EgyptAir Flight 990

EgyptAir Flight 990 (MS990/MSR990) was a regularly scheduled flight from Los Angeles International Airport, United States, to Cairo International Airport, Egypt, with a stop at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City. On October 31, 1999, the Boeing 767 operating the route crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (100 km) south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, killing all 217 passengers and crew on board. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the probable cause of the accident was the airplane's departure from normal cruise flight and subsequent impact with the Atlantic Ocean as a result of the relief first officer's flight control inputs. The reason for the relief first officer's actions was not determined.[1]

As the crash occurred in international waters, it was investigated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation's Egyptian Civil Aviation Agency (ECAA) under International Civil Aviation Organization rules. As the ECAA lacked the resources of the much larger U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Egyptian government asked the NTSB to handle the investigation. Two weeks after the crash, the NTSB proposed handing the investigation over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as the evidence suggested that a criminal act had taken place and that the crash was intentional rather than accidental. This proposal was unacceptable to the Egyptian authorities, and hence the NTSB continued to lead the investigation. The NTSB concluded "not determined", while the ECAA determined that the incident was caused by mechanical failure of the aircraft's elevator control system.[1][2]

The ECAA's report suggested several control failure scenarios as possible causes of the crash, focusing on a possible failure of one of the right elevator's power control units.[2] While the NTSB's report stated the impact was "a result of the relief first officer's flight control inputs", the report did not determine a specific reason for the relief first officer's alleged actions.[1]

EgyptAir Flight 990
Egyptair Boeing 767-300 in 1992
SU-GAP, the aircraft involved in the accident, taxiing at Düsseldorf Airport in June 1992.
Occurrence
DateOctober 31, 1999
SummaryCause disputed:
 Not determined, but the probable cause is the relief first officer's flight control inputs (NTSB)
 Mechanical fault in elevator control system (ECAA)
SiteAtlantic Ocean, 100 km (62 mi) south of Nantucket
40°20′51″N 69°45′24″W / 40.34750°N 69.75667°WCoordinates: 40°20′51″N 69°45′24″W / 40.34750°N 69.75667°W
Aircraft
Aircraft typeBoeing 767-300ER
Aircraft nameTuthmosis III
OperatorEgyptAir
IATA flight No.MS990
ICAO flight No.MSR990
Call signEGYPTAIR 990
RegistrationSU-GAP
Flight originLos Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, California, United States
StopoverJohn F. Kennedy International Airport
New York City, United States
DestinationCairo International Airport
Cairo, Egypt
Occupants217
Passengers203
Crew14
Fatalities217
Survivors0

Aircraft, crew, and passengers

Aircraft

Flight 990 was being flown in a Boeing 767-366ER aircraft with registration SU-GAP, named Tuthmosis III after a pharaoh from the 18th Dynasty. The aircraft, a stretched extended-range version of the standard 767, was the 282nd 767 built. It was delivered to EgyptAir as a new aircraft on September 26, 1989.[1]

Cockpit crew

Flight 990's cockpit crew consisted of 57-year-old Captain Ahmed El-Habashi, 36-year-old First Officer Adel Anwar who was switching duty with another co-pilot so he could return home in time for his wedding, 52-year-old relief Captain Raouf Noureldin, 59-year-old relief First Officer Gameel Al-Batouti, and the airline's chief pilot for the Boeing 767, Captain Hatem Rushdy. Captain El-Habashi was a veteran pilot who had been with EgyptAir for 36 years and had accumulated approximately 14,400 total flight hours, more than 6,300 of which were on the 767. Relief First Officer Al-Batouti had close to 5,200 flight hours in the 767 and a total of roughly 12,500 hours.[1]

Because of the 10-hour scheduled flight time, the flight required two complete flight crews, each consisting of one captain and one first officer. EgyptAir designated one crew as the "active crew" and the other as the "cruise crew", sometimes also referred to as the "relief crew". While there was no formal procedure specifying when each crew flew the aircraft, it was customary for the active crew to make the takeoff and fly the first four to five hours of the flight. The cruise crew then assumed control of the aircraft until about one to two hours before landing, at which point the active crew returned to the cockpit and assumed control of the aircraft. EgyptAir designated the captain of the active crew as the pilot-in-command or the commander of the flight.[1]

While the cruise crew was intended to take over far into the flight, relief first officer Al-Batouti entered the cockpit and recommended that he relieve the command first officer 20 minutes after takeoff. Command first officer Anwar initially protested, but eventually relented.[1]

Passengers

The flight was carrying 203 passengers from seven countries: Canada, Egypt, Germany, Sudan, Syria, the United States, and Zimbabwe. Of the 217 people on board, 100 were American, 89 were Egyptian (75 passengers, 14 crew), 21 were Canadian, and 7 were of other nationalities.[3] 54 of the American passengers, many of them elderly,[4] were booked with the tour group Grand Circle Travel for a 14-day trip to Egypt.[5] Of the 203 passengers, 32 boarded in Los Angeles; the rest boarded in New York. Four were non-revenue EgyptAir crew members.[6] Included in the passenger manifest were 33 Egyptian military officers returning from a training exercise; among them were two brigadier-generals, a colonel, a major, and four other air force officers. After the crash, newspapers in Cairo were prevented by censors from reporting the officers' presence on the flight.[7]

