FAA Claims Fuddy Crash Records Destroyed

Addition: the procedures the FAA is required to follow for accidents involving commercial aircraft and/or fatalities or serious injuries can be seen at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/JO8020.16A.pdf , starting with paragraph 71 on page 27 of that PDF.

I did an interview with the Hagmann and Hagmann Report, which can be seen at http://www.frequency.com/video/hagmann-hagmann-15-july-2014/181264656/-/5-1002

What follows is a summary of one of the major points. (The request and response are found at https://butterdezillion.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/faa-foia-request-2-and-disclosure-letter.pdf ):

I submitted a FOIA request for FAA records related to the “Fuddy crash”, including radar, radio, computer records, handwritten notes, emails, and  phone calls including inter- and intra-agency phone calls during the 2-8pm HST time period as well as in the follow-up to the water landing of N687MA.

 

The FAA responded by sending from the Honolulu Control Facility (HCF)  some air traffic audio files, Daily Record of Facility Operation, Mandatory Occurrence Report, and  National Traffic Management Log (NTML). They also sent the result of a computer search for NOTAM’s (Notices to Airmen) for the Maui FAA facility.

 

The NTML had the identities of 3 “special operations” military aircraft redacted – one of which was scheduled in advance for 3-4pm HST on Dec 11th. The audio files suggest that this operation was in the Molokai/Kalaupapa area and left the area around the same time as the crash (based on the FAA investigator’s calculated time for the crash).

 

But beyond that, the FAA said that all the other records which would have been responsive to my request were destroyed.

 

No radar, no computer records/files, no handwritten notes, no emails, no phone calls. There were no other records responsive to my request; whatever might have existed had been destroyed:

 

“The search revealed no ATO records responsive to items 3, 4, 7. 9, 10, 12, and 13 of your request. There are no ATO provisions for recording the frequencies listed in items 12 and 13. In addition, this accident was classified as a “no services” accident, meaning no FAA facility had contact with the aircraft. No transcripts were created and any radar data responsive to item 9 or additional audio re-recordings that may have existed have been destroyed in accordance with FAA Order 7210.3Y, Facility Operation and Administration…”

 

A Mandatory Occurrence Report is the report required to be filed (usually by the last FAA facility to have contact with the plane before the accident) when a report and “accident package” and file are mandated because the accident involved a commercial aircraft and/or fatalities or serious injury. If there is a MOR there also has to be an “accident package” – pertinent records (of the very kinds I asked to see) collected (and retained for 5 years) by the reporting facility from all the FAA or FAA-contracted facilities which could have relevant records. HCF filed the MOR because (according to the MOR) HCF’s  Operational Supervisor in Charge was in contact with N687MA – although none of the audio files disclosed to me  showed that, and the frequency for the contact was not included in the MOR.

Those records should not have been destroyed. If they truly have been destroyed someone should go to jail for destroying them. If they haven’t been destroyed, somebody should go to jail for lying in an official FOIA response, in order to keep from being forced to disclose those records.

There’s more, which can be heard on the audio linked above. But for now I want to make sure that people realize the enormity of the FAA’s claim that they destroyed these records. There are a TON of discrepancies in the official records that have been made available to me, including these FAA written and audio files. But we can’t get to the bottom of what really happened because the FAA records which would reveal exactly what happened have been destroyed. according to the official FAA FOIA response.

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7 Comments

  1. Sheryl
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I expected as much…no one is going to admit to anything or produce true documents. But they can access all our deleted emails and calls, etc. just proves there is something to cover up and guilt. Thanks for all your diligence and work.

  2. Posted July 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent work again.

  3. Patricia
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Seems like their hard drive crashed. What a lame excuse

    • Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:10 am | Permalink | Reply

      Yep. Except worse – they claim they deliberately used a baseball bat on the hard drive…

      Sort of upping the ante, I’d say…

  4. Billy Rawle
    Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I listened to your interview and had several comments:

    1) According to airport statistics in 2010 there were almost 6000 aircraft operations for Kalaupapa airport. Four hundred (400) were military operations. On average that means on any given day there would be a military operation at Kalaupapa airport. At the time of the accident it was reported that a military aircraft was practicing touch-and-go landings. I would guess that most if not all of the 400 aircraft operations in 2010 were touch-and-go landings.

