Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 was a scheduled international passenger flight, operated by AirAsia Group affiliate Indonesia AirAsia, from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore. The flight was reported to have crashed in bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and 7 crew on board on 28 December 2014. Fortunately, Indonesian divers have retrieved the data recorder of the aircraft but are yet to reach the cockpit voice recorder, the second part of the black box. The black box is a total forensic timeline of everything that happened and is of immense importance to understanding what caused the crash.
It contains information such as the condition of the engine, what the pilots were doing, whether the plane had stalled and its altitude will all be revealed from the tonnes of data that is on the flight data recorder. The head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency Bambang Soelistyo said that the device was found under the wreckage of a wing and was reported by the National Transport Safety Committee chief at 07:11 (00:11 GMT) on January 13, 2015. According to him, the cockpit voice recorder had also been detected but divers had not yet succeeded in reaching it.
The two recorders, usually housed inside the rear part of the plane, are designed to survive a crash and being submerged in water. They also contain underwater locator beacons which emit pings for at least 30 days. On further analysis, Supriyadi, operations co-coordinator for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, said that based on previous examination of the wreckage, the plane could have exploded upon landing on the water.
Indonesia has said publicly that it will handle the analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders in the country but it is likely that international teams will also be involved. The unfortunate silver lining of having had so many air disasters over the last decade has meant that Indonesian teams are very well equipped to analyze the data recorders and piece together what happened. Aviation analysts expect a preliminary report within a month and a more detailed report within a year, as dozens of bodies have been recovered while most of the victims are believed to still be inside the fuselage, which has not been found.