Below is a timeline of the events depicted in the link, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/egyptair_transcript000811.html,
with the author's (Michael Hull) comments inserted.
The highlighted sections are a result the author's (Michael Hull) intended emphasis.
01 48 03 The pilot tells copilot he is going to take a quick trip to the toilet
before it gets crowded while the passengers are eating.
01 48 04 Whirring sound of electic seat motor is heard.
The captain is leaving his seat.
01 48 18 Pilot leaves the cockpit
01 48. 22 Four seconds later there is the first "thunk" sound. The
problem that will cause the crash of Egyptair 990 has begun.
01 48 30 Co pilot makes an unintelligible comment which is followed for the
next 48 seconds by the sounds of "thumps" and "muffled thumps". The copilot
says to himself "I rely on God" the Arabic equivalent of "God help us". He thinks
something is wrong and alone in the cockpit he is trying to figure out what
01 49 18 Whirring sound of electic seat motor is heard
again. The captain has returned to his seat. The NTSB rejects this sound as
indicating that the captain had returned to his seat.
The NTSB places the pilot's return at a much later time after the plane is
already in a steep dive which begs the question as to how the pilot could have
returned to his seat under negative g forces.
At this point the pilot had been out of the cockpit for approximately one
minute, clearly too short a time to go to the toilet. Presumably, he heard the
unusual thumping sounds on his way to the toilet and immediately returned to
his seat in the cockpit.
The thumping sounds continue with the copilot continuing to express his concern
with the statement "God help us" (I rely on God)
1:49:44 Auto-pilot changes state from "engaged" to "not engaged."
1:49:45 Pitch attitude values decrease.
1:49:47 (Sound of two clicks and two thumps.)
1:49:48 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:49:51 Engine thrust reversed for Engine 1 and, a few seconds later, for
1:49:52 Elevator positions changed to send nose downward.
1:49:53 (One loud thump and three faint thumps.)
1:49:57 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:49:58 Co-pilot: "I rely on God." (Four tones similar to Master Caution
The copilot is now very frightened and continues to ask for God's help as
he strives to determine how to correct the problem.
1:50:00 Co-pilot: "I rely on God
1:50:01 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:50:02 Co-pilot: "I rely on God." 1:50:04 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:50:04 (Sound of loud thump.)
1:50:05 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:50:06 Pilot: "What's happening? What's happening?" This
is the point where the NTSB says the pilot is returning to his seat. At this
point the captain would have been weightless as will be shown from the NTSB
data later in this article.
from the NTSB data later in this article. The pilot has now been back in his
seat for about 48 seconds during which time he presumably has put on his seat
belts and headgear and begun to check out the problem. After the loud thump
two seconds earlier he asks the hypothetical question "What's happening?" twice.
He too is mystified by the ongoing thumps which are continuing and when the
Master warning aural signal comes on he asks again if his co-pilot has figured
out what is happening.
1:50:07 (Sound of numerous thumps and clinks continue for approximately 15
1:50:08 Co-pilot: "I rely on God."
1:50:08 (Repeating hi-low tone similar to Master Warning aural starts and
continues to the end of the recording.)
01 50 08 Pilot: What's happening?
01 50 15 Pilot" What's happening, Gamil? What's happening.
Note that the pilot is not saying anything to the effect
of "Gamil, what the hell are you doing?" or "Gamil, are you trying to kill us
The pilot is saying that he doesn't know what's wrong and is asking his co
pilot if he has any ideas.
At no time during the whole of the transcript does the
pilot order the co-pilot to stop any of the actions that he was taking.
1:50:19 (Four tones similar to Master Caution aural beeper.)
1:50:20 Engines are cut off.
1:50:21 Left elevator is set in the direction of the nose up while the right
elevator is set in the direction of the nose down.
1:50:24 Speed brake activated. [Jacob Lunow's note:
At this point someone (pilot?) initiated full throttle, but to no avail. Hull
conviently leaves this part out of his timeline]
The pilot still can't determine what the problem is and wonders what is going
on. "What is this?" he asks the co-pilot.
1:50:24 Pilot: "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?"
1:50:25 Change and increase in sound. Heard only through first officer's hot
1:50:26 Pilot: "Get away in the engines."
Four seconds after the pilot asked if the copilot shut
the engines, he orders the engines to be shut!
1:50:28 Pilot: "Shut the engines."
The co pilot tells him that this has been done already and replies "its shut".
1:50:29 Co-pilot: "It's shut."
Clearly the plane is in a worsening dive and the pilots are struggling to
pull it up
1:50:31 Pilot: "Pull."
1:50:32 Pilot: "Pull with me."
1:50:34 Pilot: "Pull with me."
1:50:35 Last bit of data recorded. Altitude listed at 16,416 feet and airspeed
at 458 knots.
1:50:36 Pilot: "Pull with me."
1:50:38 End of recording.