Nationality Passengers Crew Total
 United States 100 0 100
 Egypt 75 14 89
 Canada 21 0 21
 Syria 3 0 3
 Sudan 2 0 2
 Germany 1 0 1
 Zimbabwe 1 0 1
Total 203 14 217

The authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport used the JFK Ramada Plaza to house relatives and friends of the victims of the crash. Due to its similar role after several aircraft crashes, the Ramada became known as the "Heartbreak Hotel".[8][9]

Flight details

Incident

At 1:20 AM EST, the aircraft took off from JFK Airport's runway 22R. While relief first officer Al-Batouti was alone in the cockpit and captain El-Habashi was in the lavatory, the aircraft suddenly went into a rapid dive nose-first, resulting in weightlessness (zero-g) throughout the cabin. Despite this, the captain was able to fight the zero-g and re-enter the cockpit. The speed of the 767 was now dangerously close to the sound barrier, exceeding its design limits and beginning to weaken its airframe. The captain pulled back on his control column and applied full power to the engines, but neither action had any effect due to the aircraft's speed and the engines having been shut down. The captain then deployed the speedbrakes, which slowed the aircraft's dive, bringing it back to a safer speed. However, these abrupt maneuvers resulted in the aircraft entering a steep climb, causing g-forces to push the passengers and crew into their seats. Both engines then stopped completely, causing the aircraft to lose all electrical power and both flight recorders stopped at this point. The aircraft then fell into another steep dive and the huge mechanical stress caused the left engine to separate from the wing. The entire aircraft broke apart in mid-air at 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and debris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. This occurred at 1:52 AM EST. All 217 people on board were killed.[10]

Air traffic control (ATC)

Msr990-ntsb-f1.jpeg
Flight profile of MS990 (Source:NTSB)

US air traffic controllers provided transatlantic flight control operations as a part of the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (referred to in radio conversations simply as "Center" and abbreviated in the reports as "ZNY"). The airspace is divided into "areas," and "Area F" was the section that oversaw the airspace through which Flight 990 was flying. Transatlantic commercial air traffic travels via a system of routes called North Atlantic Tracks, and Flight 990 was the only aircraft at the time assigned to fly North Atlantic Track Zulu. There are also a number of military operations areas over the Atlantic, called "Warning Areas," which are also monitored by New York Center, but records show that these were inactive the night of the incident.[1]

Interaction between ZNY and Flight 990 was completely routine. After takeoff, Flight 990 was handled by three different controllers as it climbed up in stages to its assigned cruising altitude.[1] The aircraft, like all commercial airliners, was equipped with a Mode C transponder, which automatically reported the plane's altitude when queried by the ATC radar. At 01:44, the transponder indicated that Flight 990 had leveled off at FL330. Three minutes later, the controller requested that Flight 990 switch communications radio frequencies for better reception. A pilot on Flight 990 acknowledged on the new frequency. This was the last transmission received from the flight.[1]

The records of the radar returns then indicate a sharp descent, with the plane dropping 14,600 feet (4,500 m) in 36 seconds before its last altitude report at 06:50:29 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC; 01:50:29 Eastern Standard Time).[1] Several subsequent "primary" returns (simple radar reflections without the encoded Mode C altitude information) were received by ATC, the last being at 06:52:05. At 06:54, the ATC controller tried notifying Flight 990 that radar contact had been lost, but received no reply.[1] Two minutes later, the controller contacted ARINC to determine if Flight 990 had switched to an oceanic frequency too early. ARINC attempted to contact Flight 990 on SELCAL, also with no response. The controller then contacted a nearby aircraft, Lufthansa Flight 499, and asked the flight's crew to try to raise Flight 990, but they were unable to make radio contact, although they also reported they were not receiving any emergency locator transmitter signals. Air France Flight 439 was then asked to overfly the last known position of Flight 990, but that crew reported nothing out of the ordinary. Center also provided coordinates of Flight 990's last-known position to Coast Guard rescue aircraft.[1]

