Statement of Jim Hall
Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board
Newport, Rhode Island
November 3, 1999


Good evening. I apologize for postponing our late afternoon press conference, but our preparation for today's briefing took longer than we anticipated.

As you know, the high seas have prevented any further search and recovery efforts today. Some items that have been retrieved from the ocean's surface include personal effects, seat cushions, carpeting, a nose tire, a main wheel, spoiler panels, engine cowling, and 5 emergency slides.

The weather is expected to improve very slowly over the next week. This morning, there were reports of 22 foot seas. It is unclear at this time when we will be able to resume work. I'd like to introduce Captain Bert Marsh of the United States Navy to brief you on the weather and the recovery situation.

(Captain Marsh provided a short statement at this point.)

Last night, you had many questions about the thrust reverser system on the Boeing 767. Let me first state that we have no evidence at this time that the thrust reverser system played any role in this accident. However, because of a previous accident involving that system on another aircraft of the same model, and because the Federal Aviation Administration recently issued a proposed directive on the thrust reversers of some airliner models, there has been much public speculation about thrust reversers. I will ask our Investigator-in-Charge, Greg Phillips, to provide you with a quick technical overview of the system. More detailed information is available from the Boeing Aircraft Company.

(Mr. Phillips provided a briefing on thrust reversers.)

Diagram showing airflow through thrust reverser

Finally, we have additional radar data to report to you. Because of the complexity of the information, I have asked Mr. John Clark, Deputy Director of our Office of Research and Engineering, to present the report to you.

(Mr. Clark provided a briefing on radar data, including the following charts:)

  

Flight path of Egypt Air 990 from JFK to end of radar data. Data furnished to the NTSB by the Air Force 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron.





Last radar returns received from Egypt Air Flight 990, as recorded by FAA Boston Center enroute radar and the FAA Boston Approach Control radar on Nantucket Island. This view depicts the ground track of the aircraft as if viewed from above; it does not indicate altitude.


  
Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our factual briefing for tonight. I would like to remind you that the information you have heard tonight is preliminary and just a portion of what will be an exhaustive and scientific examination of what caused the crash of EgyptAir flight 990.

We'll be happy to try to answer some questions.

 

Chairman Hall's Speeches & Testimony