I was reading this when I envisioned this question. In this age, I don't think expletives can offend anyone. They may not be germane, but oughtn`t authenticity outweigh relevance?

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    $\begingroup$ What you think and what reality is, clearly disagree. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Mar 13, 2019 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ I don't think expletives can offend anyone - you'd be wrong. But in any case, how does the meaning of 'We're going to f***ing crash' differ from 'We're going to crash'? $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2019 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ The question you linked has a lot of answers and comments pointing out that not everyone wants to read the pilots' last words in complete detail, for various reasons. Some cultures would also have a real problem with publishing blasphemous language. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 13, 2019 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


[O]ughtn't authenticity outweigh relevance?

The goal of a CVR transcript is not to give an authentic account of what happened in a cockpit. It is to give a relevant account of what happened in the cockpit.

A typical investigation board (NTSB or equivalent) has a very specific goal: investigation what happened to prevent it from happening in the future. To demand exceedingly intrusive measures into the privacy of a pilot - like installing a number of microphones recording everything they say - safeguards are put in place (remember, in virtually all other sectors, an employer installing microphones in the workplace would rightfully face serious criminal charges).

For example, the investigation typically explicitly excludes civil and criminal accountability questions. As additional guarantees to the privacy of the pilot, only a selected number of people get access to the original recordings, and they decide on the content of the transcript.

As their goal is to give a relevant account, not an authentic account, they can decide to withhold information that could be harmful to relatives (like the exact language used when their loved ones faced imminent death), if the information does not help in establishing the goal of preventing future accidents. Unless the expletive is pertinent to the investigation (for example, if it could be misheard as a specific command), it is left out.


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