Flight recorders

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded the captain excusing himself to go to the lavatory, followed thirty seconds later by the first officer saying in Egyptian Arabic "Tawkalt ala Allah," which translates to "I rely on God." A minute later, the autopilot was disengaged, immediately followed by the first officer again saying, "I rely on God." Three seconds later, the throttles for both engines were reduced to idle, and both elevators were moved three degrees nose down. The first officer repeated "I rely on God" seven more times before the captain suddenly asked repeatedly, "What's happening, what's happening?" The flight data recorder reflected that the elevators then moved into a split condition, with the left elevator up and the right elevator down, a condition which is expected to result when the two control columns are subjected to at least 50 pounds (23 kg) of opposing force.[1] At this point, both engines were shut down by moving the start levers from run to cutoff. The captain asked, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engines?" The captain is then recorded as saying "get away in the engines" (this is the literal translation that appears in the NTSB transcript), followed by "shut the engines". The first officer replies "It's shut". The final recorded words are the captain repeatedly stating, "Pull with me" but the FDR data indicated that the elevator surfaces remained in a split condition (with the left surface commanding nose up and the right surface commanding nose down) until the FDR and CVR stopped recording. There were no other aircraft in the area. There was no indication that an explosion occurred on board. The engines operated normally for the entire flight until they were shut down. From the presence of a western debris field about 1,200 feet (370 m) from the eastern debris field, the NTSB concluded that the left engine and some small pieces of wreckage separated from the aircraft before water impact.[1]

Search and rescue operations

EgyptAir Flight 990 Search and Rescue
The U.S. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Monomoy (WPB-1326) (foreground) and USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905) searching for survivors of the crash

The aircraft crashed in international waters, so the Egyptian government had the right to initiate its own search and rescue and investigation. Because the government did not have the resources to salvage the aircraft, the Egyptian government requested that the United States lead the investigation. The Egyptian government signed a letter formally ceding responsibility of investigating the accident to the United States.[11]

Search and rescue operations were launched within minutes of the loss of radar contact, with the bulk of the operation being conducted by the United States Coast Guard. At 03:00 EST, an HU-25 Falcon jet took off from Air Station Cape Cod, becoming the first rescue party to reach the last known position of the plane. All U.S. Coast Guard cutters in the area were immediately diverted to search for the aircraft, and an urgent marine information broadcast was issued, requesting mariners in the area to keep a lookout for the downed aircraft.

At sunrise, the United States Merchant Marine Academy training vessel T/V Kings Pointer found an oil sheen and some small pieces of debris. Rescue efforts continued by air and by sea, with a group of U.S. Coast Guard cutters covering 10,000 square miles (26,000 km2) on October 31 with the hope of locating survivors, but no bodies were recovered from the debris field. Eventually most passengers were identified by DNA from fractured remains recovered from the debris field and the ocean floor. Atlantic Strike Team members brought two truckloads of equipment from Fort Dix, New Jersey, to Newport, Rhode Island, to set up an incident command post. Officials from the United States Navy and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were dispatched to join the command. The search and rescue operation was suspended on November 1, 1999, with the rescue vessels and aircraft moving instead to recovery operations.

The U.S. Navy rescue and salvage ship USS Grapple (ARS-53), the U.S. Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Mohawk (T-ATF-170), and the NOAA survey ship NOAAS Whiting (S 329) arrived to take over salvage efforts, including recovery of the bulk of the wreckage from the seabed. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were recovered within days by the U.S. Navy's Deep Drone III submersible. In total, a C-130 Hercules, an H-60 helicopter, the HU-25 Falcon, and the U.S. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Monomoy (WPB-1326), USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905), USCGC Reliance (WMEC-615), USCGC Bainbridge Island (WPB-1343), USCGC Juniper (WLB-201), USCGC Point Highland (WPB-82333), USCGC Chinook (WPB-87308), and USCGC Hammerhead, along with their supporting helicopters, participated in the search.[12]

A second salvage effort was made in March 2000 that recovered the aircraft's second engine and some of the cockpit controls.[13]

Investigations

Fbi egypt air 990
An FBI agent tags the cockpit voice recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990 on the deck of the USS Grapple (ARS 53) at the crash site on November 13, 1999

Under the International Civil Aviation Organization treaty, the investigation of an aircraft crash in international waters is under the jurisdiction of the country of registry of the aircraft. At the request of the Egyptian government, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) took the lead in this investigation, with the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) participating. The investigation was supported by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Coast Guard, the US Department of Defense, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, EgyptAir, and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines.[1]

Two weeks after the crash, the NTSB proposed declaring the crash a criminal event and handing the investigation over to the FBI. Egyptian government officials protested, and Omar Suleiman, head of Egyptian intelligence, traveled to Washington to join the investigation.[13]

Defection of Hamdi Hanafi Taha

In February 2000, EgyptAir 767 captain Hamdi Hanafi Taha sought political asylum in London after landing his aircraft there. In his statement to British authorities, he claimed to have knowledge of the circumstances behind the crash of Flight 990. He is reported to have said that he wanted to "stop all lies about the disaster," and to put much of the blame on EgyptAir management.[13]

Osama El-Baz, an adviser to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said, "This pilot can't know anything about the plane; the chances that he has any information [about the crash of Flight 990] are very slim."[14] EgyptAir officials also immediately dismissed Taha's claim.[15] American investigators confirmed key aspects of Taha's information, but decided not to anger the Egyptian government further by issuing any official statement about Al-Batouti's motive.[16][17] EgyptAir terminated Taha's employment,[18] and his application for British asylum was reportedly declined,[13] though he gave an extensive 2002 newspaper interview in London,[17] and a 2005 documentary credited him as "Exiled Captain".[4]

