Bush wants $100M for





from plane crash that killed 113

12:58 p.m. May 22, 2006

 MOSCOW – Russian searchers on Monday recovered the cockpit voice recorder from an Armenian passenger jet that crashed in the Black Sea nearly three weeks ago, killing all 113 people aboard, the transport minister said.

Workers using a remote-controlled diving apparatus with a robotic arm plucked the recorder from the sea floor nearly 1,640 feet beneath the surface after removing a layer of silt up to 1½ feet thick that had hidden it from searchers for days, he said.

Transport Minister Igor Levitin told a news conference that authorities hope to soon recover the flight data recorder, which they believe is under silt 10-15 feet away.

Officials hope the recorders will help determine the cause of the May 3 crash of the Armavia Airbus A-320, which plunged into the sea in heavy rain and poor visibility as it approached the airport on a flight from the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to the Russian resort city of Sochi.

“I think that what happened would be revealed,” said Tatyana Anodina, head of the Interstate Aviation Committee, the civil agency that links Russia with 11 other former Soviet republics.

Anodina said the cockpit voice recorder was damaged by the crash and may have suffered from the harsh conditions beneath the silt, but she expressed confidence that it would yield information “very important to investigators” – a recording of the voices and other sounds in the cockpit in the final minutes of the doomed flight.

The Interstate Aviation Committee will seek to coax the sound out of the box, working with French investigators and Armenian representatives, Anodina said. She said it was unclear when they might have results.

Prosecutors almost immediately dismissed the possibility that terrorists brought the plane down, and officials point to rough weather or pilot error as the likely cause, but Armavia officials have suggested air traffic controllers are at least partly to blame.

Anodina called the recovery operation “one of the most difficult” worldwide.

A device normally used for geological research was brought in last week for the search, but the operation was stymied by bad weather until Friday, Levitin said. When the weather cleared, the device first combed a 65-foot-by-65-foot patch of the sea floor amid the wreckage near the coast, where French specialists had detected signals from the recorders.

The search area was widened after the recorders were not found, but the voice recorder was finally located late Sunday under silt in the initial search area after searchers attached a radio-signal detection device to the apparatus, Levitin said.

The Interfax news agency, citing an unidentified official of the search operation in Sochi, reported shortly after the news conference Monday that the second recorder had been located. Levitin had said searchers would begin looking for it overnight.

from this link

Cockpit Voice Recorder from crashed A320 found

MOSCOW, May 22 (Itar-Tass) -- One of the two flight data recorders from the Armenian Airbus-320 passenger plane, which crashed into the Black Sea off Sochi on May 3, was found on Monday, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said.

The search for the second "black box" will start this night, he said.

The first "black box" was lifted from the seabed at about 3.05 p.m.

(1105 GMT). "The flight data recorder was found under a layer of soil. The operation to lift it began at 09:00 Moscow time and lasted six hours. The ‘black box’ has been sent to Moscow for deciphering. The second data recorder may be not far from the place where the first one was found," the operational headquarters told Itar-Tass.

The head of the Interstate Aviation Committee, Tatyana Anodina, said, "The found flight data recorder is badly damaged because of strong impact and because of lying in an aggressive environment."

She said data from the recorder would be analysed by a standard procedure that will involve officials from Armenia, France, and Russia.

The operation to lift the flight data recorders started last Tuesday but was interrupted by a strong side wind that constantly carried away the ship, which is operating the RT-1000 apparatus, which is conducting the search for the flight recorders.

Silt on the seabed complicated the work, covering the video camera and the searchlights. The team had to raise the apparatus several times to clean them. It takes 40 minutes for the apparatus to sink and as much to come back to the surface.

The apparatus had not participated in such operations before. It raised only geological samples weighing up to 20 kilogrammes and did not work at such depths.

The device is capable to lift fragments of a plane weighing up to 12 kilogrammes and the two flight recorders, each weighing seven kilogrammes, the head of the Federal Agency for Sea and River Transport, Alexander Davydenko, said.

The RT-1000 is a system consisting of control and lifting equipment and the apparatus itself with photo and video equipment and a hydraulic manipulator operating in all directions.

Davydenko said the operation would involve several groups of 18 people. Each will work for eight hours.


 The Navigator’s crew obtained the first television image of the flight recorders lying at the depth of almost 500 metres,using the top-notch research complex Kalmar.

The Kalmar equipment was provided by the department for salvage and emergency operations based in the port city of Novorossisk.

The designer of the complex, the Russian corporation Tetis-Pro, made the Kalmar for the Russian Navy. When the A-320 crashed, the complex, which includes a sonic depth-tester having the functions of a side-looking sonar, was still in the phase of testing.

The Kalmar is capable of tracking down objects at the depths of down to 600 meters.

The flight recorders are lying on the seabed 496 metres from the surface and about five metres apart. "The visibility is sufficient for the work to be done," the minister said.

Flight recorders used on aircraft of the Airbus-320 type withstand the depth of up to 6,000 meters for 30 days, experts from the French air crash investigation bureau said.

They said that flight recorders’ radio beacons keep working during the 30-day period.

One of the flight recorders registers flight parameters, including the speed, height and direction of the flight and the autopilot operation, each second. The other gadget records conversations in the cockpit.

Each flight recorder weighs 10 kilograms, including a seven-kilogram armoured casing for the gadget. The casing can withstand water pressure at a depth of 6,000 meters, the temperature of 1,100 degrees Celsius, and the compression of 2.2 tonnes.

The bureau retrieved flight recorders from the depth of over 1,000 meters in the Red Sea in January 2004, when an Egyptian plane crashed near the Sharm-el-Sheikh resort. The rescuers were using a Scorpio deep-water apparatus.

A technical commission investigating the Sochi air crash, which is led by the CIS Interstate Aviation Committee, has asked French experts to help find A-320 flight recorders.

Of 113 people who were abroad the plane, 51 bodies have been found so far.

The Airbus A-320 of the Armenian airline Armavia plunged into the Black Sea as it was making a landing manoeuvre in the early hours of May 3. The accident claimed the lives of 113 people.

from this link

Russian searchers recover second flight recorder from plane crash that killed 113

MOSCOW -- Russian searchers on Wednesday recovered the second flight recorder from an Armenian airliner that crashed into the Black Sea three weeks ago, killing all 113 people aboard, local media reported.

The flight data recorder was lifted by a diving apparatus from a depth of about 1,640 feet (500 meters) after it was separated from a thick layer of silt, said Transport Ministry spokeswoman Svetlana Kryshtanovskaya, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.

The so-called 'black box" was discovered within 16 meters (50 feet) from the spot where workers on Monday found the plane's cockpit voice recorder.

Russian television channels showed footage of a yellow, remote-controlled apparatus lifting the red recorder from the sea surface.

Investigators hope the two recorders will help answer why the Armavia Airbus A-320 plane plunged into the sea on May 3 amid heavy rain and poor visibility. The flight had been en route to the southern Russian sea resort Sochi from the Armenian capital, Yerevan. All passengers and crew members on board were killed.

Prosecutors almost immediately dismissed the possibility that terrorists had brought the plane down, and officials point to rough weather or pilot error as the likely cause. Armavia officials have suggested, however, that air traffic controllers were at least partly to blame. (AP)

May 24, 2006




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