Investigators on 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.