NTSB "depositional proceeding" added to the earlier breakdown of the NTSB's "safety investigation", by mixing-in assertions of crew misconduct -- rather than considering the usual engineering fault-analysis of the preexisting latent-failures in N840TW's subsystems.
From pg 207:
. . . A number of points surrounding the incident were also found questionable by members of the inquiry. To begin with, the cockpit voice recorder tape on the 727 had been erased after Flight 841’s emergency landing at Detroit. CVRs are not permitted to be used by the FAA in any disciplinary action. The recorder tape operates on a continuous, thirty minute loop and would not have recorded details of the dive, but the NTSB were suspicious that conversations on the flight deck after the incident could have revealed details of the crews’ actions and were deliberately erased. . . . Most pilots feared misuse of its information and regularly erased the tape after a trip. Under questioning by counsel, Captain Gibson admitted that he, too, normally erased the tape after a flight but that in this instance he could not remember doing so.
From pg 208:
. . . The investigating team clearly felt that the erasure of the CVR was deliberate. If the inadvertent operation of the number seven leading edge slat was also to be proved part of a deliberate act by the crew, then any mechanical failure of components would have to be discounted. . . .
From pg 217:
At the beginning of the inquiry, suspicions of malpractice were initially aroused by what appeared to the investigators to be the deliberate erasure of the CVR by Captain Gibson. The crew, the NTSB surmised, must have had something to hide. Erasure of the tape by Gibson, however, was clearly shown to be impossible. The CVR can be erased by the pilot only when the aircraft is safely on the ground with the parking brake set. Squat switches on the landing gears contact when the oleos compress with weight, closing circuits which confirm the machine is on the ground.
The high speed lowering of the Landing Gear during the upset,
resulted in damage which tore the squat switches and circuitry from the structure and
. . . . . . . . . . the 727 landed with both main gear lights glowing red.
The CVR erasure circuit was incomplete and,
. . . . . . even if the captain had pressed the button on the flight deck,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . nothing would have happened.
Gibson could NOT have deliberately erased the tape and
the NTSB’s initial suspicion that he did so because he had something to hide, was unjustified.
- . . -xxxxxxx
What is more, this was known and understood by the investigators early in the inquiry. Also after erasure, the tape recycled and a further nine minutes of conversation, including statements relating to the incident, were recorded. If it had been Gibson’s intention to erase the tape, and it had been physically possible to do so, it is most unlikely that any evidence would have remained. So how was the tape erased? ‘Popular Mechanics’ magazine interviewed a CVR technical expert and revealed that on a slow transfer of electrical power from the 727 engine to the APU, which Banks accomplished on this occasion, erasure of the CVR is possible. This is the only way in which erasure of the tape could have occurred. The timing of the tape recycling and the moment of slow power transfer also corresponded, as did the ending of the recording, nine minutes later, and the shut down of the APU.
The CVR-Specialist's Report, in the docket, does NOT show any testing of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR),
never done aboard N840TW, never any bench-test of that CVR-unit while at the lab' in D.C.
During the first week after the mysterious inflight upset, at the earliest NTSB-interviews, crew had described a "popping sound" at the very beginning of the INITIAL upset [an audible characteristic of engine compressor-stalls during sudden sideslip-angle Beta].
By the end of the first week of April'79, the NTSB had found that the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) magnetic- tape, aboard the mishap-aircraft, had been degaussed after exposure to an electromagnetic-field. The NTSB's CVR "specialist" (Paul Turner) inferred that the tape- degaussing had happened "while parked" due to excitement of the recorder's own "bulk erase" sub-system. Turner's report stated his inference as instead a fact, his wording threw suspicion on the mishap-pilot, implying an intentional act by the pilot done after landing [for example, a pilot pressing the ERASE button in the cockpit].
Then on April 12th, in Inglewood California (near the pilot's LAX assigned-airport), the NTSB hosted a "depositional proceeding" permitting the various parties to
cross-examine the three mishap-pilots (done most aggressively by one FAA attorney).
Failure - Interactions
Col. Paul Turner
The FAA -- the Regulator -- not only checked the airlines (aircraft and pilots). The FAA's Seattle ACO (Aircraft Certification Office) had certified the B-727: Note the FAA certification-pilot, Earl Chester, in this video recording of the April 12 "public deposition" -- Earl is next to, and conferring with FAA's party "spokesman" -- an attorney.
interview rather than interrogate.
Many viewers did not recognize that the USA's FAA had a strong motive to defend their certification of the B-727. Observers failed to appreciate that NTSB allowed this FAA-attorney to inject his
cross examination techniques
into the interview style of engineers and pilots.
["Crew Interview", Aircraft Accident Investigation Procedures and Techniques. Oklahoma City, OK.: Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Center, May 1978, p 55.]
Later, during the October 2nd, 1980, Boeing flight test aboard the company's B-727 "E209", that same FAA certification pilot (Earl C.) flew with Boeing's Chief Test Pilot: the Boeing pilot and that FAA pilot produced the flight-test "data" used to prop-up the NTSB's favored conjecture --
the Boeing Scenario.
Boeing, and FAA, were bound together in their efforts to defend their certification of the B-727.
above & behind the pilots' inboard shoulder (up).
. . .