|Saturday 21/05/2016 Debris recovered and confirmed as being from Flight NS804|
|Courtesy Daily Mail|
UPDATE SATURDAY JUNE 18 2016
Graphic Courtesy BBC
Julian Bray writes: Local Egyptian sources have positively (albeit unofficially) confirmed that both the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (known as 'black boxes') have now been recovered from a depth of 10,000ft by a remote submersible submarine, equipped with specialist cutting and recovery gear, linked back to its dedicated search vessel.
The recovery operation had to be completed in several stages from the crashed EgyptAir Airbus A320 flight to Cairo from Paris, when it vanished from radar screens just inside the 'Egyptian Area of Responsibility' also known as Egyptian Air Space.
The plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on May 19 between Crete and the Egyptian coast and accounts suggest the nose portion of the fuselage 'drilled deep' into the sea bed, which at that location is constantly silted by the River Nile, so relatively soft and level.
On Friday, the Egyptian Military committee co-ordinating the search said in a statement that the recovery vessel John Lethbridge, contracted by the Egyptian government, extracted the initial data recorder from the sea 'in stages' and the memory disk stack portion of the FDR.
It was still unclear how damaged the 'black boxes' are, the combination of high water pressure, saline and the crash impact, will hamper any swift de-coding resolution, as the Egyptians are adamant they wish to keep the black boxes at their own specialist laboratory complex in Alexandria, and not send them to the French BEA Centre or to Farnborough in the UK.
The recovered units right up to the point of laboratory examination will have been kept submerged in sea water tanks, then progressively dried out, to preserve data stability.
However an official (not authorised to comment) claimed the investigators had already started analysing the cockpit voice recorder.
Sources: AP, ABC, CNS, BBC, and local engineering
The cockpit voice recorder from the crashed Egyptair flight MS804 has been located, recovered by search teams who removed the black box 'in stages', as it was damaged, the Egyptian investigation committee has said.
A specialist vessel MV John Lethbridge owned by Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search, and previously working the Irish sea oilfields, was diverted and rapidly steamed to the search/recovery zone and had been able to recover the cylindrical memory disk stack from the Airbus cockpit voice recorder.
“The vessel’s equipment was able to salvage the part that contains the memory unit, which is considered the most important part of the recording device,” the statement said.
Egypt’s public prosecutor then ordered the recovered device, one of two 'black boxes' on Airbus, be immediately transferred to the Egyptian investigating team in Alexandra for decoding and analysis.
The unit transferred from the John Lethbridge ship to the coastal city of Alexandria where representatives from the public prosecution and investigators received it, the statement said.
The announcement comes a day after the committee said the MV John Lethbridge, which was contracted by the Egyption government to join the search for the plane debris and flight recorders, had spotted and obtained images from the wreckage of the EgyptAir plane.
The crash killed all 66 passengers and crew. These included 30 Egyptians, 15 French citizens, two Canadians, two Iraqis and people from Belgium, UK (Wales) , Algeria, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Portugal.
No group has so far claimed the crash as a terror attack. Egypt’s aviation minister, Sherif Fathi, told an earlier news conference he didn't want to draw any conclusions prematurely, but “the possibility of having a different action or a terror attack, is higher than the possibility of a technical failure”.
Sources: AP, AFP, CNS, Guardian, BBC,
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 15 JUNE 2016 Egyptair flight 804. Egyptian officials examining wreckage from the seabed positively linked to the crashed Airbus A320 EgyptAir aircraft.
The plane, which disappeared from radar screens and spiralled into the Mediterranean Sea, was declared missing nearly a month ago. 56 passengers and 10 crew members make up the total of 66 people who died in the crash. Subsequently the passenger lists revealed the majority of the passengers were Egyptian and French, although sources confirmed one UK passport holder from Wales.
The Egyptian Ministry for Aviation in a statement confirmed a search team and investigators on board the search vessel are agreeing a major search strategy which will split resources to search and locate the main crash site wreckage.
The latest sightings come at a time when the guaranteed underwater pinger locator signal ( see picture above) directly from the black boxes is due to fade after a programmed 30 day period, although depending on local conditions on the seabed, the pings could well continue for weeks to come and continue to positively aid the search and recovery process.
A specialist deep water dive support ship - recently working in the Irish Sea, on an oil industry contract - the MV John Lethbridge is currently steaming towards the narrowed down crash search and recovery site of Egyptair 804. An earlier Egyptian report of 'pings' from an externally mounted locator beacon, are now being attributed to one of the two data recorders inside the aircraft, each has its own pinger or homing device, and it is this source, the French Navy ship A793 La Place, seems to have locked on.
