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Flight data recorders from the September 11 planes:

Flight 77[]

Various pieces of aircraft debris were found within the wreckage at the Pentagon. While evacuating the Navy Command Center, Lt. Kevin Shaeffer came across the aircraft's nose cone and landing gear in the service road between rings B and C.[1] Early in the morning on Friday, September 14, Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team members and Brian Moravitz came across an "intact seat from the plane's cockpit",[2] while paramedics and firefighters[who?] located the two black boxes near the punch out hole in the A-E drive,[3] nearly 300 feet (91 m) into the building.[4] The cockpit voice recorder was too badly damaged and charred to retrieve any information,[5] though the flight data recorder yielded useful information.[6] In addition to aircraft debris, investigators also found a part of Nawaf al-Hazmi's identification card.

Cockpit Voice Recorder[]

A photograph of the cockpit voice recorder from American Airlines Flight 77, as used in an exhibit at the Moussaoui trial.

At around 3:40 a.m on September 14, a paramedic and a firefighter[who?] who were searching through the debris of the impact site found two dark boxes, about 1.5 by 2 feet long. They called for an FBI agent[who?], who in turn called for someone from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB employee[who?] confirmed that these were the black boxes from American Airlines Flight 77.[citation needed][7] Dick Bridges, deputy manager for Arlington County, Virginia, said the voice recorder was damaged on the outside and the flight data recorder was charred. But he said the FBI still was confident the data can be recovered from both. Bridges said the recorders were found "right where the plane came into the building."[8]

Officials at both American Airlines and United Airlines said the black boxes aboard their destroyed aircraft were modern solid-state versions, which are more resistant to damage than the older magnetic tape recorders.[9] The cockpit voice recorder was quickly transported to the NTSB lab in Washington, D.C., and its data was downloaded. Soon afterward, the FBI took charge of the box and its data.[10] CBS News reported that "Preliminary information shows there is nothing that appears to be useful on the cockpit voice tape. The tape appears to be blank or erased."[11] In its report on the CVR, the NTSB identified the unit as an L-3 Communications, Fairchild Aviation Recorders model A-100A cockpit voice recorder; a device which records on magnetic tape. The NTSB reported that "The majority of the recording tape was fused into a solid block of charred plastic." No usable segments of tape were found inside the recorder.[12] The Flight Data Recorder failed to record certain parameters with certainty. Among the uncertain parameters was the status of the cockpit door, which showed no sign of having been opened during the hijacking or previous 40 hours, including 11 flights prior to the hijacking.[13]

Flight 93[]

Piece of fuselage found at crash site

Investigators also found a knife disguised as a cigarette lighter.[14] They located the flight data recorder on September 13 and the cockpit voice recorder the following day.[15][16] The voice recorder was found buried 25 feet (8 m) below the crater. The FBI initially refused to release the voice recording, rejecting requests by congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and family members of those on board.[17] The FBI subsequently allowed the relatives of the Flight 93 victims to listen to the recording in a closed session on April 18, 2002.[18] Jurors for the Zacarias Moussaoui trial heard the tape as part of the proceedings and the transcript was publicly released on April 12, 2006.[19]

Flight 175 and Flight 11[]

Cockpit recorders[]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the cockpit voice recorders (CVR) or flight data recorders (FDR), or "black boxes", from Flights 11 and 175 were not recovered from the remains of the WTC attack; however, two men, Michael Bellone and Nicholas DeMasi, who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, stated in the book Behind-The-Scenes: Ground Zero[20] that they helped federal agents find three of the four "black boxes" from the jetliners:[21][22]

"At one point I was assigned to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV. There were a total of four black boxes. We found three."[23]

The cockpit voice recorder from Flight 77 was heavily damaged from the impact and resulting fire.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, both black boxes from Flight 77 and both black boxes from Flight 93 were recovered. However, the CVR from Flight 77 was said to be too damaged to yield any data. On April 18, 2002, the FBI allowed the families of victims from Flight 93 to listen to the voice recordings.[24] In April 2006, a transcript of the CVR was released as part of the Zacarias Moussaoui trial.[25]

See also[]

Study_of_Autopilot,_Navigation_Equipment,_and_Fuel_Consumption_Activity_Based_on_United_Airlines_Flight 93_and_American_Airlines_Flight 77 Digital Flight Data Recorder Information

External links[]

Full data from NTSB


  1. Swift, Earl (2002-09-09). "Inside the Pentagon on 9/11: The Call of Duty". The Virginian-Pilot (Hampton Roads). Archived from the original on 2004-06-24. 
  2. "Web Exclusive: Washington's Heroes - On the ground at the Pentagon on Sept. 11". MSNBC. 2001-09-28. 
  3. Creed, Patrick, and Rick Newman (2008). "Chapter 41: A Great Find". Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11. Random House. 
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PentPerf
  5. Murray, Frank J. (2001-09-15). "Pentagon plane voice recorder is too 'cooked' to aid in probe". The Washington Times. 
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fdr
  7. Rosenberg,Debra (2001-09-28). "Washington’s Heroes: On the ground at the Pentagon on Sept. 11". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  8. "Searchers find Pentagon black boxes". USA Today (Gannett Co. Inc.). 2001-09-14. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  9. "FBI analyzing voice, data recorders from two flights". St. Petersburg Times. 2001-09-15. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  10. Bert, Ray (Spring 2002). "Hearing Voices". Transformations (Worcester Polytechnic Institute). Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  11. "Feds Would Have Shot Down Pa. Jet". CBS News. 2001-09-16. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  12. "Specialist's Factual Report of Investigation: Cockpit Voice Recorder". National Transportation Safety Board. 2002-04-30. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  13. [1]
  14. Associated Press (2005-09-14). "Revised 9/11 Report Reveals New Details". Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  15. Silver,Jonathan D (2001-09-14). "Will black box reveal Flight 93's last moments?". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  16. Smith,Matthew P (2001-09-15). "Flight 93 voice recorder found in Somerset County crash site". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  17. Candiotti,Susan (2001-12-21). "FBI won't release Flight 93 tape". CNN. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  18. Hirschkorn,Phil; David Mattingly (2002-04-19). "Families say Flight 93 tapes prove heroism". CNN. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  19. Associated Press (2006-05-03). "Moussaoui timeline". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  20. "Behind-the-Scenes: Ground Zero. A Collection of Personal Accounts – []". []<!. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  21. "9/11: Missing Black Boxes in World Trade Center Attacks Found by Firefighters, Analyzed by NTSB, Concealed by FBI". A CounterPunch Special Report — Did the Bush Administration Lie to Congress and the 9/11 Commission?. CounterPunch. December 19, 2005. Retrieved October 7, 2006. 
  22. Bunch, William (October 28, 2004). "9/11 "black box" cover-up at Ground Zero?". Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC). Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  23. Swanson, Gail; edited by Dennis Fisin (2003). Ground Zero, A collection of personal accounts. TRAC Team. 
  24. Families hear tape from hijacked Flight 93 April 18, 2002
  25. "United 93: full transcript". London: The Guardian. April 13, 2006. Retrieved September 20, 2009.