Studying the Black Box of Dubai-Mangalore flight IX-812, which crashed on Saturday killing 158 people, could take longer than expected. The cockpit voice recorder..." />
May 28: Studying the Black Box of Dubai-Mangalore flight IX-812, which crashed on Saturday killing 158 people, could take longer than expected. The cockpit voice recorder and the black box were badly damaged in the crash and may now have to be sent to the US for further analysis.
When the aircraft went down it was still carrying over five tonnes of fuel and the explosion that followed blew many parts of the aircraft to bits. The impact was felt on the Digital flight Data recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder.
DGCA sources said that the vital data recording devices which could reveal the reasons for the crash are severely damaged. The data connectors on the cockpit voice recorder are unusable and so are the ones on the black box.
DGCA sources say that the data can be retrieved but will have to be sent to the manufacturer Honeywell in the US. The company will then retrieve the data from the data chips inside the computer.
The hard disk will have to be handled by an expert say DGCA sources. The chips will be taken out and inserted into a brand new Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder to retrieve the date. But this will only be done once the investigation committee is formed.
What is black box
A "black box" records flight performance data, holds data that explains crash, records all control settings, has details of flight parameters, records performance and data of instruments inside the aircraft like speed, angle of descent. It also helps to piece together sequence of events leading to the crash.
The device is designed to withstand crash, heat and is coated in orange colour, not black, so that it is easy to spot in wreck in a crash aftermath.
The device is always mounted in aircraft’s tail section to ensure much damage is not done to it in a crash.
The NTSB has previously been involved in conducting detailed investigations whenever aircraft manufactured by Boeing, Bombardier and Airbus have been involved in fatal and non-fatal air crashes across the globe.
The government’s decision, in part, could have been motivated by the presence of an NTSB team led by the agency’s senior safety investigator Joe Sedor who was designated as the US’ accredited representative.
The NTSB team, which reached Mangalore on Tuesday, included a flight operations expert, an aircraft systems specialist besides technical advisors from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing. The team had several rounds of meetings with DGCA officials.
Indicating that the government was exploring the possibility of getting the crash, one of the worst in India’s aviation history, investigated by an independent authority, Zaidi said: “Provisions in the Aircraft Rules, 1937, empower the government to establish an independent body to probe any accident or incident”.
In the case of Flight IX-812, the investigation would be by a Court of Inquiry which would be assisted by persons possessing legal aeronautical, engineering or other special knowledge.
Once the transcripts and analyses of the CVR and the DFDR are returned by the NTSB, they would be presented before the Court, which would have all the powers of a civil court, as evidence.
The DGCA chief said given the gravity of the situation and the sensitive issues involved, he personally favoured an independent body to probe the crash. In this context, he defended the decision to send the CVR and the DFDR to the NTSB.
According to Zaidi, the first part of the investigation involved setting up an inspector of inquiry –– in this case DGCA’s air safety director Bir Singh Rai –– who was mandated to gather evidence, documentary and verbal, seal the written statements of Mangalore Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials, and search and recover the CVR and DFDR. Rai would be part of the investigation later when the Court of Inquiry begins its formal probe.
Other top DGCA sources told Deccan Herald that preliminary enquiries into the crash have “to some extent” established that the pilot flew in the aircraft over Mangalore airport “high and fast”.
The sources said that on a general level the initial probe indicated that although the pilot-in-command established contact with the ATC and received landing clearance, he flew in at an altitude which led to overshooting the runway by 2,000 feet. Besides, the aircraft’s speed was much too high.