Asked by BBC Radio Foyle earlier this morning, why the Egyptair 804 crash seems to have slipped off the media agenda? Aviation Analyst and Broadcaster Julian Bray suggested that in search terms great progress had in fact been made and quickly, but the process has to be painstakingly precise, carefully mapped and really needs the Remote Submersible Vehicle owned by the French company Deep Ocean Search ( and on board the MV John Lethbridge ) to physically pinpoint and recover the 'black boxes' which in reality are painted a bright orange colour to aid identification.
UPDATE 31st MAY 2016
Julian Bray writes: Egyptian authorities have now confirmed a digital signal was recorded from Egyptair flight 804 when it crashed in the Mediterranean with 66 people on board.
The emergency locator beacon would have been triggered by contact with water. European companies are being contracted to try and locate the two flight data recorders to finally establish what happened to the Paris to Cairo Egyptair Airbus A320, but first they have to pinpoint the crash site.
An official from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated an emergency beacon was picked up by satellites minutes after the airliner disappeared from radar on 19 May.
The Egyptian State Information Service website said investigators had “received satellite reports indicating receiving a 'ping' from the plane’s emergency locator transmitter (ELT)”. The co-ordinates were being used to narrow down the search area, the statement said.
Investigating authorities estimate more than a week is still needed until they can recover the plane’s “black box” flight recorders.
The flight recorders have enough battery power to emit and guarantee signals for 90 days, but possibly much longer .
Egypt and France have now signed contracts with two specialist deep water search companies, Alseamar and Deep Ocean Search (DOS). Both French owned.
“Those two companies have complementary roles: the first is for locating the pings of the black boxes (the signal being emitted by the black boxes’ beacon), while the second is for diving and recovering them” with the help of a robot, a source close to the investigation An official was commenting to Agence France-Presse in Cairo, requesting anonymity.
“But the DOS specialised ship only left the Irish Sea on Saturday and it will reach the perceived crash site in 12 days, after collecting Egyptian and French investigators in Alexandria.”
Investigators are searching at a depth of around 3,000m in a zone 290km (180 miles) north of the Egyptian coast.
Alseamar’s Detector-6000 acoustic submersible detection systems, detect pings at 4,000m to 5,000m below sea level. Left the French island of Corsica on board the Laplace, a French navy ship.
“While we are waiting for the DOS ship, equipped for detecting the pings in deep waters, but more importantly the robots capable of descending up to 6,000m to recover the black boxes, we will not be wasting time as Laplace will be trying to locate them in the meantime,” confirmed an official. “There is a very good chance of recovering the flight recordings thanks to the combination of these two French companies”.
Two members of the French aviation safety agency BEA are on board the Leplace. The aircraft transmitted ACARS automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin, toilet, window cracking and a fault in the flight control unit minutes before losing contact.
The official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to release the information.
He says all 80 pieces brought to Cairo so far are small and that "there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head." The official adds that "the logical explanation is that it was an explosion."
|Decent Flashcard - easily available, incident might have initiated at FAVA |
(start of side 2 of the flashcard above. Click on picture to enlarge.
UPDATE MONDAY MAY 23 2016:
Unconfirmed, rpt UNCONFIRMED. lengthy report but from local usually reliable well placed source, suggesting same 'terror' cell usually dedicated to the production of IEDs is behind both the Metrojet and the Egyptair incidents.
Source continues: Small device taped to an 'off the shelf' flight level indicator (barometric) device and a cell/satphone chip and one source now suggesting (BUT UNCONFIRMED) possibly powered by USB 'dongle' style from aircrafts own power system (detailed Airbus technical training on flashcards are easily available).
Smoke reports via ACARS although immediately detected, might not be so quickly transmitted as ACARS is patchy only operates on AM radio spectrum over land and the transmission coverage map shows a dead transmission area extending from the 'Heel of Italy' to the approximate search area, in other words collected ACRAS reports were transmitted in a burst once it encountered the Egypt based ACARS AM receiver.
