MUC wreckage 08.jpg

Officials sift through wreckage. On Nov. 14, 1970, a plane carrying 75 people including Marshall's football team, coaches, staff, community members and flight crew crashed near the Huntington Tri-State Airport on a return trip following the Thundering Herd's game against East Carolina. All on board were killed. File photo/The Herald-Dispatch

Docket No. -- SA-422

Exhibit No. -- 12B


Bureau of Aviation Safety

Washington, D.C. 20591


By Robert D. Rudich



DCA 71-A-5


Location: Huntington, West Virginia

Date: November 14, 1970

Aircraft: Douglas DC-9-31, N97S, Southern Airways Charter Flight 932


Not applicable.


The cockpit voice recorder, although having been substantially damaged externally as a result of impact forces, yielded a satisfactory tape, the communications on which are summarized in the attached transcription.


Installed aboard N97S at the time of the accident was a Collins Model 642-c-1 cockpit voice recorder (CVR), serial number 508. The unit was removed from the aircraft wreckage subsequent to the accident and transported to the Washington Office of the Bureau of Aviation Safety for examination.

Inspection of the CVR revealed that it had incurred considerable damage to the rear electronics package as a result of impact forces. There was no evidence of fire damage. The dust cover was cut away and the stainless steel protective cover removed from the tape package. No damage was noted within the protective steel case. The tape was removed and played for the purpose of preparing rerecordings and the transcription which appears as an attachment to this report.

The tape, during playback, evidenced considerable wow and flutter, indicating a mechanical distress condition during the time that it was recorded. There was marked interference from background noise as well as from communications emanating from the cockpit speakers.

Timing indicated on the attachment is cumulative, starting from the reference point shown, and has not been related to real time. Voice identification was accomplished through the assistance of Southern Airways flight crewmembers, who are familiar with the voices of all three occupants of the flight deck of N97S.

Robert D. Rudich

Air Safety Investigator (Operations)





% = Break in continuity

CAM = Cockpit area microphone sound source

RDO = Radio transmission from N97S

-1 = Voice identified as Captain

-2 = Voice identified as First Officer

-3 = Voice identified as Additional Crewmember

-? = Voice unidentified

HTS = Huntington Approach Control

IND = Indianapolis Center

* = Unintelligible word or phrase

() = Words within parentheses are subject to further interpretation

CRW = Charleston Tower


0:00 RDO-1 Charleston Tower, this is Southern nine thirty-two

CRW Southern nine thirty-two, Charleston Tower

RDO-1 We're going over to Huntington, we passed just south of Charleston. What kind of weather you got down there now?

CRW Charleston weather estimated ceiling six thousand broken, visibility four, ground fog and smoke

RDO-1 What's your spread?

CRW Temperature five zero, dew point four nine

RDO-1 Thank you

RDO-1 Look like it's going to hold up a while?

CRW Sure thing

CAM-2 Sounds like a gal

CAM-1 It is

CAM-1 Broken up here at Charleston

CAM-2 Yeah, it's gotten a lot better. Maybe it's gotten better over here, it's not too far away

% % %

CAM-1 You might try it again

RDO Sound of tuning of ADF

% % %

2:00.3 RDO-2 Southern nine thirty two out of eleven thousand five hundred

% % %

CAM-1 Approach plate's two years old

CAM-2 Yeah * * * *

CAM-2 On these charter kits they don't keep those things up like they're supposed to

CAM Sound of laughter

CAM-1 How many miles you got to Pulaski?

CAM-2 About to run out * * *

CAM-2 It's pointing that way, Frank. Can't get a code on it, though

CAM-1 Let's run the rest of the in-range check

CAM-1 How many miles you got on it? I can't * * * it's gone off

CAM-2 Yeah, it's gone off

CAM-2 (Bugs) one two three

CAM-1 Put Charleston on yours * * *

RDO-2 Center, Southern nine thirty two

4:57.4 IND Southern nine thirty two, descend and maintain five thousand, say again

5:02.8 RDO-2 Okay, Southern nine thirty two, we're out of eight now, we're going to five, and approximately how far do you show us from the Huntington Airport?

5:09.8 IND Nine thirty-two approximately twenty miles southeast of Huntington Airport

RDO-2 Roger

IND Southern nine thirty two squawk zero four zero zero, contact Huntington Approach Control one two zero point niner, radar service terminated.

RDO-2 One two zero point nine, good day sir

CAM-1 Here we go

RDO-2 Huntington Approach, Southern nine thirty two, we're descending to five thousand

HTS Southern nine thirty two, Huntington Approach Control, you're cleared for an approach, correction, you're cleared for a localizer one one approach, the surface wind's favoring runway two nine, wind three five zero degrees at six, altimeter two nine six seven, report leaving five thousand. I'll give you the weather shortly.

RDO-2 Okay, we got the altimeter and we'll check with you leaving five thousand, we plan on approach to one one

HTS Roger

RDO Sound of ILS localizer identification

HTS Southern nine thirty two, the Huntington weather three hundred scattered, measured ceiling five hundred variable broken, one thousand one hundred overcast, visibility five, light rain, fog, smoke.. Ceiling ragged, variable four to six hundred.

CAM-? Phew!

RDO-2 Very well, thank you sir

CAM-1 Very well!

CAM Sound of laughter

CAM-1 Very well?

CAM-2 Four hundred and twelve

CAM-1 Yeah, and a mile visibility

CAM-2 He said the visibility was * *

CAM-2 I'll ask him again

RDO-2 What's your visibility again?

