October 15, 2007

Blackwater Air

Goodness me. Afghanistan Watch and afghanistanica have posted the in-flight voice recorder transcript to a Blackwater-piloted flight that killed three U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. This makes for harrowing and morbid reading. Blackwater apologists and U.S. tax-payers -- not to mention the families of the soldiers -- will not want to read what follows. The full transcript is even more disturbing than this excerpt:

The transcript and recording start at 0318:37 (7:18:37 a.m. local time)

PILOT: I hope I'm goin' in the right valley.

CO-PILOT: That one or this one?

PILOT: I'm just gunna go up this one.

CO-PILOT: Well, we, we've never or at least I've never done this Farah.

PILOT: We'll just see where this leads.

CO-PILOT: Twenty seven million people in this country, boy, you wouldn't wouldn't guess that cause there just everybody's scattered out.

PILOT: Yeah.

PILOT: But I'm now I mean I was really surprised at how you can almost always look down and see somebody or somethin' er.

CO-PILOT: Yeah, yeah, there's seem to be dwellings just about every where you go.

CO-PILOT: Yeah this is fun!

PILOT: We're not suppose to be havin' fun though.

CO-PILOT: Exactly.

PILOT: No fun allowed god-(expletive).

CO-PILOT: It's supposed to be all work we can't enjoy any of it.

PILOT: Exactly.

CO-PILOT: Cause we're getting' paid too much to be havin' fun.

PILOT: You're god-(unintelligible) right.


(Sound similar to stall warning tone single beep)

MECHANIC: Got a way out?

PILOT: Yeah.

PILOT: We we can do a one eighty up in here.

MECHANIC: Yeah, I'd pick one side or the other to... ah.

PILOT: Drop a drop a quarter flaps.

PILOT: (expletive).

MECHANIC: Okay, yeah, you're... ah.

CO-PILOT: Yeah let's turn around.

PILOT: Yeah, drop a quarter flaps.

MECHANIC: Yeah you need to--ah--make a decision.

(Sound of heavy breathing starts)

PILOT: God (expletive)!

MECHANIC: Hundred, ninety knots, call off his airspeed for him (unintelligible).

(sound similar to stall warning starts and continues until end)

PILOT: Ah (expletive, expletive)!

MECHANIC: Call it off, help him out, call off his airspeed for him (unintelligible) butch.

CO-PILOT: You got ninety-five.

CO-PILOT: Ninety-five.

PILOT: Oh God!

PILOT: Oh (expletive)!

MECHANIC: We're goin' down.



(End of recording: 0350:00, 7.50 a.m. local time)

Source: National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB)

The original article from Der Spiegel.