NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


November 17, 1999

The National Transportation Safety Board today released some updated factual information on its investigation of the crash of Egyptair flight 990.  This information is based on open items from Chairman Jim Hall's press conference yesterday evening.

Cockpit Voice Recorder Group

The Cockpit Voice Recorder Group is convening Thursday morning in the NTSB laboratory.  The group will include representatives from Egypt, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The Safety Board has also employed translators to assist in the preparation of the transcript.  The group's job is to produce a literal, factual transcript of all conversations and sounds recorded on the CVR.  The group expects to work through the weekend and will attempt to complete this transcript next week.

Flight Data Recorder

The last few seconds of the flight data recorder have been read out.  The pitch attitude of the aircraft moved from 40 degrees nose down to 10 degrees nose down.  The speed brake handle moved from the stowed position to the deployed position.  The last altitude registered was about 16,400 feet, at which time the aircraft was travelling at 574 knots true airspeed.

The elevator split, which had previously been reported, was further defined by the FDR group.  During the last 15 seconds, the number one elevator (left, or pilot's side) was in the nose up position, while the number 2 elevator (right, first officer's side) was in the nose down position.  The maximum split between the elevators during that period was about 7 degrees.  In the last second of data, the elevator split appears to be lessening.

The timing of some of the events noted on the FDR are as follows:

Wreckage Recovery

As reported by the Chairman last night, the Navy has been asked to contract for a large ship with heavy lift capability that can operate in heavy seas, and send it to the accident site as soon as possible for the retrieval of human remains and aircraft wreckage.  The Chairman noted that the cockpit would be a focus of initial interest in wreckage retrieval, which would be standard practice in case information can be gleaned from the positions of throttle levers, switches, etc.  So far, while the debris fields were scanned during the flight recorder retrieval process, they have not been mapped and the locations of particular parts of the aircraft have not yet been identified.

Party Representatives

There was a question last night about whether any parties to the investigation have been dismissed.  No one has been released from the investigation and the structure of the investigative team is the same as originally organized.  We have allowed some individuals to take time off for rest.

No press briefing will be held today.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.