To determine this, they used black box information, traffic cams, computer simulations and the voice of the pilot himself, who died in the crash attributed the accident to such diverse causes and engine failure, flaws in composite materials and terrorism. After 3 years of investigation the NTSB attributed the catastrophe to structural damage caused or exacerbated by wake turbulence with black box information and the voice of the pilot himself, who died in the crash, confirming this.
The first statement made on the cockpit voice recorder ,disclosed by the FTSB, was a reference by the pilot to the distance between him and the plane in front of him, a Japan Airlines Boeing747 which had taken off less than 2 minutes before him, responding to the air traffic controllers concerns about wake turbulence.
Lift is generated by a difference of pressure over the surface of the wing. The lower pressure happens above the wing surface while the higher pressure is underneath. This differential causes the air to roll off the wings and trail down from the tips, forming two vortices like tornadoes, rotating out in different directions. Like the wake of a ship, two vessels that pass each other have observable wave action. Boats do it, and so do planes. When one plane passes too closely to another it encounters the wake of air waves. You can't see it, but you feel it. A plane with a lesser wing span looses it mirrored directions, like the wake of a ship. Two vessels that pass each other have observable wave action. Boats do it, and so do planes. When one plane passes too closely to another it encounters the wake of air waves. You can't see it, but you feel it. A plane with a lesser wing span loses its righting moment. Displaced air has some semblance of predictable movement, however; like water, that motion is highly fluid, being influenced by many factors. Such turbulence compromises the ability of pilots to control aircraft, navigators to direct it and the safety of passengers in planes. The range of an airborne wake from a large plane is less than 5 miles.
The pilot acknowledged the concern of the ATCO on the radio.
It states in the Federal Aviation Regulations Sec. 91.3a - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
"The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft."
According to the pilot's CVR statement there was going be a lot of time between him and that Boeing 747 out in front. He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was just a little closer to the scheduled time of departure. In the immediate post 9/11 context, with altered airport security procedures, this was relevant. The full text of the CVR was not published judgment there was going be a lot of time between him and that Boeing 747 out in front. He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was just a little closer to the scheduled time of departure.
Two minutes later he was dead.
While specific aircraft regulations can hold blameless the owners of aircraft, (see49 USC 44112 (formerly 49 USC 1404)), the law of torts still allows for the suit of companies on the basis of negligence. AFCO's are responsible for the safe routing of planes within their district during their scheduled assignments, they are not responsible for t