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CVR recordings being published by Accident Investigations

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CVR recordings being published by Accident Investigations

Old 8th Sep 2023, 13:03
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zaq
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CVR recordings being published by Accident Investigations

Yet again we see CVR recordings including the last words of pilots being disclosed by Accident Investigations. The latest AW169 example in Leicester, the Irish SAR S92 R116, various AW139 accidents all spring to mind.
I understood CVR recordings were always meant to be private unless release is consented to by the pilots. When CVRs were originally introduced in airlines there was a lot of objection due to invasion of privacy/big brother watching/content being used for disciplinary purposes etc but repeated assurances were given by Operators, Authorities etc that the content would only ever be used for accident investigation.
Previously, an Accident Report might have a summary describing "general conversation"/"other comment" etc or "pilots discussed"/"expressed concern" etc but never actual words.
Now, it seems common practice that the last words spoken are publicly disclosed and for what purpose - to satisfy a sensation-seeking media or ignorant/curious public?
Doing so does nothing to further an investigation or prevent future accidents. How painful must it be for the distraught next-of-kin to see their loved-one final words published?
Were they ever given the opportunity to object to the Report publishing them?
There is nothing worse than the sudden, violent death of a loved one. Being offered to hear their final words may or may not be something they want but surely publishing them is completely unnecessary and what does it achieve?
Does anyone else feel this practice should be stopped?
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 13:31
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There is a balance to be found between privacy and the required disclosure in the interest of safety and the application of law.
In an accident, transparency trumps privacy, when deaths are involved this is even more relevant.
It has been tested in the courts before, while recordings are deemed private in the course of the normal working day, once you leave that realm, privacy no longer applies.
Transparency for air safety and to enforce the rule of law is necessary.
Failure to do so only feeds the ever growing distrust that the public is taught about society in general by their preferred source of information.

Though I would question the value of sharing last words and information unrelated to either safety or matters of law, the latter which does vary significantly by country and convention.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 13:32
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I can't see the CVR recording link in the AAIB 169 crash report
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 13:34
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Zaq, my understanding was that playing or releasing actual CVR recordings was what was avoided in the past. Partial transcripts of discussions have been released as part of investigations for many years already, but with the purpose of understanding and learning from an accident, not other reasons. An example that springs to mind is the transmissions from KLM and PanAm 747 collision at Tenerife many years back.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 15:54
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It's important to realise that we are talking about a transcript of part of the recording here and not - as the OP states - the recording itself.

AAIB in the case of Leicester and Irish AAIU in the case of R119 will include in their reports (and have done for many years) transcripts of sections of the CVR that are relevant to the accident itself. (As i would say they are in the two cases you quote) They do not publish irrelevant conversation and are mindful of the sensitive nature of what they are dealing with.


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Old 8th Sep 2023, 18:07
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Originally Posted by zaq
...Does anyone else feel this practice should be stopped?
I disagree. Including parts of the CVR transcript relevant to the accident allows more insight for readers into the thinking of the pilot (if single pilot) or the CRM (or often lack thereof) if multi-pilot.

Recordings are sacred and it is totally right that these are tightly controlled, but parts of the transcript directly related to the accident in question can be very enlightening. I think the balance of excluding any detail on irrelevant topics is nicely struck as entire conversations are often skipped in a "[discussion about other helicopters, maintenance, FBOs]" filler which rightfully does not reveal private discussions with no relevance to the incident at hand.
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Old 8th Sep 2023, 19:44
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Can be a complicated thing -

If the accident investigating authority thinks that it may contribute to safety they can release the pertinent parts.

i.e. the Leicester AW169 report placed a lot of emphasis on whether the accident was controllable and it was used in that context so.....................?

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Old 8th Sep 2023, 22:13
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To the best of my knowledge no recording was released.
It is a partial transcript. Quite a difference
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Old 9th Sep 2023, 01:24
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Originally Posted by atakacs
To the best of my knowledge no recording was released.
It is a partial transcript. Quite a difference
This has been standard practice for at least 50 years - relevant portions of the transcript are released as part of the accident investigation report. Actual recordings are NOT released.
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Old 9th Sep 2023, 01:30
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I agree, where CVR recordings were once some what sacred as a direct result of justifying and having Pilots accept CVR’s in the airlines. I think this is slowly eroding.

The release of the Irish coast guard transcript well before (if memory serves me correct) even the preliminary report was appalling. I agree a redacted transcript should be released if it directly pertains to flight safety or the accident but it should not be expedited ahead of investigation. This was a good example where we could learn from the transcript however everyone was conducting their own air crash investigations and these were been published by the media. I have no doubt this would have caused much more stress for the families involved.

The 169 accident is an excellent example. There was nothing the Pilot could have done and it was a worst case scenario. What can be learnt by the industry releasing this data?
if the family wants to know it perhaps that is suitable but it does not need to be on the public record.

I have also seen a push to mission camera systems that record video and audio. Clients demand it and Employers agree with no regards to the Pilots. I personally view these as coming under CVR legislation and should not bypass those protections. Many Pilots are apathetic about this but if disaster stikes they may change their minds….

