VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The black box onboard the F/A-18D jet that crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex was recovered and sent to Maryland for analysis.
The jet's Crash Survivable Flight Incident Recorder was sent to Naval Air Systems Command at Naval Air Station Patuxent River . CDR Phil Rosi, with Naval Air Force Atlantic, says the recorder is similar to the ones found on commercial planes, saving "flight parameters, cautions and advisories." However, voice communications from the cockpit are not recorded on the device.
The crash happened just after noon when the aircraft suffered "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" shortly after takeoff, according to Captain Mark Weisgerber, Deputy Commander for the Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. Both pilots were forced to eject from the jet, which then crashed into the Mayfair Mews Apartments off of Fleming Drive.
Weisgerber added the pilot in the front seat was a student while the back seat was occupied by an experienced instructor. Both were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
The wing section and parts of the fuselage were also recovered from the scene and moved Monday, Rosi reported. The F/A-18D's engine will be studied at the crash scene before it is moved. Some of the jet's parts will be taken to Naval Air Station Oceana for examination.
According to the release, removal of aircraft debris should be complete by the end of this week.
Following the crash, flight operations at Oceana were reduced, but the air station is now under normal operations.
Rosi said the seven member Aviation Mishap Board (AMB) will investigate the cause of the crash, as well as the cause for damage and injuries incurred. Engineering investigations will also help as "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" is expected.
While it is not known how long the investigation will take, the AMB is typically given 30 days to submit their Safety Investigation Report (SIR).
In addition to the AMB investigation, the Navy will conduct a Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) investigation, standard practice in events that "result in injury and extensive damage to property." The information found in this report doesn't contain privileged information and is typically released. JAGMAN's are also generally completed within 30 days, but they can take longer.
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