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By listening to the ambient sounds in the cockpit before a crash, experts can determine if a stall took place, the RPMs of the engine, and the speed at which the plane was traveling.When these sounds are cross-referenced with ground control conversations, they can even help searchers locate a crash site.Then, there`s the flight data recorder. It gathers 25 hours of technical data from airplane sensors, recording several thousand discreet pieces of information. 

Could you please define cross-referenced and ground control conversation in simple English.

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In this context cross-referenced means each ambient sound recorded in the cockpit can be linked, associated with a particular point in a particular (separately-recorded) conversation. Mainly, one assumes, by establishing that they both happened at the same time - or that some specific utterance came (shortly) after some specific sound, making it possible/likely the two were causally connected.

A ground control conversation simply means a conversation in which ground control (the personnel, radar, computers, etc, on the ground that monitor the progress of aircraft) were involved.

By linking these two "chronological records", it's possible to derive additional information that might not be possible if each were considered in isolation (with no way of connecting up, say, a sudden change in engine speed with the fact that the pilot sneezed just before that happened)

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    One might also say “matched up” in place of “cross-referenced,” but I think “cross-referenced” is the right term, since they may not all match up. – Steve Kass Oct 25 '14 at 21:56

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