KARACHI: The team of Airbus experts investigating the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash departed for France on Monday via a special flight.
The 11-member foreign team, which had landed in Karachi on Tuesday to offer help in the ongoing probe, took with them the flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder and samples from the wreckage of the crashed jet.
They also inspected the aircraft’s engines, landing gear, wings and flight control system avionics as well as the houses destroyed in the crash.
At the airport, they inspected friction marks on the runway caused by the belly landing, reviewed CCTV footage of the landing and surveyed the runway and apron from different angles from the control tower and approach tower.
The team had also sought the complete record of the crashed aircraft from the national flag-carrier to determine how many times the Airbus A-320 had landed in a year, what defects were worked on, how many cycles did the engine complete during the flight last year, how many times did the plane go through the check process, how many times the landing gear was serviced, which engineers worked in the main technical services of the aircraft and what resources and parts were used to fix the technical issues.
Another team of experts in France will investigate the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. The work is expected to begin from June 2, at an aviation laboratory in Le Bourget, France.
The decoding of the data recorder will enable the investigators to hear the conversation between the captain and the first officer during the flight as well as their communication with the air traffic controllers.
After the black box is decoded, they will be able to determine as to how the two captains used the plane’s equipment from take-off till the crash and assess how well the cockpit crew adhered to Airbus’ agreed procedures for operating the aircraft.
The experts will also use the pictures they took of the crash site and marks on the runway using high-resolution and drone cameras as they investigate the crash.
A team of PIA’s Aircraft Accident and Investigation Board’s (AAIB) reportedly also accompanied the experts back to France.
On Sunday, heavy machinery reached the crash site to remove an engine and wing still buried under rubble. The wing was extracted and transported to the airport.
However, the engine will be extracted and transported under the supervision of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) construction experts on Monday.