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Why France is analyzing Ethiopian jet’s black boxes



France does not see an unusually large number of air disasters, but its air accident investigators are famous worldwide.

The French investigative authority for aircraft accidents, known by its French acronym BEA, is now addressing the analysis of Ethiopian Airlines' flight recorders that crashed after take-off beginning of the week, killing 157 people.

The Ethiopian authorities wanted European investigators to manage the analysis because of its complexity, according to BEA spokesman Sebastien Barthe. Initially they asked Germany, which said it did not have the necessary capacity to take it, so the Ethiopians turned to France, Barthe told the Associated Press.

And the BEA said yes.

The French agency, based in the Parisian suburb of Le Bourget, has extensive experience in investigating accidents and other accidents involving commercial flights. The BEA in particular helps investigations in countries without resources or equipment to analyze flight recorders, often called black boxes.

BEA investigators are often called when an Airbus aircraft has a problem anywhere in the world because the aviation manufacturer is based in France. This time the plane was a Boeing, whose popular 737 Max 8 model was isolated or removed from airspace in over 40 countries awaiting investigation of what caused the Sunday accident.

The BEA is not saying how long it will take to analyze the recorders ̵

1; which are actually orange, despite their nickname. One collects data such as the altitude and speed of the airplane, while the other records the sounds in the cockpit. The analysis usually takes days or weeks, depending on whether the recorders were damaged in the accident.

The French agency insists that its investigations are not aimed at blaming, but to find out what went wrong in making recommendations to improve air safety around the world.

Among the major accident investigations that the BEA conducted were the Germanwings' plunge in 2015 – whose black boxes revealed that the copilot had deliberately slammed the plane on an Alpine mountain after having locked the captain from the cockpit. 19659003] The BEA also studied flight recorders recovered from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean two years after the crash of the Air France flight Rio-Paris 447. The investigation determined that the speed sensors had frozen over, causing confusion in the cockpit. [19659011]
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