ACARS DATA READOUT FROM FLIGHT NS804
UPDATE SATURDAY MAY 21 2016: Automatic data system for airline engineers based on the ground [ACARS - Aircraft Communications Addressing & Reporting System] report series of automatic data transmissions (pings) as smoke detectors were triggered in front toilet area moments before all systems went down. System also flagged up problem with 'F/CTRL SEC 3 FAULT in addition to 'AVIONICS SMOKE' and 'SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE' Egyptair has now (Sat 10:00am) confirmed validity of the ACARS messages. ACARS messages use the AM air band frequency (TX duration each message under 1 second) and are mainly transmitted during take-off and landing segments of the overall flight, suggesting the aircraft was possibly starting its descent to the destination airport in Egypt.
The change in altitude (descent) may have set off a timer enabled barometric trigger on any device covertly placed or carried on board. But this is pure speculation.
Human remains have been recovered along with more debris, seats, luggage from search area. Oil slick detected by satellite also reported but might not be related to Egyptair NS804. It could be a ship illegally discharging waste oil while cleaning ouit its tanks for a new cargo. To add to the complicated recovery logistics, sea conditions in the search zone have deteriorated, with white tipped waves and gusty wind conditions
An irate Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashid said: "The tourism problem isn't just an Egyptian problem - but a problem for all of us" commenting on reports that "tourists 'in droves' are boycotting Egypt and Turkey"
The sea depth at the recovery point is around 10,000 ft so a remote underwater vehicle will first locate the 'pinger' then map the area. The two data/voice recorders, the 'Black boxes' will be found, cut out of the wreckage and recovered. Then depending on the results of the mapping and photography of the recovery site, a master plan and logistics agreed to recover other items and/or structures.
An EgyptAir Airbus A320 (flight NS804) carrying 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean on Thursday in a crash that Egypt said may have been caused by a terrorist attack.
Air travel expert Julian Bray in a series of radio and television interviews said no alert being made could mean the airliner suffered a “catastrophic failure” possibly as a result of an explosion. It would only take a small amount of 'home-made' explosives, a barometric trigger device, possibly a timer or cellphone, meaning the device probably no larger than a soda drink can could have been covertly introduced at any number of airport stops, where security and monitoring is not up to western standards.
This particular airbus had recently visited destinations all over North Africa passing through active conflict zones. Igniting such a device at say 34,000 ft would cause an immediate loss of cabin pressure, possibly imploding and destroying parts of the computer driven 'fly-by-wire' technology. But this is just one so far unsupported theory, as the seemingly painfully slow investigation enters day two. Egyptian media still refer to the aircraft as 'missing' in an attempt to shield relatives who are converging on a reception centre set up in an Cairo hotel, families have been offered free air tickets from Paris to Cairo, the Egyptair Airbus started its journey from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.
Twenty four hours later, still no answers to many questions and the Egyptians are now withdrawing comments that debris has been found. The small items did not come from the missing EgyptAir Airbus A320 (flight NS804).
The UK is joining in the search with Royal Navy ships, helicopters, and the Royal Air Force assisting in aerial investigations of the search zone. Merchant shipping and cruise ships are also converging on the area.
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said it was too early to rule out any explanation for the crash. The country's aviation minister said a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical failure.
The Egyptian civil aviation ministry initially reported Greek authorities had found "floating material" and life jackets likely to be from the plane, an Airbus A320.
However, late on Thursday EgyptAir Vice President Ahmed Adel reversed his position and told CNN that the wreckage had not been found.
"We stand corrected on finding the wreckage because what we identified is not a part of our plane. So the search and rescue is still going on," Adel said.
Greek defence sources told Reuters the material was discovered in the sea 230 miles (370 km) south of the island of Crete.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the civil aviation ministry, the army's search and rescue centre, the navy, and the air force to take all necessary measures to locate debris from the aircraft.
Officials from multiple U.S. agencies told Reuters that a U.S. review of satellite imagery so far had not produced any signs of an explosion aboard the EgyptAir flight.
The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said the conclusion was the result of a preliminary examination of imagery and cautioned against media reports suggesting the United States believed a bomb was responsible for the crash.
They said the United States has not ruled out any possible causes for the crash, including mechanical failure, terrorism or a deliberate act by the pilot or crew.
Greece had deployed aircraft and a frigate to search for the missing plane. Egypt said it would lead the investigation and France would participate. Paris said three investigators would arrive in Egypt on Thursday evening.
In Washington, President Barack Obama received a briefing on the disappearance from his adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, the White House said. A White House spokesman said it was too early to know the cause of the crash and offered condolences.
Sources: Reuters, CNN, BBC, AP, France24, CBC, Egyptair,
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com