Selection from NTSB Report: History of Flight (pgs. 3-5)

At 0147:55, the relief first officer stated, "Look, here's the new first officer's pen. Give it to him please. God spare you,"(9) and, at 0147:58, someone responded, "yeah." At 0148:03, the command captain stated, "Excuse me, [nickname for relief first officer], while I take a quick trip to the toilet...before it gets crowded. While they are eating, and I'll be back to you." While the command captain was speaking, the relief first officer responded, "Go ahead please," and the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor as the captain maneuvered to leave his seat and the cockpit. At 0148:18.55, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the cockpit door operating.

At 0148:30, about 11 seconds after the captain left the cockpit, the CVR recorded an unintelligible comment. (10) Ten seconds later (about 0148:40), the relief first officer stated quietly, "I rely on God."(11) There were no sounds or events recorded by the flight recorders that would indicate that an airplane anomaly or other unusual circumstance preceded the relief first officer's statement, "I rely on God."

At 0149:18, the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor. FDR data indicated that, at 0149:45 (27 seconds later), the autopilot was disconnected. (12) Aside from the very slight movement of both elevators (the left elevator moved from about a 0.7 to about a 0.5 nose-up deflection, and the right elevator moved from about a 0.35 nose-up to about a 0.3 nose-down deflection) (13) and the airplane's corresponding slight nose-down pitch change, which were recorded within the first second after autopilot disconnect, and a very slow (0.5 per second) left roll rate, the airplane remained essentially in level flight about FL 330 for about 8 seconds after the autopilot was disconnected. At 0149:48, the relief first officer again stated quietly, "I rely on God." At 0149:53, the throttle levers were moved from their cruise power setting to idle, and, at 0149:54, the FDR recorded an abrupt nose-down elevator movement and a very slight movement of the inboard ailerons. Subsequently, the airplane began to rapidly pitch nose down and descend.

Between 0149:57 and 0150:05, the relief first officer quietly repeated, "I rely on God," seven additional times. (14) During this time, as a result of the nose-down elevator movement, the airplane's load factor (15) decreased from about 1 to about 0.2 G. (16) Between 0150:04 and 0150:05 (about 10 to 11 seconds after the initial nose-down movement of the elevators), the FDR recorded additional, slightly larger inboard aileron movements, and the elevators started moving further in the nose-down direction. Immediately after the FDR recorded the increased nose-down elevator movement, the CVR recorded the sounds of the captain asking loudly (beginning at 0150:06), "What's happening? What's happening?," as he returned to the cockpit.

The airplane's load factor decreased further as a result of the increased nose-down elevator deflection, reaching negative G loads (about -0.2 G) between 0150:06 and 0150:07. During this time (and while the captain was still speaking [at 0150:07]), the relief first officer stated for the tenth time, "I rely on God." Additionally, the CVR transcript indicated that beginning at 0150:07, the CVR recorded the "sound of numerous thumps and clinks," which continued for about 15 seconds.

According to the CVR and FDR data, at 0150:08, as the airplane exceeded its maximum operating airspeed (0.86 Mach), a master warning alarm began to sound. (The warning continued until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively.) (17) Also at 0150:08, the relief first officer stated quietly for the eleventh and final time, "I rely on God," and the captain repeated his question, "What's happening?" At 0150:15, the captain again asked, "What's happening, [relief first officer's first name]? What's happening?" At this time, as the airplane was descending through about 27,300 feet msl, the FDR recorded both elevator surfaces beginning to move in the nose-up direction. Shortly thereafter, the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease. (18) At 0150:21, about 6 seconds after the airplane's rate of descent began to decrease, the left and right elevator surfaces began to move in opposite directions; the left surface continued to move in the nose-up direction, and the right surface reversed its motion and moved in the nose-down direction.

The FDR data indicated that the engine start lever switches for both engines moved from the run to the cutoff position between 0150:21 and 0150:23. (19) Between 0150:24 and 0150:27, the throttle levers moved from their idle position to full throttle, the speedbrake handle moved to its fully deployed position, and the left elevator surface moved from a 3 nose-up to a 1 nose-up position, then back to a 3 nose-up position. (20) During this time, the CVR recorded the captain asking, "What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?" Also, at 0150:26.55, the captain stated, "Get away in the engines," (21) and, at 0150:28.85, the captain stated, "shut the engines." At 0150:29.66, the relief first officer stated, "It's shut."

