Avionics News May 2012 - 39

the FDRs and CVRs required aboard turbine transports, for example, many national regulatory authorities have established strict rules regarding public release of the original recordings. Instead of a CVR’s actual audio, official transcripts are released. Unfortunately, a crash-related CVR recording often leaks and becomes publicly available. The information from FDRs routinely is released, also, in the form of charts and graphs detailing parameters like speed, position, heading and altitude. But, accident investigation isn’t the only use of flight data. Flight operations quality assurance programs and their maintenance-related cousins have been implemented worldwide, analyzing recorded flight data for safety and efficiency enhancements and tracking component status. Because the technology so easily can be used to monitor and critique crew performance, it faces widespread barriers to further implementation. This is especially true in the U.S., where pilots maintain a low level of trust that non-FDR flight data won’t be used against them, either by their employers or the FAA. As a result, FOQA programs in the U.S. are not mandatory. To date, though, the data’s availability to personal aircraft operators hasn’t raised many privacy concerns. One simple reason is the aircraft in question are privately operated, and the only person with access to the data is the pilot/ owner, who presumably keeps tight control. At the same time, many operators revel in the ability to post summary data to publicly accessible websites or share information regarding operational issues as a means of finding solutions. Preventing the data from being generated in the first place would be one solution to privacy concerns, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. “I can’t think of a single example” of an operator asking Avidyne to turn off one of its products’ data-collection capabilities, Jacobson said. At the same time, information on an aircraft’s current and past whereabouts is easily accessible on the Internet, often without charge. Future As airborne automation and communication become the norm rather than the exception, storing, retrieving and using flight data by even the smallest operators likely will grow as a practice, something organizations throughout the world are realizing. In Europe, the European Organization for Civil Aviation Electronics developed ED-155, Minimum Performance Specifications for Lightweight Flight Recording Systems, in July 2009. That document defines

the minimum specification for to-be-required lightweight flight recording systems and provides guidance to manufacturers developing non-regulated products but who wish to meet recognized standards. In the U.S., the FAA developed technical standard order TSO-C197, Information Collection and Monitoring Systems, on Nov. 15, 2010, which is based on ED-155. Both documents extend beyond relatively simple flight-data logging and contemplate audio, video and data-link capabilities. And, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise to learn international guidelines differ. Annex 6, parts 1 and 2, of the International Civil Aviation Organization standards call for flight data recorders aboard commercial and non-commercial aircraft. But, the weight thresholds differ depending on how the aircraft is used. Meanwhile, FAA regulations state a for-real FDR is required use aboard a multi-engine, turbine-powered aircraft manufactured after Oct. 11, 1991, and equipped with 10 or more passenger seats. Eventually, these differences likely will be harmonized, probably with a focus on the ED-155/TSO-C197 standards. For its part, the NTSB will use “whatever data or means necessary” to investigate accidents, according to James Cash, the Board’s national resource specialist for recorders. And, since the FAA always is a party to the investigation, it also has access to the same data. Meanwhile, the NTSB employs the same policies on public availability of non-FDR/CVR flight data as it does for the real thing: The information is accessible as part of an accident investigation’s public docket and via a Freedom of Information Act request. The extent to which pilots, owners and operators are aware this data is being stored by their glass panels or other devices and can be easily retrieved isn’t clear. Also unclear is whether there’s widespread understanding of how it might be used and by whom if “something happens.” Beyond the engine monitor market and the monitoring capability built into current MFDs, neither Avidyne nor Garmin, nor other avionics manufacturers, emphasize their products’ ability to collect flight data. There’s no such thing as too much information, or so the saying goes. But, when it comes to the privacy of aircraft operations, it’s clear there’s a growing amount of data available from installed avionics. Whether operators know their avionics’ capabilities and can use them to the fullest is, at least in part, a role filled by the professional avionics technician. Shouldn’t the knowledge imparted to the proud owner of a new avionics suite also include flight-data logging and retrieval? q
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News May 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and REgulatory Updates
Wireless Connections in the Cockpit
Member Profile
Harnessing Diversity
Before & After
A Conversation With...
General Aviation Flight Recorders
Global Complications
Aviation Aces
Member Profile
Low-Cost Flight Data Monitoring
Business Basics
Theory & Practice
What's New
Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News May 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News May 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News May 2012 - 1
Avionics News May 2012 - 2
Avionics News May 2012 - 3
Avionics News May 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News May 2012 - 5
Avionics News May 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News May 2012 - 7
Avionics News May 2012 - 8
Avionics News May 2012 - 9
Avionics News May 2012 - 10
Avionics News May 2012 - 11
Avionics News May 2012 - 12
Avionics News May 2012 - 13
Avionics News May 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News May 2012 - 15
Avionics News May 2012 - International News and REgulatory Updates
Avionics News May 2012 - 17
Avionics News May 2012 - 18
Avionics News May 2012 - 19
Avionics News May 2012 - Wireless Connections in the Cockpit
Avionics News May 2012 - 21
Avionics News May 2012 - 22
Avionics News May 2012 - 23
Avionics News May 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News May 2012 - 25
Avionics News May 2012 - 26
Avionics News May 2012 - 27
Avionics News May 2012 - Harnessing Diversity
Avionics News May 2012 - 29
Avionics News May 2012 - 30
Avionics News May 2012 - 31
Avionics News May 2012 - 32
Avionics News May 2012 - Before & After
Avionics News May 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News May 2012 - 35
Avionics News May 2012 - General Aviation Flight Recorders
Avionics News May 2012 - 37
Avionics News May 2012 - 38
Avionics News May 2012 - 39
Avionics News May 2012 - Global Complications
Avionics News May 2012 - 41
Avionics News May 2012 - 42
Avionics News May 2012 - 43
Avionics News May 2012 - 44
Avionics News May 2012 - 45
Avionics News May 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News May 2012 - 47
Avionics News May 2012 - 48
Avionics News May 2012 - 49
Avionics News May 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News May 2012 - 51
Avionics News May 2012 - 52
Avionics News May 2012 - 53
Avionics News May 2012 - Low-Cost Flight Data Monitoring
Avionics News May 2012 - 55
Avionics News May 2012 - 56
Avionics News May 2012 - 57
Avionics News May 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News May 2012 - 59
Avionics News May 2012 - 60
Avionics News May 2012 - 61
Avionics News May 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News May 2012 - 63
Avionics News May 2012 - 64
Avionics News May 2012 - 65
Avionics News May 2012 - What's New
Avionics News May 2012 - 67
Avionics News May 2012 - 68
Avionics News May 2012 - 69
Avionics News May 2012 - Marketplace Classifieds
Avionics News May 2012 - 71
Avionics News May 2012 - 72
Avionics News May 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News May 2012 - Cover4
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