NTSB investigation and conclusion

The NTSB investigation fairly quickly centered on the actions of the relief first officer, Gameel Al-Batouti, and this drew relatively minor criticism from the Egyptians.[19] The NTSB determined that the only way for the observed split elevator condition to occur was if the left seat pilot (the captain's position) was commanding nose up while the right seat pilot (the first officer's position) commanded nose down. As the Egyptian investigation forwarded various mechanical failure scenarios, they were each tested by the NTSB and found not to match the factual evidence. The NTSB concluded that no mechanical failure scenario either they or the Egyptians could come up with matched the evidence on the ground, and that even if mechanical failure had been experienced, the 767's design made the situation recoverable.[1]

The NTSB's final report was issued on March 21, 2002, after a two-year investigation, and concluded as "not determined".[1]

From the NTSB report's Summary section:

1. The accident airplane's nose-down movements did not result from a failure in the elevator control system or any other airplane failure.

2. The accident airplane's movements during the initial part of the accident sequence were the result of the relief first officer's manipulation of the controls.

3. The accident airplane's movements after the command captain returned to the cockpit were the result of both pilots' inputs, including opposing elevator inputs where the relief first officer continued to command nose-down and the captain commanded nose-up elevator movements.

From the NTSB report's Probable Cause section:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the EgyptAir flight 990 accident is the airplane's departure from normal cruise flight and subsequent impact with the Atlantic Ocean as a result of the relief first officer's flight control inputs. The reason for the relief first officer's actions was not determined.

ECAA investigation and conclusion

After formally ceding responsibility for the investigation of the accident to the NTSB, the Egyptian authorities became increasingly unhappy with the direction the investigation was heading and launched their own investigation in the weeks following the accident. The ECAA report concluded that "the Relief First Officer did not deliberately dive the airplane into the ocean" and that mechanical failure was "a plausible and likely cause of the accident".[2]

William Langewiesche, an aviation journalist, said: "[I]n the case of the Egyptians, they were following a completely different line of thinking. It seemed to me that they knew very well that their man, Batouti, had done this. They were pursuing a political agenda that was driven by the need to answer to their higher-ups in a very pyramidal, autocratic political structure. The word had been passed down from on high, probably from Mubarak himself, that there was no way that Batouti, the co-pilot, could have done this. For the accident investigators in Egypt, the game then became not pursuing the truth but backing the official line."[20]

Responses to reports

The NTSB investigation and its results drew criticism from the Egyptian government, which advanced several alternative theories about mechanical malfunction of the aircraft.[2] The theories proposed by Egyptian authorities were tested by the NTSB, and none were found to match the facts. For example, an elevator assembly hardover (in which the elevator in a fully extended position sticks because the hinge catches on the tail frame) proposed by the Egyptians was discounted because the flight recorder data showed the elevator was in a "split condition". In this state, one side of the elevator is up and the other down; on the 767, this condition is only possible through flight control input (i.e., one yoke is pushed forward, the other pulled backward).[1]

There was some evidence that one of the right elevator's power control units may have suffered a malfunction, and the Egyptian investigation mentioned this as a likely cause of the crash.[2] While noting that the damage did indeed exist, the NTSB countered that it was more likely a result of the crash rather than a pre-existing problem, as the 767 is designed to remain airworthy even with two PCUs failed.[1]

Media coverage

While the official investigation was proceeding, speculation about the crash ran rampant in both Western and Egyptian media.

Western media speculation

Long before the NTSB issued its final report, Western media began to speculate about the meaning of the recorded cockpit conversations and about possible motives – including suicide and terrorism – behind Al-Batouti's actions on the flight. The speculation, in part, was based on leaks from an unnamed federal law enforcement official that the crew member in the co-pilot's seat was recorded as saying, "I made my decision now. I put my faith in God's hands."[21]

During a press conference held on November 19, 1999, NTSB chairman Jim Hall denounced such speculation and said that it had "done a disservice to the long-standing friendship between the people of the United States of America and Egypt."[22]

On November 20, 1999, the Associated Press quoted senior American officials as saying that the quotation was not in fact on the recording.[22] It is believed that the speculation arose from a mistranslation of an Egyptian Arabic phrase (Tawkalt ala Allah) meaning "I rely on God."[11]

London's Sunday Times, quoting unnamed sources, speculated that the relief first officer had been "traumatised by war," and was depressed because many members of his fighter squadron in the 1973 war had been killed.[23]

The unprecedented presence of 33 members of the Egyptian General Staff on the flight (contrary to standard operating procedure) fed a number of conspiracy theories. There were those who opined that it was an action (and potentially a conspiracy) of Muslim extremists against Egypt. Others countered that Mossad had targeted them.[24]