CAM-1 * * * and twenty-six hundred from all directions

HTS Visibility five, light rain, fog, smoke

RDO-2 Right

CAM-1 Right on the ----------- right on the minimums * * *

CAM-1 See if you can get that thing tuned in a little bit better, sort of wavering

CAM-2 All right

7:15.8 RDO-2 Southern nine thirty two is out of five

HTS Out of five, report outer marker outbound

RDO Sound of ILS outer compass locator identification

CAM-2 Localizer is one oh nine nine, ---- one fourteen inbound

CAM-1 Wonder how many miles it is to Kanawha?

CAM-2 Stand by

CAM-2 Charleston's not but about fifty miles

CAM-1 You got Charleston set on yours?

CAM-2 Charleston's set on * * * about thirty * * *

CAM-1 Damn close

CAM-2 Ought to be getting pretty damn close 'cause he gave us twenty miles right back there. That's been four or five minutes

CAM-2 You're getting slant ---- slant range on it

CAM-2 * * *

CAM-2 Marker's identified

% % %

9:24.6 CAM-2 Forty-two DME. How many you got?

CAM-1 Thirty seven

CAM-1 Coming over middle marker

9:43.2 CAM-2 Middle marker there

CAM-3 Frank, you want full fuel load out of here?

CAM-1 Might as well

CAM-2 Minimum is nineteen ---- wonder how much they'll charge us?

CAM-3 Well, we get contract price, whatever that is, whatever we pay for it

CAM-2 We got a mile or two to go, Frank, 's all

CAM-? Yeah

CAM-1 We're showing on the localizer

CAM-3 Hope we don't have this all the way in. It's rough

10:59.0 CAM-2 There she is

RDO-2 Southern nine thirty two, we're over the marker now, proceeding outbound

HTS Southern nine thirty two, roger, report the marker inbound

(Note: Underlined words above and below spoken simultaneously)

CAM-1 Slats and five

RDO-2 Very well

11:11.1 CAM-1 Slats and five

11:35.7 CAM-1 (From the) lights on the ground (it looks like) fog

CAM-2 Makes it sorry, doesn't it?

CAM-1 You checked the missed approach?

CAM-2 All right, you pull up to twenty-seven hundred feet by the east course of the ILS to Shoals, Shoals Fan Marker, report Shoals then straight out * * *

CAM-? *

CAM-1 *

CAM-2 Sound of laughter

CAM-2 Well, I don't know

13:03.1 CAM-2 (I believe) half those lights should be off to our left. Kinda hard to say, though

13:43.7 CAM-1 We're in a rainshower, all right

CAM-2 Yeah, I know it

13:49.7 CAM-1 We sure are. The temp (is dropping)

CAM-2 Yeah, ah, that rain is (mixed) in with fog

CAM Sound of windshield wipers commences

CAM Sound of landing gear in transit commences

CAM-2 Okay, you got the no smoking, ignition, radar standby, auto shutoff armed, waiting on the gear ---- got the spoilers?

CAM-1 Armed

CAM Sound of click similar to that of arming spoilers

CAM-2 Checked, out

14:26.3 CAM-1 That thing captured! How did it capture?

CAM-2 Yeah, it ought to

CAM-1 You getting a glide slope capture and you ain't got a glide slope

CAM-? *

CAM-2 I might capture on the, ah, on ILS, ah, Frank, regardless of glide slope. I don't have no capture, though

14:49.9 CAM-1 Okay, give me, ah, twenty five *

CAM-2 Yeah, it's good, it's got the capture

CAM-? *

CAM-1 I got it cut off there now

CAM-2 Got twenty-five flaps, all is squared

CAM-1 We ought to be over the outer marker at twenty --- two hundred feet *

CAM-2 Yeah

CAM-3 I'm sorry, Frank

CAM-1 You going to call out minimums?

CAM-2 Yeah, I sure will. I'll sing 'em out to you

CAM-2 As you get on down it, ah, this rough air ought to give us a little break

CAM-1 Well, if it's like he said, it's not blowing any harder than he says it is, why ----

CAM-2 Down draft

CAM-1 It took us down to the marker level

CAM-? Yeah, that's enough

CAM-? Yeah

16:18.9 CAM-1 Must be a little rainshower

16:20.0 CAM-2 Back in the soup

CAM-1 Jerry, I'm going to be flying about one thirty

CAM-2 I'm going to check the time for you. It'll be about two minutes from the, ah, outer marker *

16:43.5 RDO Sound of outer marker begins

16.48.0 RDO Sound of outer marker ceases abruptly

RDO-2 Southern nine thirty two the marker inbound

CAM-? *

HTS Southern nine thirty two is cleared to land. You can advise on the lights, the wind is now three four zero degrees seven

16:58.8 CAM Sound similar to click of flap selector

RDO-2 Okay, the lights be good about step three, I guess

HTS Roger, that's where they are, with the rabbit. Advise when you want them cut

RDO-2 Very good

17:09.1 CAM-2 On the bug

CAM-3 * rough

CAM-1 This autopilot ain't responding just right ---- sluggish

CAM-2 Yeah

CAM-1 Might catch up

CAM-2 Okay, I got the time for you

17:31.3 CAM-2 A thousand feet above the ground, rate and speed good

CAM-2 Speed a little fast, looks good, (17:43.6) got but and twelve

17:53.7 CAM-1 See something?

CAM-2 No, not yet. It's beginning to lighten up a little bit on the ground here at, ay, ah, (17:58.2) seven hundred feet

18:00.0 CAM-2 Bug and five

18:04.4 CAM-2 We're two hundred above

18:08.3 CAM-3 Bet 'll be a missed approach

18:14.6 CAM-2 Four hundred

18:16.2 CAM-1 That the approach?

CAM-2 Yeah

18:18.9 CAM-2 Hundred and twenty six

18:21.7 CAM-2 HUNDRED

18:21.7 CAM Sounds of impact begin

18:27.7 End of recording

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