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Airbus Debuts Deployable Data Recorders

New technology self-ejects black boxes after crash capable of recording 25 hours of data.

Two new technologies could help rescue workers and emergency officials piece together why a commercial airliner came down in the critical moments after a crash. In a press release, Airbus announced two new versions of the cockpit flight data recorder, better known as an airplane’s “Black Box.”

The fixed, crash-protected Cockpit Voice and Data Recorder (CVDR) will be outfitted on shorter-haul aircraft, such as the Airbus A320. The smaller and lighter device extends the voice and data recording time to 25 hours. The French manufacturer plans to install two of the new CVDR units per aircraft, allowing for a primary and backup unit in each cockpit.

For trans-continental aircraft, the Automatic Deployable Flight Recorder (AFDR) will also offer 25 hours of cockpit voice conversations and aircraft data, but with an additional ability: In the event of a water crash, the flight data recorders could separate from the aircraft and float to the surface. Combined with the customary emergency locator transmitter, the new black box could prevent a situation like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from happening in the future.

“Airbus, together with L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS, is very pleased to be leading the commercial aircraft industry in implementing into our aircraft new deployable flight data,” Charles Champion, executive vice president of engineering at Airbus, said in a statement. “Starting with the very long-range A350 XWB, we look forward to progressively installing these new voice and data recovery devices across our entire product range.”

The new flight data recording systems will be installed on commercial aircraft beginning in 2019. The company did not provide a full timeline of when the new recorders will be installed on all airframes.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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jimmc66 July 7, 2017

With flight recorders that "eject" themselves from a crashing airplane, are "ejectable" first class seats far behind?