Aviation expert explains what happens once black box is found

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Search teams are still looking for the flight data recorders from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Once they’re located, authorities need to confirm if the black box is from the missing jet.

Kevin Balys, owner of KGB Aviation Solutions in West Seneca, said the crucial data from the flight recorder will help investigators piece together what went wrong.

“It was there. It experienced it. While it’s not human, it still recorded everything that happened,” said Balys.

The flight data recorder is one of two black boxes on the plane. It stores memory about the flight operating functions like altitude, airspeed or movement of the wing flaps. Once investigators retrieve it, the data will be copied off the flight recorder, decoded and analyzed.

The cockpit voice recorder is also vital. There are four channels on it, but Balys explained that the area microphone is often the most helpful.

“The area microphone is very important because the pilot communication back and forth we already know is minimal. The area mic will be very important in this investigation because they’ll be able to hear what was exactly happening in the cockpit.” said Balys.

However every time investigators search for a black box it isn’t always found. In some instances it can be destroyed.

“In most crashes the black box is unrepairable. What’s important to know is that it’s the memory on the black box that survives. That data is stored on memory chips on the new flight data recorders.” said Balys. “You don’t need a functioning flight data recorder to get the data off of a good memory chip.”

The batteries in the pinger on the black box are only meant to least one month after it’s had contact with the water. The signal from the missing airliner’s flight recorder is dimming. It passed the one month mark on Tuesday.

Balys said in the future black boxes should have signals that can last 90 days.

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