Black Box of crashed AI plane recovered

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 13:13

Mangalore: Investigators Tuesday recovered the
crucial `Black Box`--the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR)-
from the wreckage of the Boeing plane of Air India`s budget
carrier, three days after it crashed here while landing
killing 158 persons.

The data recorder, mounted in the aircraft`s tail and
which stores key information, could give vital clues on what
caused the country`s worst air crash in a decade last
Saturday.

The instrument, which will have data on a range of
parameters and information on pilot`s response, was damaged on
one side but Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA)
officials said it was intact with the "main memory."

"Nothing has happened to the main portion where the main
memory is located. It is intact," DGCA officials said shortly
after they made the breakthrough around 10 am.

A relieved Air India`s General Manager(Flight and
Safety) G M Mathew held the Black Box which was charred in
some places aloft and showed it to the media at the site of
the wreckage which was thoroughly combed after investigators
widened the search area.

"What was recovered today is the main part (of the Black
Box)," Mathew said. The DFDR logs actual flight conditions,
including altitude, airspeed, heading and vertical
acceleration.

Investigators had on May 23 recovered the Cockpit Voice
Recorder (CVR) and Digital Flight Data Acquisition Unit
(DFDAU) from the wreckage of the ill-fated flight of Air India
Express from Dubai(IX 812). They were brought to New Delhi
last night.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed at around 6.30 am last
Saturday after the pilot overshot the runway. Eight persons
miraculously survived the crash.

The Black Box will be brought to New Delhi for a
preliminary analysis amid reports that it may be later sent to
the US for a detailed examination. Results from the analysis
are likely to available in a few weeks.

DGCA officials said the search operations had been called
off following recovery of the DFDR which would help in
reconstructing the events leading to the crash.

DFDAU is similar to the `Black Box` Digital Flight Data
Recorder(DFDR) but stores information only for a shorter
period of time.

CVR captures radio transmissions and sounds in the
cockpit such as the pilot`s conversation with the Air Traffic
Controller and engine noises.

Analysis of CVR and DFDAU is expected to take at least a
fortnight while the analysis of all records and documents
collected would also take same time.

A preliminary replay and analysis of the audio taped
conversation between the Air Traffic Control at the Bajpe
Airport and the pilots of the Boeing 737-800, moments
before the crash was carried out yesterday, official sources
said.

Four teams of investigators from engineering, operations,
ATC and aerodrome units made several rounds of inspection of
the wreckage, the runway and the adjoining areas of the
accident site in the hunt for the "Black Box` which will
provide authentic information as to what went wrong at the
last moment before the flight was set to land.

These teams have also collected a large number of
material for evidence through extensive search of the
aerodrome, runway and navigational facilities, the sources
said.

An official statement had yesterday said that though the
CVR was "affected by fire, it is expected to yield the desired
information".

The teams have already taken over all records pertaining
to the aircraft and the air crew for investigations, the
sources added.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 - 13:13

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