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Iran Refusing to Hand Over Black Box From Crashed Ukrainian Airplane

Iran Refusing to Hand Over Black Box From Crashed Ukrainian Airplane

Iran Civil Aviation Organization head Ali Abedzadeh declared Iran “will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans.”

A Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 airplane crashed near Tehran’s airport on Tuesday after Iran attacked two Iraqi military bases housing the U.S. military.

While some called the crash a coincidence, suspicions have deepened since Iran refuses to hand over the black box.

The Boening 737 took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport at 6:10 a.m. local time. The pilots made it to 7,900 feet before the plane disappeared from the radars.

Then it crashed in a field 30 miles northwest of Tehran. The crash killed all 176 people on board.

The airplane had no Americans, but killed “[T]hree Britons, three Germans, 63 Canadians, 10 Swedes, 11 Ukrainians, 82 Iranians and four Afghans.”

Initial reports claimed “technical difficulties” caused the crash:

Preliminary statements by Iranian and Ukrainian authorities suggested the plane had suffered an engine malfunction, with an Iranian official claiming the engine had burst into flames.

Iran’s English-language broadcaster Press TV cited the Imam Khomeini International Airport spokesman as saying the crash was caused by “technical difficulties.”

A statement initially posted on the website of the Ukrainian embassy also said the crash was caused by an engine malfunction and ruled out an act of terror, but that statement was later changed to say all information would be provided later by an official commission.

Rescue teams recovered the black boxes on Wednesday morning. Iran Civil Aviation Organization head Ali Abedzadeh declared Iran “will not give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans.”

Boeing added more doubt to the initial reports by stating “the plane was relatively new, in good condition, and had an experienced crew.”


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Did the US deploy any missile defense systems during the Iranian attack? I haven’t heard any mention of this in any of the reporting up to this point.

I wouldn’t put it past the Iranians to let a civilian airliner go into harms way and then provoke a counter-response the ends up getting the airliner shot down, all in the name of propaganda.

Remember, they did this once before… Iran Air Flight 655.

    tlcomm2 in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    More likely an Iranian anti-aircraft missile – deployed expecting an American attack. Seems highly likely at this point

    If that was the case they wouldn’t be refusing to hand out the black box

    MrSatyre in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    That close to downtown Tehran? Exceedingly unlikely it was any missile countermeasure on our part (besides, our AWACs are more than capable of distinguishing a civilian airliner on a declared flight path for from a missile. In fact, I’d say impossible. More than likely it was shot down by one of their own defense systems, if in fact it was shot down.

    GWB in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Yes, they did this before.
    But this jet was a looooong way from our systems’ reach (~700 miles, only at 8,000 feet). That one (1988) was flying right over a US naval task force.

    MrSatyre says
    our AWACs are more than capable of distinguishing a civilian airliner on a declared flight path for from a missile
    I wouldn’t say it was impossible, but highly unlikely. I think the information that was initially received on it was actually from commercial flight-tracking sources, though – which makes it even easier to distinguish it from a missile!

    Paul in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    You guys are probably right… most likely an itchy trigger finger on the Iranian side. Be on the lookout for the Iranians and their friends in the US Media to try to put the blame on Trump.

    Milhouse in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    It didn’t happen during the attack, so that’s not a possibility. The missile strikes went on from 1:45 am to 2:15 am Iraqi time, and the plane went down at 5:45 am Iraqi time.

    starride in reply to Paul. | January 8, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I have seen reports that the event started at 3 minutes of flight time or 8 minutes of flight time. At 3 minutes the plane would have been traveling about 280ish mph ground speed and somewhere between 6000 and 8000 feet. At 8 minutes the plane would have been at somewhere near to 10000 to 16000 feet and accelerating to cruising speed of 500+ mph so using that info the event probably took place between 14 to 50 miles from the airport.

Chatter out of Iran last night was that jumpy air defense crews shot it down.

No way could the US have shot down the Ukrainian airplane. It likely was an Iranian anti-aircraft missile that shot down this plane.

    Sanddog in reply to ConradCA. | January 8, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    If there had been even the slightest possibility that American could have been blamed, Iran would have done so. The fact that they’re keeping this so close to the vest makes me think it was one of their ADA sites and someone screwed up.

      Tom Servo in reply to Sanddog. | January 8, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      The Syrians accidentally shot down a Russian transport plane with their fancy Russian missiles a year or two back. Oops!

What? No! That’s not suspicious AT ALL! Not a bit! M-mmm, no, not even a tiny bit…….

an engine malfunction, with an Iranian official claiming the engine had burst into flames
Well, yeah. Since an AA missile is very likely to hit you in an engine, that wouldn’t be a total lie, now would it?

the crash was caused by “technical difficulties.”
Yeah. An AA missile exploding will certainly induce a bunch of “technical difficulties: loss of lift, loss of thrust, fires, loss of structural integrity, loss of pressure….

I posted the flightradar24 data track in another thread. There is also this video which is the reputed last 32 seconds. The data shows a fast climb to about 4000 ft, a level climb to 8000, and then nada. The data is updated on a minute by minute basis. I am guessing the data is from an on-board transponder and not ground radar.

There was no communication from the plane, but the general rule is to first aviate, then navigate, and finally communicate. So no communication is not a big issue, IMHO.

As for speculation that it was a missile, most all surface to air missiles use a pre-fragmented warhead which has both an explosive component and thousands a sharp objects which generally do bad things. The entire cockpit area of the Malasian Airliner that was shot down over Ukraine was perforated with these shards which was the damning evidence of exactly what had happened. With everyone walking around this wreckage and snapping pics it would be hard to cover this up.

Another speculation was an on-board bomb, perhaps in an engine nacelle. That would be consistent with the rapid onset of problems in a flight where there weren’t any other indications, other than the 1hr delay in take-off of a flight which seemed to have a consistent pattern of departures. It was a 2016 plane so pretty new and apparently well maintained.

It could have been a natural catastrophic destruction of the fan similar to the one which occurred here a year or so ago. There was no fire in that case, and this plane was definitely on fire on the way down. Even then, they can fly with only one engine and it was booking along at 275 kts when the data stream ended. And, if an engine, why did the plane stop communicating data with the ground independent of the audio communications from the cockpit? Most of these planes run an auxilliary power unit in the tail to supply electricity and pressurized air so loss of one engine shouldn’t shut it all down.

IMHO, the general rule for sabotage is to do it over water or in extremely dangerous terrain so as to eliminate a post- event forensic analysis. So if it was a planned event, doing it over a suburb was not good planning especially given where it was going to track into the boonies in a few more minutes anyway.

The good part is that there is enough evidence in the public domain that no one will be able to force a convincing story either way which deviates too far from the truth.

Everyone take a breath and give this a few days to percolate.

It isn’t unusual for a third party country to down load the CVR / FDR for “hostile” country.

After the Ethiopian Air 737 MAX crash the CVR / FDR were sent to Paris because Ethiopia didn’t trust Boeing with the data because of the Lion Air crash a few months earlier.

    I agree with the give things time to percolate.
    However, as you pointed out, they could send the black box to a third party, like France. AFAIK they re keeping it to themselves.

    To me the most suspicious part is how quick both Iran and and Ukrainian officials announced ti was a technical malfunction. Usually it takes days to discover that.

      DaveGinOly in reply to RodFC. | January 8, 2020 at 9:39 pm

      Yes, almost immediate knowledge of “technical” problems even though the air crew didn’t give any such indications prior to the crash.

Sciff / fatboy / Pelosi now have 3rd impeachment article.

Who was on the plane? That could potentially answer a lot of other questions.

You know, Iran with a anti-aircraft system is a little like the mule with a spinning wheel.
No one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it.

