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The ATSB's successful retrieval of flight data from a badly damaged aircraft has been described as a 'breakthrough' by Royal New Zealand Air Force authorities.

On 14 January 2010, the Royal New Zealand Air Force Red Checkers CT-4 Airtrainer aircraft crashed at Ohakea Air Force Base in New Zealand while practising for an upcoming aerobatics display. The pilot died in the accident and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.

The ATSB transport safety report, released today, details the efforts taken to retrieve a large amount of data from the aircraft's badly damaged flight data recorder following a request of assistance from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The data recorder was fitted to the aircraft to gather performance data as part of a fatigue monitoring program.

ATSB Chief Commissioner, Mr Martin Dolan, said the report reflects the ATSB's strong spirit of international cooperation to improve safety.

'While the flight data recorder was severely damaged by fire, ATSB investigators succeeded in retrieving important flight data through meticulous, painstaking and imaginative work,' Mr Dolan said.

'We then passed this data onto Royal New Zealand Air Force investigators who found it invaluable to their investigation.'

'This investigation highlights the ATSB's world-class technical expertise in transport safety investigations.'

A copy of the ATSB transport safety report AE-2010-024 is available via the ATSB website.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 29 June 2011

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