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Actual Air Traffic Control Audio Tape of the Valujet Crash

Here's the actual audio tape of the ATC (Air Traffic control) conversations during the incident...

If you think this is old news, and that the issue has been beat to death, think again.  I conducted a training class for an airline repair station -- just like Sabretech (who were the ones who send the Oxygen generators out on Valujet), and I had a class of 20 students in there and when I asked how many people had heard about the Valuject disaster and could tell me what happened, there were almost a THIRD of the students who didn't remember what it was about.

This SAME company actually sent out oxygen generator on a passenger flight a full year after the Valujet incident.

Now, over six years later I ask my students how many of them know about th the Valujet disaster, and while nearly all of the older students know, maybe half of the younger (under 30) students had never heard of it.

I hate to think what it's actually going to take to get people to take the issue of hazardous materials seriously.

Jim Powell, TDG

The Federal Aviation Administration has released the taped conversations between the Miami International Airport control tower, ValuJet First Officer Richard Hazen and other planes during the moments before the crash May 11 that killed 110 people.

ValuJet planes are referred to as "critter," a reference to the smiling airplane used as a company logo.

Here are some of the radio transmissions, without some of the comments made by other planes traveling in the area at the same time:

Flight 592: Afternoon departure. Critter 592 is out of 500 going to 5,000.

Miami Departure (MD): Critter 592 departure, good afternoon, radar contact, climb and maintain 7,000.

F592: 7,000, 592.

MD: Critter 592 turn left heading three-six-zero.

F592: three-six-zero, 592.

MD: Critter 592, turn left hearing three-three-zero.

F592: Three-three-zero, 592.

MD: Critter 592 turn left heading three-zero-zero, join the winco transition, climb and maintain one-six-thousand.

F592: Three-zero-zero the heading, join the wink at 16,000, Critter 592.

MD: Critter 592 contact Miami Center on (radio frequency) 30-2-45. So long.

F592: Critter 592 needs an immediate return to Miami.

MD: Critter 592, roger, turn left heading 270, descend and maintain 7,000.

F592: Two-five-zero, 5,000, 592.

MD: What kind of problem are you having?

F592: Smoke in the cockpit, smoke in the cabin.

MD: Roger.

MD: Critter 592, when able, turn left heading 250, descend and maintain 5,000.

F592: Five-two-zero, 7,000.

MD: Winco, Critter 592 is coming back to Miami. He's got an emergency.

F592: Critter 592, we need the closest airport available.

MD: Critter 592, they're gonna be standin' (unintelligible) standing by for you. You can plan runway one-two when able, direct to dolphin now.

F592: Need radar vectors.

MD: Critter 592, turn left heading one-four-zero.

F592: One-four-zero. (That was the last transmission from ValuJet Flight 592).

MD: Critter 592, keep the turn around heading one-two-zero.

MD: Critter 592, contact Miami approach on corrections. No, you just keep my frequency.

MD: Critter 592, you can turn left heading one-zero-zero and join runway one-two localizer at Miami.

MD: Critter 592 descend and maintain 3,000.

MD: Critter 592, Opa Locka Airport's about 12 o'clock at 15 miles.

American Eagle Flight 809: OK, 35-17. How did critter make out?

Note of thanks to Tony Tepedino, FAA in Honolulu, Hawaii.   When Tony comes in and speaks to our classes about hazmat safety, he always reads a short exceprt from the transcript of the Valujet crash;  it is such an effective tool, it gave me the idea to put this up on the web in the hopes that it will strike a nerve in people, they way it did in me when I heard him read those words from the crew: "fire, fire, fire fire... we're on fire".

110 people impacted the Everglades at 450 miles an hour shortly after that.

--This story is posted courtesy FAA

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