It’s great to see that the wizards in Iran have painted themselves into a trick box [pardon the mixed metaphor, but it’s a good one. 🙂 ]

My guess is that that this is a result of some trigger-happy Musloid with an anti-aircraft weapon. The black box will no doubt show that there was no mechanical issue with the aircraft. The crash was the result of a sudden, cataclysmic event.

So the mullahs have a choice: release the black boxes which will probably show the plane was shot down – – or don’t release the black boxes which will be an international PR disaster for them.

I mourn the death of 176 innocent people, and I pray for their souls and for their families.

But I’m glad to see just how third-world and feckless the Republic of Iran is. It appears that they screwed the pooch on this one.

    MajorWood in reply to tiger66. | January 8, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    To be honest, the US doesn’t have a right to see what is on the black boxes. Now, Ukraine who owns the plane, probably has a right to see what is on the boxes, and they may have an agreement with Boeing Inc. that Boeing Inc. gets to see what is on the black boxes much like say Subaru could request to see what is on my wagon’s computer before they choose to honor a warranty claim. For now this is an issue between Ukraine and Iran

    We all highly suspect what happened and the black box will likely prove it. The Iranians know that they are screwed one way or another, but their brains work like I suspect the brains of the administration of Oberlin College work, where if they jut wait long enough, people will forget and it will all go away. Chanting loudly is optional.

    What needs to happen is for all airlines connected with Iran to simply refuse to fly into their airspace until the details are released. That will certainly increase the ire of the common folk. Busing out of Iran would not be pleasant at all.

    Those who were aware of flightradar24 (I’ll call it my second favorite website) will remember what happened right after MH17. Every flight simply diverted above and below Ukraine. In that case it punished those who lived in western Ukraine, but in this case it will act as another sanction against Iran for bad behavior.

    BTW, those kids up in the planes like to have fun too.

There was a video I saw of this supposedly happening. The plane was like a small fireball, if the video is to be believed, it stayed aloft for a bit, but was losing altitude and was very bright against the night sky.
It seems more likely inflicted by Iran, probably accidentally. Still, that is a lot of lives lost on that flight.

Presumptively Iran is at fault, because they won’t follow the normal protocol of handing over the black boxes or even allowing for neutral testing / downloading of data from the black boxes with observers from both sides.

One of the rumors around the net is that the flight had been delayed by an hour or so, and that it’s likely the air defense net wasn’t updated on the new flight times. Once again, itchy trigger fingers.

    DaveGinOly in reply to txvet2. | January 8, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    There are effing smart phone apps that allow a user to point a phone at a plane and see all the flight information. (Although one day in Seattle, I saw an aircraft go over the downtown area and it had NO markings. When my friend pointed her phone at it, she got nada! That was curious! She had just a few minutes earlier demonstrated the app with two or three other aircraft and it ID their flight numbers and everything. Quite amazing.)

      MajorWood in reply to DaveGinOly. | January 9, 2020 at 11:00 am

      We have a spy plane that buzzes around Portland every evening for 4-5 hrs (in the 5-11PM window). Cruises at about 1000 ft and goes up and down major roads and also does loops over random areas. Does not appear as an icon on flightradar24 (the only other planes that do not are the ANG F15s). A friend says that Denver has a similar plane. Not sure what intel they are gathering, but figuring cost of plane, fuel, pilot etc, we are talking about $350K/yr even before getting to the data part.

Iran shot it down. Until they can prove otherwise.

There is no reason to doubt they shot it down.

Dilbert Deplorable | January 9, 2020 at 12:20 am

Of course some teigger happy Iranian moron shot down the plane. Were not dealing with smart people here.

To my knowledge, there has never been an inflight explosion of a 737 that destroyed it in the air. The engines are designed to come apart during a failure and there are containment panels inside the engine to help deflect any shrapnel that may be thrown out. Some have and will get through this but almost never does it go forward into the cockpit. And engine failure is traumatic but after a few seconds, all pilots resort to their knowledge of the plane they are flying. There is just no way an engine failure could have created this accident so quickly. The US Navy says they have satellite proof that it was an Iranian missile.