Flight Recorder Sheds No Light on Armenia A-320 Crash

Examination of the flight recorder from an Armenian airliner that crashed into the Black Sea last month has produced no new information on the reasons for the crash, an official said Monday.

The A-320 Airbus, operated by the Armavia Airline, came down in stormy weather off Russia's Black Sea coast May 3 with the loss of all 113 passengers and crew on board.

"The interstate aviation committee has finished decoding the flight data recorder," said Gayane Davtyan, spokeswoman for Armenia's main civil aviation department.

"The decoding ... showed that the plane had not disintegrated in the air," Davtyan said. "The engines were operating until the plane hit the water." She said the flight recorders had held information about eight flights made by the plane April 30-May 3, including the fatal trip. The tape lasted 26 hours 20 minutes, including 1 hour 26 minutes of the last flight.

Russia's Transportation Ministry said in a statement earlier Monday that the plane had enough fuel to complete the flight safely, and that the autopilot was off in the last minute.

Davtyan also said the commission had started detailed analysis of recorders and planned to model the crash on a special A-320 training plane.

"The conclusion about the reasons will be made after the analysis and investigation, to be followed by flight safety recommendations," she said.

On June 8, the commission finished deciphering the other black box - the cockpit voice recorder. The recorder had captured 33 minutes of exchanges between the pilot of the plane and air traffic controllers at Russia's southern Adler airport, outside the popular resort of Sochi, where the plane was heading.

The Russian Transportation Ministry said the transcript would not be published in line with the standards and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

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