Why Don't More Airlines Stream Black Box Data?

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    In this day and age, the fact we have a “missing jet” seems ridiculous. We can find our iPhones but can’t find jets?

    And, the black box? Really? This is like searching for the VCR at the bottom of the ocean. All of that data should be streamed and kept on land in data centers.

    As a flyer/consumer, it concerns me how airlines are so far behind.


    You would think that all the data that is feeding a data recorder in a plane could be simultaneously be streamed to it’s own server on dry ground…instant reason to know why a plane would go down you’d think.


    There is no call to action for US domestic carriers for one simple reason…there has not been a crash of a US carrier since November 2001, the American flight that crashed after takeoff from JFK. While this disaster was originally thought to be terrorism, it turned out to be pilot error in this Airbus 300-600.


    I don’t have an answer to why this isn’t done. There are a few tech hurdles that need to be overcome, but seemingly doable. You’d still need an on board recording unit . . . transmitting components may fail during structrual damage, but a black box will continue to record.

    My guess — cost and the Big Brother factor.


    It could also be along the same lines as to why the train companies aren’t using Positive Train Management systems. The capitalists in the board rooms don’t want to spend the money, and no one can make them, no matter how many people die.


    It is cost.
    There is a Canadian airline doing it now.
    But at a cost of several 10’s of thousands of dollars per aircraft to equip, coupled with the rarity of how often it is needed, don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

    Remember, the airlines fought tooth and nail against cockpit door locks until after 911, and that’s a considerably less expensive retrofit.

    Spurred by the MH370 mystery, more planes are due to get such technology after the U.N.’s aviation agency in March approved a proposal for all newly designed aircraft to carry tracking devices that can transmit their location at least once a minute in an emergency. That won’t go into effect until 2021.

    The recent uptick in instances of missing planes and black boxes could force airlines to re-examine live data streaming sooner than later, said aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia.


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