By David Kaminski-Morrow in London
Preliminary analysis of the flight-data recorder from the Armavia Airbus A320 that crashed into the Black Sea last month has ruled out fuel exhaustion and engine problems as contributing to the accident.
Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) has also disclosed that, during the last minute, the aircraft was switched into flight mode in which the flight director was active but the autopilot was disengaged.
MAK says that the flight-data recorder contained 26h20min of information on eight flights conducted between 30 April and the crash on 3 May, including the entire 1h26mins of the final one.
The jet had been attempting a second night-time approach to Sochi Airport in Russia after a service from Armenian capital Yerevan.
Investigators studying the final flight have concluded that the fuel on board was “sufficient for the safe completion of the flight” and that the CFM International CFM56 powerplants “worked until the moment of the aircraft’s impact with the surface of the water”.
MAK adds that the aircraft was not destroyed in mid-air.
Armavia flight U8 967 crashed after abandoning an initial approach to Sochi Airport’s runway 06. None of the 113 occupants, comprising 105 passengers and eight crew members, survived.