Bulgaria’s MiG-29 crash: Technical issues hamper probe of black box

Aviation experts have managed to open the flight recorder from the Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 that crashed on June 9, but technical issues are preventing the data being extracted from the “black box” which was severely damaged when the fighter jet crashed into the Black Sea.

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry announced on June 24 that the black box had been found, at a depth of 70 metres.

The pilot, Major Valentin Terziev, 47, died when the MiG-29 crashed.

The outer shell of the black box was breached and it was full of seawater. There were also traces of an oil product, thought to be paraffin, it was announced at a news conference on June 25 at the Graf Ignatiev Air Force base, where the flight recorder was examined.

Because of a broken cable, for now there is no way to recover the data.

An effort is being made to contact the manufacturer to provide a replacement cable.

Earlier on June 25, caretaker Defence Minister Georgi Panayotov told Bulgarian National Television that a replacement for the torn ribbon cable would be ordered from Ukraine.

The black box contains data from the final 13 seconds of the flight, including various technical parameters. It does not have a voice recorder facility.

“Finding the crash site, the exact spot where the plane crashed, was crucial. Unfortunately, this type of black boxes of the MiG-29 fighters are not equipped with a transmitter, so it is extremely difficult to find them,” Navy commander Rear Admiral Kiril Mihailov said.

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