    2) According to the NTSB preliminary report from December 31, 2013, the crash occurred at 1522 HST. So an ELT report at 1523 is not unusual. Also it is not clear if the pilot turned on the ELT before the plane ditched in the ocean. This could have added several minutes to the reports of ELT transmissions.

    Here are several ELT models that have manual switches:

    http://servicecenters.cirrusdesign.com/techpubs/pdf/SR20Sup/11934-S36R1.pdf

    “Before performing a forced landing activate the ELT transmitter manually by turning the ELT remote switch to the ‘ON’-position.”

    http://www.pointerinc.com/images/Pointer_8000_Install-Op_Manual.pdf

    “Manual ON “ON” Overrides “G” Switch and activates ELT manually if pilot wishes to activate ELT prior to imminent emergency situation.”

    I disagree with your interpretation of the FAA response to you. They termed it a “no services” accident, so their facilities would have maintained any radar data or audio recordings for the normal retention times.

    Read this FFAO 8020-6-1 (I believe this is an older form). Note statement on second page “St. Petersburg AFSS provided no services to N428MB on April 25,2000.”

    http://ihst.rotor.com/portals/54/jhsat/accident_reports/196690.pdf

    Now compare it with the NTSB final report of the same incident.

    http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/index.aspx

    BTW, what’s the form number of the MOR? Can you post a copy? Can you also post your FOIA request so we can see exactly what you requested in the various items.

    • Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The Navy claimed there were none of their aircraft in the area at the time. They had one aircraft out at the time but it was claimed to have nothing to do with the Fuddy landing until the Molokai tower operator called it to help when it was south of Molokai at 4pm. It was supposedly doing SAR practice but couldn’t help with actual rescue of the N687MA victims because it “wasn’t SAR capable”.

      First off, when there is a commercial aircraft involved and/or there is a fatality or serious injury, an accident package is required to be compiled – regardless of whether services were provided or not. But if the plane showed up on radar, services were provided. If they took reports of the plane’s ELT services were provided. The “no services” excuse doesn’t work for all those reasons EVEN IF the MOR said nobody was in contact with the plane, but the MOR said the Operational Supervisor in Charge at the HCF was in contact with N687MA. So there are 3 reasons, right there, why the “no services” claim for destroying the records doesn’t fly (no pun intended).

      The NTSB report was preliminary. It also said that there were several serious injuries, but the FAA compliance report – completed by the Investigator In Charge (IIC) at HCF (the guy who filed the MOR and who collected and analyzed all the records as required – including radar which would have shown when the plane started and stopped squawking, which is the only way to accurately know exactly when the plane went down) said there were no serious injuries AND said the crash was at 3:27pm. The discrepancies in the NTSB and FAA claims show one of the critical reasons for the records to be SAVED (as required) and disclosed to the public: we currently have 2 different official narratives for what happened and when, and only the original records can tell us which (if any) is correct.

      Yet the FAA says they have no radar data. The HCF’s IIC wasn’t done with his investigation/analysis of those records until well after I filed my FOIA, because I was initially denied access to the FAA’s investigative records because the investigation was still underway. They did NOT destroy the radar data before the IIC finished his investigation, and by that time my FOIA request was in place to keep them from destroying records.

      No matter how you slice it, those records should not have been destroyed. If they were, it is criminal. If they lied about them being destroyed, that is also criminal.

      I will post the request and response soon.

    • Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Also, a landing and a take-off are each considered one operation, so if there were 400 military operations, it was 200 actual events where there was a landing and a take-off. I don’t know how they classified touch-and-go’s. Mark Miller, the DOH administrator for Kalaupapa, said there was a military aircraft doing touch and go’s in the area which first reported the crash. The Navy says that wasn’t so. What the FAA has disclosed has Hawaiian 2 reporting a loud ELT 4 minutes and 3 minutes before the FAA’s IIC says the crash happened.

      What can answer these questions/discrepancies are the radar and the audio recordings of the Molokai tower in contact with Lang. Which were required to be saved but the FAA says they destroyed…

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