Between 0150:31 and 0150:37, the captain repeatedly stated, "Pull with me." However, 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 at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively. (The last transponder [secondary radar] return from the accident airplane was received at the radar site at Nantucket, Massachusetts, at 0150:34.) (22)

Source: http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2002/aab0201.htm (pgs. 3-5)


Relevant Notes:

9) The context of this statement indicates that the relief first officer was talking to the command first officer and that the "new first officer" to whom the relief first officer was referring was a pilot who had been in the cockpit earlier in the flight and who was seated in the cabin at the time of this statement. (According to the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group Chairman's Factual Report, an Arabic-speaking member of the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group identified the voices of six flight crewmembers and one flight attendant recorded in the cockpit at various times during the accident flight.)
10) According to the CVR transcript, "the five Arabic speaking members of the [CVR] group concur that they do not recognize this as an Arabic word, words, or phrase. The entire group agrees that three syllables are heard and the accent is on the second syllable. Four Arabic speaking group members believe that they heard words similar to 'control it.' One English speaking member believes that he heard a word similar to 'hydraulic.' The five other members believe that the word(s) were unintelligible." For additional information regarding the computer analysis of this comment, see the section titled, "Cockpit Voice Recorder."
11) This phrase (recorded on the CVR in Arabic as "Tawakkalt Ala Allah") was originally interpreted to mean "I place my fate in the hands of God." The interpretation of this Arabic statement was later amended to "I rely on God." According to an EgyptAir and ECAA presentation to Safety Board staff on April 28, 2000, this phrase "is very often used by the Egyptian layman in day to day activities to ask God's assistance for the task at hand."
12) No autopilot disconnect warning tone was heard on the CVR recording. According to the system design, an autopilot disconnect warning is generated unless the autopilot is disconnected manually, either by clicking the control yoke-mounted autopilot disconnect switch twice within 0.5 second or by moving the autopilot switch on the instrument panel.
13) Throughout the FDR data for the accident airplane (including data recorded during uneventful portions of the accident flight and during previous flights and ground operations), small (less than 1) differences between the left and right elevator surface positions were observed. The left and right elevator surface movements were consistent (that is, moved in the same direction about the same time) where these offsets were observed. According to Boeing, there are several factors that could result in differences between the left and right elevator surfaces, including rigging of the elevator control system, tolerances within the system's temperature compensation rods, routing differences between the left and right elevator control cables, friction distribution within the system, the accuracy of the sensors used to measure elevator position, and differences in FDR sampling times for the left and right elevator parameters.
14) Although earlier statements made by the relief first officer were recorded by the hot microphone at the first officer's position, the "I rely on God" statements were not, which was consistent with these statements being spoken relatively quietly. For additional information, see the section titled, "Audio Information Recorded by First Officer's Hot Microphone."
15) An airplane's normal load factor is approximately perpendicular to the airplane's wings. Although the terms "vertical load factor," "vertical acceleration," and "normal load factor" are often used interchangeably, for the purposes of this document, the term "load factor" is used.
16) A G is a unit of measurement of force on a body undergoing acceleration as a multiple of its weight. The normal load factor for an airplane in straight and level flight is about 1 G. As the load factor decreases from 1 G, objects would become increasingly weightless, and at 0 G, those objects would float. At load factors less than 0 G (negative G), loose objects would float toward the ceiling, and, at -1 G, those objects would accelerate toward the ceiling.
17) .The cessation of the FDR and CVR recordings was consistent with the loss of electrical power to the recorders that resulted from the engines being shut off. Although the FDR recorded different parameters at different sampling rates and at slightly different times, the last subframe of recorded data was recorded at 0150:36.64.
18) According to calculations based on FDR data, the airplane's maximum rate of descent was about 39,000 feet per minute (fpm); this rate was recorded at 0150:19.
19) The engine start lever switches control the flow of fuel to the engines and are located on the center console between the pilot positions. When these levers are moved to the cutoff position, fuel flow to the engines is stopped, and the engines stop operating within about 5 or 6 seconds. They are spring-loaded, lever-lock design switches that must be pulled up to release from one detent before they can be moved to the other position, where they will engage in another detent.
20) The Safety Board's simulator tests demonstrated that an EgyptAir pilot similar in size to the command captain was able to occupy the captain's seat without physical interference; brace himself against the center console or floor structure; readily apply back pressure on the control column; and reach the throttles, speedbrakes, and other controls on the central console with the seat in its aft position. (The Board recognizes that the simulations could not duplicate the near 0 G loads recorded by the FDR during the accident sequence; however, such near 0 G loads were present only momentarily after the recovery started and should not have substantially affected the fore-and-aft forces either pilot could generate once normally seated and effectively braced.)
21) According to participants in the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group (which included several Arabic/English speakers), occasionally the direct translation of Arabic words into English resulted in awkward or seemingly inappropriate phrases. Throughout the CVR transcript, the Cockpit Voice Recorder Group provided as direct a translation as possible; however, it did not attempt to interpret or analyze the words or the intent of the speaker.
22) .Surveillance radars fall into two categories: primary (also known as "search") and secondary (also known as "beacon"). Secondary radar broadcasts an interrogation signal to which equipment on board an airplane automatically responds by transmitting information to the ground-based site for processing and display. Secondary radar returns contain an identification code and altitude data. Primary radar broadcasts radio waves and detects the reflections of the waves off objects (including airplanes). Primary radar reflections do not contain any unique identification information. (For additional information, see the Aircraft Performance Group Chairman's Aircraft Performance Study.)

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