UncategorizedYou ViewsVolume 12 Issue # 12

PIA crash inquiry

GOING by the CAA spokesperson’s statement it seems the PK-661 crash inquiry report is going down the same path that previous inquiry reports involving the government followed. The CAA claims that the black box decoding has not revealed the cause of the crash but the spokesperson faithfully highlighted the fact that the prime minister had safely travelled on the same aircraft a week before the crash as if this absolves those involved with the maintenance of the ill-fated aircraft.

To recapitulate, every commercial airliner is equipped with two recorders, one which is a voice recorder which records the last 30 minutes of voice conversation within the cockpit besides transmissions made with air traffic control. If the aircraft lands normally this tape is erased on touchdown but, if there is a crash landing exceeding a specified number of Gs, or gravity force, then the voice transmissions are saved on tape. The other recorder, or black box, is the one which records all flight data. This is not erased whether the plane lands normally or is involved in a crash. Whenever required, this data can be retrieved.

The flight data is made up of engine performance, speed, attitude and altitude of the aircraft while in the air. Besides, the ATC records all voice transmissions with aircraft under its control and the radar data of the flight path. Some manufacturers have now provided an automatic data link in the cockpit which continuously sends back engine performance. This was not available with the ATR-42 which crashed.To help in putting together the cause of a hull loss accident, the investigation must also retrieve the remains of the aircraft and then painstakingly reassemble the same in a completely sterile environment like an enclosed aircraft hangar.

The organisation responsible is the CAA. It also regulates commercial aviation besides providing ATC services.There are reports that the bodies of the pilots will be exhumed because some wise man now suspects that the deceased crew were under the influence of drugs. After any aircraft accident the first action by CAA is to test the body of the crew for drugs whether they are alive or dead. So if this was not done, why inflict further agony on the families of the deceased?

Javed Khan Tareen