Egyptian media reaction and speculation

The Egyptian media reacted with outrage to the speculations in the Western press. The state-owned Al Ahram Al Misri called Al-Batouti a "martyr," and the Islamist Al Shaab covered the story under a headline that stated, "America's goal is to hide the truth by blaming the EgyptAir pilot."[22]

At least two Egyptian newspapers, Al Gomhuria and Al-Musawar, offered theories that the aircraft was accidentally shot down by the US.[22] Other theories were advanced by the Egyptian press as well, including the Islamist Al Shaab, which speculated that a Mossad/CIA conspiracy was to blame (since, supposedly, EgyptAir and El Al crews stayed at the same hotel in New York). Al Shaab also accused US officials of secretly recovering the FDR, reprogramming it, and throwing it back into the water to be publicly recovered.[22]

Unifying all the Egyptian press was a stridently held belief that "it is inconceivable that a pilot would kill himself by crashing a jet with 217 people aboard. 'It is not possible that anyone who would commit suicide would also kill so many innocent people alongside him,' said Ehab William, a surgeon at Cairo's Anglo-American Hospital."[22]

The Egyptian media also reacted against Western speculation of terrorist connections. The Cairo Times reported, "The deceased pilot's nephew has lashed out in particular against speculation that his uncle could have been a religious extremist. 'He loved the United States,' the nephew said. 'If you wanted to go shopping in New York, he was the man to speak to, because he knew all the stores.'"[22]

Reaction of the Egyptian public

William Langewiesche, an author, journalist and aviator, said that in Cairo he encountered three groups of people. He said that the ordinary Cairenes believed that there was an American conspiracy to attack EgyptAir 990 and that the Americans were covering up the fact. He added that a small group of Cairenes, mostly consisting of "intelligentsia", "knew perfectly well that Batouti, the co-pilot, had pushed that airplane into the water, and that the Egyptian government was stonewalling and was engaged in what they saw as a typical exercise in Egyptian governing."[20] Langewiesche said that "people involved directly in the investigation" had "presented a uniform party line, a uniform face with very few cracks. They stonewalled me, and that in itself was very interesting."[20] Langewiesche argued that "in the stonewalling they were revealing themselves" and that if they truly believed Batouti was innocent, they would have invited Langewiesche to see proof of this theory.[20]

Aftermath

After the crash, the airline changed the flight number for the JFK to Cairo route from MS990 to MS986, and discontinued the service to Los Angeles. Flight 986 is operated using a Boeing 777-300ER.[25]

See also

Specific incidents

In popular culture

Al Jazeera, an Arabic-language channel, produced a documentary by Yosri Fouda about the flight that was broadcast in March 2000. The documentary looked at the preliminary NTSB conclusion and speculations surrounding it. In the documentary, the NTSB data were used with a flight simulator of the same aircraft model to try to reconstruct the circumstances of the crash, but the simulator failed three times to replicate the NTSB theory for plunging a fully functioning 767 from 33,000 ft (10,000 m) to 19,000 ft (5,800 m) in 37 seconds.[26] However, a 2001 journalist describes how he successfully reproduced the incident in a Boeing flight simulator.[11]

The events of Flight 990 were featured in "Death and Denial", a Season 3 (2005) episode of the Canadian TV series Mayday[27] (called Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the U.S. and Air Crash Investigation in the UK and elsewhere around the world). The episode was broadcast with the title "EgyptAir 990" in the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia.

In response to the ECAA's claim of NTSB unprofessionalism, former NTSB director of aviation safety Bernard Loeb stated:

What was unprofessional was the insistence by the Egyptians, in the face of irrefutable evidence, to anyone who knows anything about investigating airplane accidents and who knows anything about aerodynamics and airplanes, was the fact that this airplane was intentionally flown into the ocean. No scenario that the Egyptians came up with, or that we came up with, in which there were some sort of mechanical failure in the elevator control system, would either match the flight profile or was a situation in which the airplane was not recoverable.[4]

The Mayday dramatization of the crash was based on ATC tapes as well as the CVR recordings. In interviews conducted for the program, the relief first officer's family members vehemently disputed the suicide and deliberate crash theories and dismissed them as biased. The program nevertheless concluded that Al-Batouti crashed the plane for personal reasons: he had been severely reprimanded by his supervisor for sexual harassment after allegedly "exposing himself to teenage girls and propositioning hotel guests",[28] and the supervisor was in fact on board the plane when it was brought down.[4][16]

