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Eastern Airlines Flight 980 Flight Recorders Found 31 Years LaterWe started out this trip with the goal of finding the black box — the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder — of Eastern Airlines Flight 980. We also had a goal to live a life of adventure, to challenge ourselves physically and mentally, and to come back with a story. We found what we believe to be the flight recorders. (operationthonapa.com) More...
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The news says they do not expect much info from the FDR, but will be interesting what shows up. Back those were on metal tape and was physically marked, so if they have the tape it should be readable... If there is anyone still around that can read the tape. This is quite old technology and only tracked a couple dozen parameters unlike the ones we have today that almost tracks everything and even maintains a data sync to the CVR.
The last I heard there was four or five people that could read those tapes. I even think the manufacture should be able to read them as well.
If the over 30 years of weathering , the data hasnt been erased or convoluted and the hikers have collected enough important pieces from the FDR( i hadnt read about the CVR) , the NTSB will be able to recover the data. It is an amazing agency. On of the few VERY efficient government agencies that actually work as published extremely well. Lol.
I only heard of the FDR being found and it uses metal tape... Other than rust, it should be ok, but at that altitude that is probably not a problem. As for the CVR it using magnetic tap that is cycled through time and time again and in good shape is not reliable. If they recover it, it probably will not have much that is intelligible.
I would be very surprised if any data of use could still be gathered from the recorders after so long, especially one of that era which I doubt will have done well in the elements for 30+ years, but very cool that they found them. I do wonder, back in 1985 did they not mount a second attempt to recover anything come summer, or was it economically infeasible to attempt so at that time?
I not so patiently await the day that airline send important data via satellite thereby providing their positions and critical information. The concept that they don't even have a 407 ELT capable of positions is just plain unacceptable.