Egyptair flight MS804 crash: black box confirms smoke on board

Egyptair A320
Tis Meyer/

Data from the Flight Data Recorder recovered from EgyptAir Airbus A320 showed smoke alarms sounded on board, investigators say. The Airbus A320, which had 66 people aboard, crashed May 19 in the Mediterranean Sea on a flight from Paris to Cairo. 

Egyptian investigators announced that following the successful download of the data of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the doomed A320, decoding and validation of more than 1200 parameters is in progress in order to commence the next phase of the investigation, that includes the reading and analysis of the data.

Preliminary information shows that the entire flight is recorded on the FDR since it departed from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, until the recording stopped at an altitude of 37,000 feet, when the accident occured.

“Recorded data is showing a consistency with ACARS messages of lavatory smoke and avionics smoke,” the committee said on Wednesday.

Investigators had previously announced that the plane’s automated Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, known as ACARS, sent signals indicating smoke alarms on board the plane before it went down.

“Recovered wreckage parts of the front section of the aircraft showed signs of high temperature damage and soot. Analysis will be carried out to try to identify the source and reason for those signs”, the committee statement added.

Regarding the CVR, repairs are still in progress at the French aircraft accident investigation bureau (Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile).



  1. Simon Gunson

    July 4, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I note Donald Trump has gone strangely silent over his 100% guarantee that Egyptair MS804 was brought down by a terrorist bomb?

    The media are also strangely silent about the real issue which is the enormous vulnerability of modern Fly By Wire airliners to electrical failure & cockpit fire at cruise altitude. Why are no questions being asked about the lack of fire extinguishing systems in the avionics bays of Boeing 777 or A320 aircraft?

    This is the real elephant in the room that all electric FBW aircraft are no longer fail safe.

    • Thomas

      July 4, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      I guess you have a point there. Is it technically possible to have a fire extinguishing system in an avionics bay?. I think there is a big chance the investigation will manage to come to a clear conclusion since they’ve found the aircraft, the FDR and the CVR.

      • Simon Gunson

        July 5, 2016 at 12:39 am

        Only since the Value Jet crash and evolution of ETOPS services has huge effort gone into fire suppression in cargo compartments, but no comparable effort was invested in avionics bays. Each year there are dozens of incident reports about detection of smoke in the cockpit in flight. These incidents are just brushed aside and never addressed. As long as an aircraft is certified safe and maintained according to regulations, nobody bothers to question these incidents.

        The military developed a fast reacting Halon gas explosion suppression system for tank crews which reacted blindingly fast. One of the challenges was to develop a system that was not prone to false alerts. What was developed was a system that used coordinated multiple detection systems, ie infra red & light detecting sensors. I imagine if effort and thought were given to the topic there would be a technological fix.

        One thing is clear, unless public demand it there will not be a return to airliners returning to use of hydraulics to control flight surfaces, yet FBW has unresolved potential dangers.

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