This dramatization also depicts the relief first officer forcing the plane down while the command captain attempts to pull the plane up. Despite this, upon conclusion, the program stresses the official NTSB conclusion and the fact it makes no mention of a suicide mission. Rather, it simply states that the crash was a direct result of actions made by the co-pilot for reasons "not determined".[4]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Aircraft Accident Brief: EgyptAir Flight 990" (PDF). NTSB. March 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 27, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Report of Investigation of Accident: EgyptAir 990" (PDF). ECAA. June 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 22, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Statement of Jim Hall, Chairman". NTSB. August 11, 2000. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mayday, Season 3, Episode 8: "EgyptAir 990 (Death and Denial)". November 2, 2005.
  5. ^ Swanson, Steven (November 1, 1999). "At JFK, Another Grim Routine in 'Heartbreak Hotel'". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ "Passenger list for EgyptAir Flight 990". St. Petersburg Times. November 2, 1999. Retrieved March 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Ellison, Michael (November 2, 1999). "Search for air crash survivors abandoned". The Guardian. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
  8. ^ "Hotel Near JFK Airport is Familiar With Airline Tragedy". CNN. 17 November 2001. Archived from the original on March 8, 2014.
  9. ^ Adamson, April (September 4, 1998). "229 Victims Knew Jet Was in Trouble; Airport Inn Becomes Heartbreak Hotel Again". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 767-366ER SU-GAP Nantucket Island, MA, USA". aviation-safety.net. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  11. ^ a b c Langewiesche, William (November 2001). "The Crash of EgyptAir 990". The Atlantic Monthly. 228 (4). Retrieved July 3, 2010.
  12. ^ "The final, fatal flight of EgyptAir 990". Commandant's Bulletin. United States Coast Guard. January 2000. Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c d Borger, Julian; Dawoud, Khaled (May 8, 2000). "Wings and a Prayer". The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  14. ^ Abou El-Magd, Nadia (February 16, 2000). "Rough ride for EgyptAir". Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  15. ^ "EgyptAir denies pilot can explain crash". BBC News. February 6, 2000. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  16. ^ a b Wald, Matthew L. (March 16, 2002). "EgyptAir Pilot Sought Revenge By Crashing, Co-Worker Said". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  17. ^ a b Malnic, Eric; Rempel, William C.; Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo (March 15, 2002). "EgyptAir Co-Pilot Caused '99 Jet Crash, NTSB to Say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  18. ^ "Egyptair sacks pilot seeking UK asylum". Independent Online. March 1, 2000. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  19. ^ Dawoud, Khaled (November 19, 1999). "Co-pilot's family rally round 'son of the soil'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  20. ^ a b c d Langewiesche, William (November 15, 2001). "Culture Crash". Atlantic Unbound (Interview). Interviewed by Katie Bacon. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  21. ^ Lathem, Niles (November 18, 1999). "FBI Profilers Dig into Co-Pilot's Past". The New York Post. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "Suicide speculation under fire". Cairo Times. November 1999. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  23. ^ "Batouty clan stands united". Cairo Times. November 1999. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved April 29, 2007.
  24. ^ Piotrowski, William K. (Spring 2000). "What's in a Name?: The Crash of EgyptAir 990". Religion in the News. Trinity College. 3 (1). Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  25. ^ "Egyptair Flight MS986 / MSR986". planefinderdata. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  26. ^ El-Nawawy, Mohammed; Iskander, Adel (2003). Al-Jazeera: The Story of the Network that is Rattling Governments and Redefining Modern Journalism. Basic Books. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  27. ^ "Death and Denial". Mayday. Season 3. Episode 8. 2005. Discovery Channel Canada / National Geographic Channel.
  28. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/1388017/Co-pilot-crashed-EgyptAir-jumbo-as-act-of-revenge.html

External links

External image
Pre-accident photos of SU-GAP from Airliners.net

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Year 990

EgyptAir Flight 990

Form 990, a United States Internal Revenue Service form

List of highways numbered 990

990 AM - the frequency of some radio stations

Asian Spirit Flight 100

Asian Spirit Flight 100 was a Let L-410 Turbolet that crashed onto a mountainside between the municipalities of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya and Cabarroguis, Quirino in the Philippines on December 7, 1999. The aircraft was en route to Cauayan City in Isabela from Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. All fifteen passengers and two crew aboard the flight died in the incident.

The aircraft departed the Manila Domestic Terminal of Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 8:34 am PST, with the pilot, Rolando Salandanan, last making contact with air traffic control at 9:19 am PST as he was approaching Cauayan Airport, with no indication of a problem aboard the aircraft. Flight 100 was scheduled to land at Cauayan at 9:37 am PST. The wreckage of Flight 100 would be found the next day, on December 8, 1999.

Cubana de Aviación Flight 310

Cubana de Aviación Flight 310 was a scheduled international flight from José Martí International Airport, Havana, Cuba, to Arturo Michelena International Airport, Valencia, Venezuela, which crashed near Bejuma, Venezuela, on 25 December 1999. All 22 people on board were killed.

Deep Drone

The Deep Drone is a submersible remotely operated vehicle designed for mid-water salvage for the United States Navy. One vehicle is based in Largo, Maryland, under the command of The U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), it is maintained and operated by Phoenix International Inc..

The vehicle is capable of operating at a depth up to 8000 feet as reflected in its full name: "The Deep Drone 8000". The vehicle has a target locating sonar and two tool manipulators capable of working with tools and attaching rigging.

EgyptAir crash

EgyptAir crash may refer to several incidents involving EgyptAir aircraft:

1972: EgyptAir Flight 763 crashed approaching Aden International Airport

1976: EgyptAir Flight 864 crashed into an industrial complex in Bangkok, caused by pilot error

1999: EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic off Massachusetts, USA, cause disputed

2002: EgyptAir Flight 843 crashed near Tunis in a storm due to pilot error

2016: EgyptAir Flight 804 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea as it approached Egypt from Paris

Failure of imagination

A failure of imagination is a circumstance wherein something seemingly predictable (particularly from hindsight) and undesirable was not planned for.The field of epistemology studies knowledge and human understanding, and failures of understanding. Failure of imagination is related to unknown unknowns and black swan theory, used by Nassim Taleb in his 2007 book The Black Swan, describing unexpected or unpredicted incidents with significant negative impact, with Russell's teapot as counterpoint.

Farnaz Fassihi

Farnaz Fassihi (Persian: فرناز فصیحی‎) is an award-winning Iranian-American journalist. She is a Senior Writer for The Wall Street Journal based in New York. She is a 2018 recipient of an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of her "distinguished contribution" to America's society.

After 14 years covering wars and uprisings in the Middle East, Fassihi is focused on writing about diplomacy and the United Nations. Fassihi is the author of Waiting for An Ordinary Day, a memoir of her four years covering the Iraq War and witnessing the unraveling of social life for Iraqi citizens.

Fassihi won six national journalism awards for her coverage of the Iranian presidential elections in 2009. She is a 2015 Nieman fellow at Harvard University.

Gameel Al-Batouti

Gameel Al-Batouti (Arabic: جميل البطوطي‎; also rendered "Gamil El Batouti" or "El Batouty" in U.S. official reports; 2 February 1940 – 31 October 1999) was a pilot for EgyptAir and a former officer for the Egyptian Air Force. On 31 October 1999, all 217 people aboard EgyptAir Flight 990 were killed when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles (100 km) southeast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that the crash was caused by a series of control inputs made by Al-Batouti, who was in the position of relief first officer in command at the time of the crash, but that the reason for his inputs was "not determined".

Jack Metcalf

Jack H. Metcalf (November 30, 1927 – March 15, 2007) was an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001. He represented the 2nd district of Washington as a Republican.

Born in Marysville, Washington, and raised in Langley, Metcalf graduated from high school and entered the U.S. Army, and was discharged in 1947. He then worked for two years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a marshal in Alaska. Metcalf received a bachelor's degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University in 1951, and a master's degree from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1966. Metcalf was a high school and junior high teacher (civics, math) for thirty years, mostly in Everett, later retiring to run a bed and breakfast on his family's homestead at Langley.Metcalf was first elected to the state legislature in 1960, representing the 38th District. Defeated for a third term in 1964, he was elected to the state senate in 1966 from the 21st District and served until 1974, and served again from the 10th District from 1980 to 1992. He twice ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Democrat Warren G. Magnuson for the U.S. Senate in 1968 and 1974. In 1992, Metcalf again sought national office, but was unable to defeat incumbent Democrat Al Swift in the House election.

With Swift retiring from the House in 1994, Metcalf ran yet again. This time, he was elected; he was re-elected in 1996 and 1998. A supporter of term limits such as those proposed in the 1994 Contract with America (which Metcalf had signed), Metcalf did not run for re-election in 2000 in order to honor his self-imposed term-limit of three two-year terms.

A Goldwater conservative, during the latter part of his political career Metcalf was known as an opponent of the Federal Reserve, which he considered unconstitutional. He also built a close relationship with many in organized labor, especially with the building trade unions. In his last term in office (1998–2000) he surprised some observers by taking some additional positions unusual for a conservative Republican, such as working with Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to protest whaling by the Makah people, and hiring Washington state antiwar speaker and writer Craig B. Hulet as a special assistant. He also cosponsored legislation with Congressman Dennis Kucinich to label genetically modified foods.

Metcalf also demonstrated a strong pragmatic streak while serving in Congress, including seeking out a position as a conferee on the TEA-21 Act of 1998. He delivered significant funding for a number of transportation infrastructure programs because of this work.

He was also a strong supporter of both Boeing and its workers. In 1999 shortly after the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 (a Boeing 767) he and his wife travelled to Egypt via EgyptAir in order to show his confidence in the professionalism of the Egyptian flight crews and airlines, as well as the aircraft they flew.

A number of Metcalf's staff went on to run for or service in public office including State Representatives Kirk Pearson (39th leg.), Chris Strow (10th leg.) and Norma Smith (10th leg.). Lew Moore who served as Chief of Staff for much of Metcalf's tenure ran for Snohomish County Executive in 1999 and served as campaign manager for Congressman Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign.

Metcalf died at age 79 at an Alzheimer's care facility in Oak Harbor. He was buried at Bayview Cemetery in Langley, Washington.On May 8, 2008, the ferry terminal in Clinton was named after Metcalf, in part for his work to secure funding for safety improvements to it while a member of Congress.

