Avionics News May 2012 - 36
GENERAL AVIATION FLIGHT RECORDERS
B Y J O S E P H
Many modern avionics store an aircraft’s flight data for later retrieval.
Are Your Customers Aware of These Capabilities and What’s Being Tracked?
E . ( J E B ) B U R N S I D E
hen a Cirrus SR22 single piston crashed at an air park in Indianapolis, Ind., on Aug. 28, 2006, killing its pilot and seriously injuring the passengers, accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board responded. For days, they pored over the wreckage and investigated the airplane’s maintenance history, along with the pilot’s background and experience. When the NTSB issued its probable cause ﬁnding nearly two years later, observers noted something new and different: The Board made extensive use of various data generated and stored by the airplane’s installed avionics to reconstruct events leading to the accident. The accident airplane was delivered with an Avidyne Entegra EXP5000 primary ﬂight display and an EX5000C multifunction display in its instrument panel as standard equipment. According to the NTSB, the PFD “includes a solid-state air data and attitude heading reference system and displays,” which record “altitude, airspeed, attitude, vertical speed and heading.” Meanwhile, the SR22’s MFD also stored data. The NTSB noted, “Speciﬁcally, the MFD receives GPS position, time and track data from the aircraft’s two Garmin 430 GPS receivers. The MFD also receives information from the aircraft concerning altitude, engine and electrical system parameters, and outside air temperature.” Essentially, the Cirrus carried technology analogous to a