Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024 - 9

BEST PRACTICES
In a similarly puzzling accident, Air
France Flight 447 came apart during
cruise flight on June 1, 2009, killing all
228 people on board. Far out at sea, with
no witnesses, it took two years to locate
and recover the data recorders and piece
together the accident causes. In the
subsequent time, there was no clear picture
of what had caused the crash. As a result
of finally analyzing the preserved data,
this crash investigation led to an Airbus
equipment modification and new crew
training procedures that dramatically
increased aviation safety across the fleet.
The preservation and study of
crash data leads directly to a
quantum increase in safety.
In both cases, tracking down the true trigger
of these accidents required an exhaustive
analysis of the precious data and extensive
testing to verify the results. The preservation
and study of crash data led directly to a
quantum increase in safety. And, in each
case, the actual cause of the crash would
never have been known without a crashresistant
data recorder.
" When planes crash, we want to know what
happened. The good news is that there's
technology available today that would give
us the answers. The bad news is that the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has not mandated that aircraft operators
install it [the tech], citing privacy, security,
cost, and other concerns, " the NTSB wrote
in a statement headlining its 2021 to 2023
Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety
Improvements page.
A proven track record of success with
preserved accident data has led the NTSB to
repeatedly petition the FAA to expand data
recorder requirements to include all passengercarrying
commercial aircraft, including charter
planes and air tours. The FAA, citing privacy
and cost issues, has resisted these requests,
and the issue is currently at a standoff. In our
modern society, there is a general resistance to
active digital surveillance, even though the cell
phone most people carry reveals more about
your activities than any " black box. "
Fortunately, the steady march of technology
has resulted in a rich body of captured
aviation data from outside sources that is often
available and used in the interest of safety.
Minor aircraft crashes are often analyzed with
the ADS-B tracking data (a system required
Video Courtesy of Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association.
In this YouTube video of a simulated Cirrus SR-22 crash
from November 2011 in Florida, captured flight data
reveals that this pilot's illegal low-level aerobatics
became increasingly common and daring over time and
ultimately cost him his life.
now on all US aircraft flown in busier airspace)
that captures at least speed and altitude.
ADS-B was initially designed as a collision
avoidance tool and to augment ATC radar
surveillance. But it preserves airspeed and
tracked data on equipped aircraft in addition
to its intended uses.
Another tool for accident investigators is
available in more sophisticated light aircraft,
notably the Cirrus brand. Modern avionics
systems essentially function as flight data
9
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447 https://www.ntsb.gov/Advocacy/mwl/Pages/mwl-21-22/mwl-as-02.aspx

Premium on Safety - Issue 51, 2024

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