MAK releases first data from Armavia FDR

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By David Kaminski-Morrow in London

Preliminary analysis of the flight-data recorder (FDR) from the Armavia Airbus A320 that crashed into the Black Sea in May 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 flight passed to the director mode with the autopilot switched off”. This is believed to indicate that the autopilot had been disengaged, but the flight director was active on the attitude director indicator displays.

MAK says the flight-data recorder contained 26h 20min of information on eight flights conducted between 30 April and the crash on 3 May, including the entire 1h 26min of the final flight.

MAK previously revealed that the cockpit-voice recorder contains about 33min of audio information. This includes the beginning of the incident and continues through the development of the situation on board the twinjet.

The A320 had been attempting a second night-time approach to Sochi airport in Russia after a service from Yerevan, Armenia.

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 the aircraft was not destroyed in mid-air.

The Armavia A320 crashed after abandoning an initial approach to Sochi airport’s runway 06. None of the 113 people on board survived.