The avionics lab
The BEA's Engineering Department has an avionics lab whose main mission is to preserve all the data that can be saved on any type of electronic equipment.
Aviation systems generally include components designed to record technical data. This information is used for maintenance or for improving onboard systems. In the context of an investigation into an accident, this data can be precious.
Other sources of data are also used. This includes information that some onboard systems save onto memories and recordings from ATC radars or of telecommunications. This is often the only available source when the event concerns a helicopter or a light plane.
Computers are not designed to resist an accident.