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 Why pilots oppose new black box technology

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Zach Lach - CEO

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Posts : 26
Join date : 2009-06-19

PostSubject: Why pilots oppose new black box technology   Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:08 pm


By JASON WHITELY / WFAA-TV DALLAS
– Thirty days after Air France Flight 447 disintegrated into the Atlantic, most of the jet and its passengers remain as elusive as the cause of the crash.

Time is running out to solving the mystery since batteries in the black box beacons are starting to fade somewhere on the ocean's floor.

"If we don't have that flight data information we're going to never know what happened,” said Marty Rose, an aviation attorney and private pilot.

A French submarine and other vessels are scanning the bottom of the Atlantic looking for devices emitting pinging sounds.

But, Rose said current crash recorders alone are obsolete. Technology that is already several years old can transmit cockpit communications and flight data via satellite back to an airline headquarters for the rare instances when the recorders are lost or destroyed, he said.

Star Navigation Systems, a Toronto company, markets “real time monitoring” of flight data with a device called Terrastar. But it’s uncertain which airlines, if any, currently use the technology. A voicemail left with the company was not immediately returned.

Rose said current recorders, housed in the tail of commercial aircraft, should be a back-up system to the satellite transmitted data.

"If anything comes out of this [Air France] tragedy this might be it,” he said. “The technology exists today to do it. There's no question about it."

The FAA said it's familiar with the idea.

An NTSB spokesman said his agency likes any technology that might assist in often difficult investigations, though he noted its rare Cockpit Voice Recorders and Flight Data Recorders are either destroyed or lost in crashes.

Still, airline pilots oppose the new technology. Sending cockpit communications back to the airline, they said, amounts to having your boss listening to everything you say on the job.
AP
Brazil's Navy sailors recover debris from the missing Air France jet at the Atlantic Ocean.

"You're liable to say or do something that management doesn't understand or doesn't like and use it against you,” said Denny Kelly, a retired airline pilot and aviation industry analyst. “Number two, in an emergency you're liable to be thinking about 'Does it look right?' rather than 'Is it really right?'"

The Air France jet did transmit 24-automated maintenance messages that provided clues to investigators.

Many U.S. airliners have similar systems.

But without knowing what pilots said and the aircraft did solving this mystery and preventing another may not be entirely possible.
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