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An-148 crash probe retrieves flight-data recorder information

Russian analysts have retrieved information from the flight-data recorder of the Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 which crashed outside Moscow.

The Interstate Aviation Committee says the memory modules sustained physical damage and required "complete disassembly".

But investigators have been able to connect power and information channels to the storage components, and transfer the recorder's information.

The Interstate Aviation Committee says it has obtained data from 16 flights including the ill-fated service bound for Orsk on 11 February.

Investigators have started to analyse the data, it adds.

Preparations have been made for the retrieval of information from the cockpit-voice recorder.

Talks have been held with Ukrainian air accident investigation authority NBAAI and representatives of design bureau Antonov, which developed the An-148.

NBAAI has indicated that it is prepared to assist the inquiry, in line with international protocol, and is drawing up a list of personnel for participation.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been strained by the annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, with consequences for previous co-operation in several areas of aviation – including the activities of Antonov.

Antonov had recently disclosed, for example, that it had developed a new digital flight-control system for the An-148 and its family variants – the An-158 and An-178 – to replace a previous imported Russian system.

While based on a Ukrainian design, the Saratov aircraft was built in Russia, at the VASO plant in Voronezh.

Antonov states that the aircraft was built in June 2010 and had a valid service life to 2020, with maintenance conducted in-house by Saratov Airlines.

It says it is "ready to take part" in the investigation in order to establish the cause of the accident.

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