Minutes before Delta Flight 1141's doomed takeoff last August, unwitting crew members joked about the dating habits of flight attendants and the importance of leaving a juicy message on the cockpit recorder in case the plane did crash.
The conversation, which also included the flight crew's commentary on the upcoming presidential election, was released for the first time Tuesday. The National Transportation Safety Board in Washington had deleted 10 minutes of the 30-minute dialogue from previous cockpit transcripts because it had been deemed impertinent to the crash investigation.Much of the flight crew's censored conversation centered on previous airline crashes.
"We forgot to discuss about the dating habits of the flight attendants so we could get it on the recorder in case we crashed," one crew member said. "Then the media would have a juicy tidbit."
"Oh, is that right?" senior flight attendant Dixie Dunn responded. "Oh, is that what they look for?"
"Yeah, you know that Continental that crashed in Denver?" a crew member asked. "They were talking about the dating habits of one of their flight attendants."
Much of this portion of the conversation is inaudible and is punctuated by laughs. Specific details are not mentioned.
"I think they'd have nothing on this crew," Dunn said.
"We've got to leave something for our wives and children to listen to," a crew member adds.
Someone in the cockpit chuckles.
Dunn and the three crew members found themselves in the midst of a real disaster minutes later as the plane attempted to take off from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Capt. Larry Davis, co-pilot Carey Kirkland and flight engineer Steven Judd all survived the crash. Delta fired them last month. Delta also announced last month that it had concluded that the flight crew failed to set the aircraft's flaps and slats in the proper takeoff configuration.
Dunn and 13 others on board died.