It had been feared damage to the box might have damaged or destroyed some or all of the data. But the National Transportation Safety Board said the flight-data recorder contained 25 hours of tape, registering air speed, altitude, throttle settings and engine performance. Such details will be added to radar data collected to try to establish the cause of the disaster, in which 217 people died.
The search continued off Massachusetts for the second box, the cockpit voice recorder. The NTSB said it was asking EgyptAir pilots who knew the pilots killed in the crash to interpret the tapes. While exchanges with air-traffic control would be in English, conversation in the cockpit was likely to be in Arabic. They also wanted people, if possible, with personal experience of working with the crew.
The cockpit recorder was crucial to establishing the likely cause of the 1991 Air Lauda crash in Thailand, the only other disaster involving a Boeing 767, which was traced to faulty deployment of a reverse- thrust mechanism. EgyptAir said the reverser on one of the 767's engines had been deactivated before its last flight.
Since the crash Boeing has issued two more warnings on other components. It delayed the release of several new planes and called for checks on others because of a non-regulation adhesive and this week called for checks on tail bolts found to have worked loose on some planes.
EgyptAir Flight 990 was 30 minutes into a flight from New York to Cairo when it plunged into the Atlantic.