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Transportation

Flight Data Recorders, Decades Out of Date 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the jet-lagging-behind dept.
Tisha_AH writes "For the past fifty years the technology behind aircraft flight data recorders has remained stagnant. Some of the advances of cloud computing, mesh radio networks, real-time position reporting and satellite communications are held back by a combination of aircraft manufacturers, pilots unions and the slow gears of government bureaucracy. Many recent aircraft loss incidents remain unexplained, with black boxes lost on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, buried under the wreckage of the World Trade Centers or with critical information suppressed by government secrecy or aircraft manufacturers. Many devices still rely upon tape recorders for voice and data that only record a very small sampling of aircraft dynamics, flight and engine systems or crew behaviors. Technologically simple solutions like battery backup, continual telemetry feeds by satellite and hundreds of I/O points, monitoring many systems should be within easy reach. Pilot unions have objected to the collection and sharing of detailed accident data, citing privacy concerns of the flight crew. Accidents may be due to human error, process problems or design flaws. Unless we can fully evaluate all factors involved in transportation accidents, it will be difficult to improve the safety record. Recommendations by the NTSB to the FAA have gone unheeded for many years. With all of the technological advancements that we work with in the IT field, what sort of best practices could be brought forward in transit safety?"

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