Mini Rover ROV

The Mini Rover ROV was the world's first small, low cost remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) when it was introduced in early 1983. After a demonstration to industry professionals, in the Spring of 1984, it made a significant entry to the remotely operated vehicle market. It is a self-propelled, tethered, free swimming vehicle that was designed and built by Chris Nicholson of Deep Sea Systems International, Inc. (DSSI). The Mini Rover ROV entered the ROV market at a price of $26,850 when the next lowest cost ROV was $100,000. Nicholson built the first Mini Rover ROV in his garage in Falmouth, MA. It was 26 inches long and weighed 55 pounds. It could be carried on airplanes as luggage.The Mini Rover ROV has been involved in many undersea expeditions including the 1989 3D filming of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and the 1989 and 1990 Pearl Harbor Project with the National Park Service and National Geographic to survey the USS Arizona Memorial.In the 1989 James Cameron film, The Abyss, the Mini Rover MKII ROV is credited as "Little Geek".The size and portability of the Mini Rover ROV made it easily deployable for emergency situations anywhere in the world. On November 2, 1999, a Mini Rover ROV was on board the USNS Mohawk (T-ATF-170) at the scene of the October 31, 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990 crash site to be used to identify target locations.Benthos, Inc. (Teledyne Benthos) acquired exclusive designs, trademarks, marketing and manufacturing rights for the Mini Rover ROV from DSSI in 1987. Benthos had been manufacturing and servicing the Mini Rover ROV for DSSI since 1984.

Ministry of Civil Aviation (Egypt)

The Ministry of Civil Aviation of Egypt (MCA, Arabic: وزارة الطيران المدني‎) is the ministry in charge of civil aviation in Egypt.

NOAAS Whiting (S 329)

NOAAS Whiting (S 329), was an American survey ship that was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1970 to 2003. Previously, she had been in commission in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1963 to 1970 as USC&GS Whiting (CSS 29).

In 2005 the ship was transferred to Mexico, and she was commissioned in the Mexican Navy as ARM Río Tuxpan (BI-12), Mexico's first dedicated hydrographic survey ship.

Necon Air Flight 128

Necon Air Flight 128 (3Z 128/NEC 128) was a scheduled domestic flight from Pokhara Airport to Kathmandu Airport in Nepal on 5 September 1999. The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 crashed when it hit a telecommunications tower.

Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel

The Ramada Plaza JFK Hotel was a Ramada-branded hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport, located in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, United States.

TACV Flight 5002

TACV Flight 5002 was a flight operated by TACV that crashed on 7 August 1999. Due to technical difficulties, the aircraft normally serving the route from São Pedro Airport on the island of São Vicente, Cape Verde to Agostinho Neto Airport on the island of Santo Antão, a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, was replaced with a Cape Verde Coast Guard Dornier Do 228 (registration D4-CBC).

The aircraft took off from São Pedro at 11:42 for the short flight to Agostinho Neto. Thirteen minutes after takeoff, rain and fog covered Santo Antão and placed the arrival airport below VFR minimums. The pilots made the decision to return to São Vicente at 11:56. The aircraft overflew the island of Santo Antão at 12:02, but crashed into the wooded mountainside at an altitude of 1,370 metres (4,490 ft). The aircraft burst into flames, killing all 18 passengers and crew on board.

TAESA Flight 725

TAESA Flight 725 was an scheduled flight originating in Tijuana International Airport and ending at Mexico International Airport with intermediate stopovers in Uruapan and Guadalajara, that crashed shortly after departure on November 9, 1999, killing all 18 passengers and crew on board. The crash led TAESA to ground its fleet and suspend operations a year later in 2000.Investigators determined that the crew didn't use the appropriate checklists prior to departure. During the climbout, the pilots were confused about what instructed heading to take during departure. Spatial disorientation was believed to be one factor in the crash of Flight 725.

USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905)

USCGC Spencer (WMEC-905) is a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. Her keel was laid on 26 June 1982 at Robert Derecktor Shipyard Incorporated, Middletown, Rhode Island. She was named for John Canfield Spencer, United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1843 to 1844 under President John Tyler and launched on 17 April 1984 and was commissioned into service on 28 June 1986. In March 1991, Spencer towed a disabled U.S. Navy frigate, a ship twice Spencer's size, to safety.[1] Spencer participated in the search for a missing Air National Guard paratrooper during the 1991 Perfect Storm. In 1999, Spencer was the on-scene command vessel for the EgyptAir Flight 990 crash off Nantucket, controlling both U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assets in the search and recovery efforts.[2]

USNS Contender (T-AGOS-2)

USNS Contender (T-AGOS-2) was a Stalwart class Modified Tactical Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship of the United States Navy. Now known as the T/S General Rudder, the ship serves as the primary training vessel of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. Texas A&M has operated the vessel since 2012.

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