The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) says it strongly supports the use of deployable flight data recorders or triggered flight data transmission capabilities in addition to the standard cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder already installed on transport aircraft. The FSF believes a deployable flight data recorder should also include an emergency locator transmitter. The International Civil Aviation Organization is considering this option in a proposed amendment to Annex 6.17–Emergency location locator transmitter.
In a news release last week FSF president and CEO Jon Beatty said, “We have the technological capability, and with several high-profile events, including Air France 447 and Malaysia 370, there is clearly the need for a better way to retrieve the flight data information immediately following an accident. By using GPS technology, there would be no reason it wouldn’t be found and retrieved quickly after an accident or incident.”
The FSF believes that early retrieval and data analysis could assist with the recovery of the aircraft itself. A deployable flight data recorder could automatically eject itself from the aircraft when certain triggering events occur that signal that the aircraft is in an unrecoverable state. The foundation believes an alternative would be for the data to be automatically transmitted when triggered.