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Inside The Black Box

Jul 16, 2018

It is just after 2pm on the Saturday the 11th of May 1996. A McDonnell Douglas DC9 lines up on Runway 9L at Miami International Airport. The DC-9 is being operated by Valujet, a low-cost carrier in operation since only 1992. Valujet Flight 592’s destination is Atlanta, Georgia. The DC-9 carries 105 passengers and 5 crew members. In command is Captain Candalyn Kubeck (aged 35) and First Officer Richard Hazen (aged 52). Their departure from Miami has been delayed by just over an hour due to mechanical problems. The aircraft’s autopilot is not functioning and the cabin to cockpit intercom is also not operational. Nevertheless, these faults are not severe enough to ground the aircraft and the flight can continue.

First Officer Hazen smoothly applies takeoff power while Kubeck controls the aircraft during the takeoff roll. Hazen calls out the aircraft’s progress as it gathers speed down the runway.
- V1 – The speed at which Captain Kubeck must decide whether to continue or abort the takeoff.
- VR – The speed at which Kubeck begins to climb the aircraft
- V2 – The speed at which the aircraft can still takeoff should an engine fail.

The takeoff is entirely uneventful and the DC-9 begins climbing into a blue Florida sky. Nobody onboard are aware that a chain reaction of events has already begun which will leave the passengers and crew dead within 10 minutes.

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