Transcribed from The News and Courier, Charleston, SC, November 13, 1974, p. 1-B:
Cockpit Transcripts Released
CHARLOTTE (UPI) — The last words of the pilot of the ill-fated Eastern Airlines jetliner that crashed here Sept. 11 in which 72 persons died were: “All we’ve got to do is find the airport.”
Capt. James Reeves, who was killed in the crash, uttered the prophetic words just three seconds before the DC-9 crashed into the ground 3.3 miles short of Douglas Airport.
Voice recordings of the plane’s two officers were released Tuesday and indicated that neither Reeves or James M. Daniels, the co-pilot who was flying the plane at the time, seemed aware of the plane’s danger.
The recordings showed the first reaction of the two officers — apparently profane remarks dubbed “nonpertinent words” in the transcript — came just a half second before the first sound of impact.
Conversation between Reeves and Daniels about a minute and a half before the crash indicated they were not sure of their precise location as they flew near Carowinds, the sprawling amusement park about three miles from the crash site.
Reeves: “Carowinds? I don’t think it is… We’re too far, too far in. Carowinds is in back of us.”
Daniels: “I believe it is (Carowinds).”
Reeves: “By (word deleted), that looks like it. You know it’s Carowinds.”
Daniels: “It’s supposed to be real nice.”
The officers chatted a few more seconds about Carowinds before Reeves commented, “There’s, ah, Ross, now we can go on down.” Ross means an imaginary navigational point 5.5 miles from the airport.
Reeves then asked Daniels to set the plane’s flaps at “fifty degrees.”
Daniels acknowledged the fifty degree setting three seconds later.”
The only other sounds are mechanical clickings before Reeves said, six seconds before impact, “Yeh, we’re all ready.”
Three seconds later he uttered: “All we got to do is find the airport.”
Three seconds after that, the first sounds of impact were recorded.