Back when I was the QATS (Quality Assurance & Training Specialist) for El Paso Airport Traffic Control Tower and TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) one of my duties was accident/incident investigation. As an investigator one of my most crucial responsibilities was transcribing onto paper from audio recordings a complete, verbatim account of any and all radio and landline communications related to any accident under formal investigation. This required headphones, copies of the original recordings, and endless hours of playing and replaying each snippet of communication no matter how seemingly trivial.
The primary task during such a tedious and time consuming endeavor is to transcribe every utterance with 100% accuracy. If I couldn’t make out precisely what was said then I was required to note it in the transcript with something such as, “roger, mooney um four seven two (unintelligible) good day“. In a formal transcript there is no capitalization, no punctuation, no guesswork. If I heard “ah,” “uh,” or “um,” then I put “ah,” “uh,” or “um,” into the transcript. I was not even allowed by regulation to use an apostrophe for an obvious contraction — absolutely nothing that could even remotely be construed as inadvertently influencing or unduly weighting the actual official record whatsoever. The only thing that went on the transcript were the time the transmission began, the entity making the transmission, and what precisely was said word . . . for . . . word.
What has this to do with MAS370, you ask? It’s being reported in multiple U.K. outlets including the BBC that Malaysia just corrected their account of the final transmission from MAS370. The revised account reads, “Goodnight Malaysian three seven zero,” rather than the, “All right, good night,” version given to the public twenty-three days ago.
We are now three+ weeks into this thing, and the Malaysian government can’t even get straight something as simple and straightforward as the air traffic control transcript. If they cannot even do that much, what hope is there that any information coming from Malaysia has any validity whatsoever?
This has to be by far the most incompetent air incident investigation ever run, worldwide, throughout the history of aviation, bar none.