GE222 black box release set for Aug. 1


TAIPEI — Information contained in the black boxes retrieved from the crash site of a TransAsia Airways flight last week could be disclosed to the public Aug. 1, the Aviation Safety Council (CAA, 飛安會) said Wednesday.

Data recorded during the crash will be released first, while the cause of the incident will require further investigation, Wang said.

Transcripts of the conversation in the plane’s cockpit and communications between the pilot and air traffic control are still being prepared, Wang said, adding that all the information has to be double-checked before it can be released to the public.

A formal report on the accident will be presented to the International Civil Aviation Organization in three stages, with the first, to be completed in late August, covering initial findings on the crash, according to Wang.

Further data and figures will be required to be submitted within three to four months, followed by a complete report in one year, he added.

TransAsia (復興航空) flight GE 222, which took off from Kaohsiung July 23, crashed on the outlying island of Penghu after aborting a landing during inclement weather and trying to make a go-around. Of the 58 people on board, 48 were killed.

TransAsia Sets Stricter Flight Safety Standards after Crash TransAsia Airways said Wednesday its domestic flights will face stricter flight safety standards following the crash of one of its planes in outlying Penghu County last week, leaving 48 people dead.

The carrier said the policy is aimed at ensuring better flight safety, after an initial investigation found that weather conditions at the time of the crash met national safety standards, standards some are now calling into question.

A TransAsia Airways turboprop plane crashed near Magong Airport on July 23 when it aborted a landing in inclement weather and tried to fly around the storm.

The findings from the plane’s black boxes have yet to be released, but weather and visibility are among the main factors investigators are considering as they try to piece together what caused the crash, and TransAsia said the new standards address both issues.

The carrier said it will require visibility to be 50 percent greater than the current standard for each domestic airport it serves.

At Magong Airport, for example, where the minimum visibility standard for landing is 1,600 meters, TransAsia flights will not be allowed to land unless its pilots can see 2,400 meters into the distance.

In addition, under bad weather conditions, TransAsia flights will only be allowed to circle in the air for up to 30 minutes while waiting for the weather to clear before having to land at a backup airport or returning to their original point of departure, the carrier said.

Before the ill-fated TransAsia flight tried to land, the pilot circled around Magong Airport for 30 to 40 minutes.

The CAA does not specify a maximum period of time for a flight to stay in the air before being required to land.

TransAsia acknowledged that the new policy, which must be approved by the CAA before it takes effect, could result in more flight disruptions in the future but said it wanted to ensure safety.

No other domestic flight operators, including Far Eastern Air Transport, UNI Air and Mandarin Airlines, will follow TransAsia’s move for the time being.