NTSB reveals initial data from flight recorders

Two pilots were killed in Wednesday's crash.
Two pilots were killed in Wednesday's crash.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WAFF) - The National Transportation Safety Board held what it announced would be its final on-scene news conference Saturday, though they stressed their work was far from over.

During Friday's update, investigators announced they had successfully retrieved the flight data recorders from the wreckage. Saturday, they revealed that initial data showed the aircraft was approaching the airport at normal speed, and that the engine was operating normally. Maintenance records showed no mechanical issues with the aircraft.

Investigator Robert Sumwalt said that records showed autopilot was engaged, up to the last second of recorded data. Sumwalt said that having autopilot engaged during approach and landing was not unusual. The air speed was measured at 140 knots, which is typical with normal approach speed. Sumwalt also said during the news conference that memory chips from pieces of electronic equipment that survived the crash had been recovered and would be analyzed for further insight into the incident.

Cameras from both the airport and the National Guard are believed to have captured the fire resulting from the crash which killed both crew members on board. Sumwalt said that each video will be analyzed frame-by-frame.

Interviews have begun with pilots who previously flew and interacted with the deceased crew members. Additionally, a 72-hour history of the crew members' mental and physical health will be obtained.

Sumwalt stressed that even though the briefings from Birmingham have concluded, much more work was still yet to be done. "There are several more days of on-scene activities. Our investigators will continue to be busy through the weekend and well into next week. We expect the wreckage will be removed in about one week," Sumwalt said.

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