The latest accident over the Atlantic Ocean demonstrates that there needs to be a better way of recording flight data than on the traditional black boxes, which by the way, are not black - but orange. Given the immense depths the flight recorders from the Air France and Yemeni Airways Airbus accidents have fallen in the ocean it appears they may not be easily recovered.
You may have noticed in news reports that some data is automatically transmitted on a continual basis from the aircraft via satellite to the home base. Because of this there has been a lot of information released regarding the waning moments of the Air France flight. The problem, it seems, is that the amount of information the black boxes record is far too much for the simple systems used to monitor aircraft at the present time. Consider this - if the black boxes from the Air France loss could be recovered the NTSB would have 25 hours of data on 88 flight parameters plus the last two hours of cockpit conversations. Add to that the estimated cost of $ 300 million per year for an air carrier that flys globally and it quickly becomes apparent that it is not cost effective, considering most black boxes are recovered from aircraft accidents. One thing that might help the cost issue is that removal of the black boxes weighing about 10 pounds could result in significant fuel cost savings. But a search of the ocean floor at these depths could run $ 100K per day, so as with all things it becomes a cost/benefit equation. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 When you get it right mighty beasts float up into the sky. When you get it wrong people die. — Roger Bacon