Last edited by SLFMS; 9th Sep 2023 at 02:29.
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Old 9th Sep 2023, 09:59
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Originally Posted by zaq
Yet again we see CVR recordings including the last words of pilots being disclosed by Accident Investigations. The latest AW169 example in Leicester, the Irish SAR S92 R116, various AW139 accidents all spring to mind.
I understood CVR recordings were always meant to be private unless release is consented to by the pilots. When CVRs were originally introduced in airlines there was a lot of objection due to invasion of privacy/big brother watching/content being used for disciplinary purposes etc but repeated assurances were given by Operators, Authorities etc that the content would only ever be used for accident investigation.
Previously, an Accident Report might have a summary describing "general conversation"/"other comment" etc or "pilots discussed"/"expressed concern" etc but never actual words.
Now, it seems common practice that the last words spoken are publicly disclosed and for what purpose - to satisfy a sensation-seeking media or ignorant/curious public?
Doing so does nothing to further an investigation or prevent future accidents. How painful must it be for the distraught next-of-kin to see their loved-one final words published?
Were they ever given the opportunity to object to the Report publishing them?
There is nothing worse than the sudden, violent death of a loved one. Being offered to hear their final words may or may not be something they want but surely publishing them is completely unnecessary and what does it achieve?
Does anyone else feel this practice should be stopped?
Interesting that this is your first post in 19 years!

I don't agree with your sentiment about satisfying sensation seeking media and I don't believe any of the reports you quote come close to that. By contrast, the US NTSB publishes entire transcripts from start to finish on their investigation dockets (albeit not available until after final report publication or a public hearing) Here's one high profile example: https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/?NTSBNumber=DCA09MA027 Item 84.......
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Old 11th Sep 2023, 10:19
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As has been said before, only the sections of the transcript relevant to the investigation have been published. The section quoted illustrates the effect of startle and surprise which is highly relevant to the actions the pilot took and confirming, evidentially, that given the situation, he reacted correctly and very quickly to an unexpected and disorientating situation.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 07:17
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Not just "accident investigators "!

In New Zealand the Police ( via a court order) managed to "force" the release of CVR/ FDR to them in order to prosecute the pilots of an Air New Zealand flight that crashed resulting in fatalities!

NZALPA tried to fight it but to no avail!

Pilots got done over.

Google it.
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 08:31
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Originally Posted by xny556
In New Zealand the Police ( via a court order) managed to "force" the release of CVR/ FDR to them in order to prosecute the pilots of an Air New Zealand flight that crashed resulting in fatalities!

NZALPA tried to fight it but to no avail!

Pilots got done over.

Google it.
If it was Flight 703 then the pilot was charged with manslaughter, but found not guilty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ansett...and_Flight_703
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 08:31
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Originally Posted by xny556
In New Zealand the Police ( via a court order) managed to "force" the release of CVR/ FDR to them in order to prosecute the pilots of an Air New Zealand flight that crashed resulting in fatalities!

NZALPA tried to fight it but to no avail!

Pilots got done over.

Google it.
I guess you would have opposite position to stated one if one of those fatalities was a family member?
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Old 12th Sep 2023, 09:49
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ICAO Annex 13 is the relevant document here, and it includes a complete appendix on Protection of Accident and Incident Investigation Records. The interesting bit is:
Protection of accident and incident investigation records

5.12 The State conducting the investigation of an accident or incident shall not make the following records available for purposes other than accident or incident investigation, unless the competent authority designated by that State determines, in accordance with national laws and subject to Appendix 2 and 5.12.5, that their disclosure or use outweighs the likely adverse domestic and international impact such action may have on that or any future investigations:
  1. a) cockpit voice recordings and airborne image recordings and any transcripts from such recordings; and
  2. b) records in the custody or control of the accident investigation authority being:
    1. 1) all statements taken from persons by the accident investigation authority in the course of their investigation;
    2. 2) all communications between persons having been involved in the operation of the aircraft;
    3. 3) medical or private information regarding persons involved in the accident or incident;
    4. 4) recordings and transcripts of recordings from air traffic control units;
    5. 5) analysis of and opinions about information, including flight recorder information, made by the accident investigation authority and accredited representatives in relation to the accident or incident; and
    6. 6) the draft Final Report of an accident or incident investigation.
Note that this is not a blanket 'no' against releasing transcripts. The recordings, transcripts and records mentioned are protected from being released, unless the competent authority determines that releasing parts may be necessary. The following note is also relevant:
5.12.2 The records listed in 5.12 shall be included in the Final Report or its appendices only when pertinent to the analysis of the accident or incident. Parts of the records not relevant to the analysis shall not be disclosed.

Note.— The records listed in 5.12 include information relating to an accident or incident. The disclosure or use of such information for purposes where the disclosure or use is not necessary in the interest of safety may mean that, in the future, the information will no longer be openly disclosed to investigators. Lack of access to such information would impede the investigation process and seriously affect aviation safety.
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