NATA Takes Issue with CVR Recommendations

 - March 16, 2007, 10:07 AM

Responding to an NTSB reiteration for cockpit voice recorder (CVR) installations in all new turbine-powered aircraft, the National Air Transportation Association said it cannot support the recommendations because there has been no cost-benefit analysis or assessment of the impact on small business.

NATA said the sweeping recommendations–if adopted by the FAA–would affect nearly every jet aircraft operated under FAR Part 135. For the first time, the NTSB is also proposing that these recording requirements also apply to Part 91 jet aircraft used for “commercial or corporate purposes.”

The NTSB is recommending increasing CVR total recording time to two hours and for many aircraft to be equipped with an image recording system capable of capturing both audio and video recordings of the flight deck. As justification for the requirements for aircraft not currently equipped with recording equipment, the Board stated that “retrieving recorded data from turbine aircraft is essential, regardless of the aircraft’s type of operation or the number of engines, pilots or passenger seats.”

While the NTSB cites several accidents in which insufficient data may have hindered post-accident analysis, the Board did not claim that the recommended equipment would have prevented any of those accidents. NATA said it is skeptical of the Board’s assertions that the new equipment and retrofits could reasonably be accomplished within three years, and that image systems would cost less than $8,000 installed. It stressed that no system has yet been certified by the FAA and therefore costs could become much higher.