Tougher Black Boxes Mandated for Commercial Aircraft

One of the first questions asked after a commercial airline crash is whether the plane's "black boxes" have been recovered intact, preserving cockpit conversations and flight data before the crash for crash investigators. The Federal Aviation Administration published a final rule March 7 to improve the recorders -- basing it on recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board after several crashes, including EgyptAir flight 990 in the ocean off Nantucket, Mass., on Oct. 31, 1999, and ValuJet Airlines flight 592 in the Florida Everglades on May 11, 1996 -- in airplanes and helicopters with 10 or more seats. Soon, their voice recorders must capture the last two hours of cockpit audio instead of the current 15-30 minutes and must have an independent backup power source to allow continued recording for 9-11 minutes if all aircraft power sources are lost or interrupted. Data recorders must capture the last 25 hours of recorded information.

FAA said airplanes (but not helicopters) operating under Parts 121, 125, or 135 of its regulations must retrofit some equipment by March 7, 2012. The rule requires the upgrades to be installed on all newly built aircraft and helicopters after March 7, 2010. Some stakeholders opposed the changes in part or in their entirety, and the Air Line Pilots Association said the rule should have contained privacy protections for crew members whose conversations are recorded, according to the rule.

"Because this is the safest period in aviation history, we now have to be able to analyze each accident in greater detail," said Robert Sturgell, FAA's acting administrator. "These enhancements will give us more information about the causes of accidents and find ways to avoid them in the future."

The rule (www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/recently_published/media/23532.DOC) says voice recorders also must use solid state technology instead of magnetic tape, which is vulnerable to damage and loss of reliability, and it formalizes current FAA policy that voice and data recorders must be housed in separate units (excluding helicopters) such that no single electrical failure can disable them.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue