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Old 03-29-2014, 12:27 PM   #1
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Default The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

With all my respect and prayers to the families of AF 477 and MAS 370.

The first prototype coupled FDR/CVR designed with civilian aircraft in mind, was produced in 1956 by David Warren of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne, Australia.[6] In 1953 and 1954, a series of fatal incidents involving the de Havilland Comet prompted the grounding of the entire fleet pending an investigation. There were no witnesses nor survivors, Warren conceived of a crash-survivable method to record the flight crew's conversation (and other pre-crash data), reasoning they would greatly assist in determining a cause and enabling the prevention of future, avoidable accidents of the same type.In 1960, after the crash of an aircraft at Mackay (Queensland), the inquiry judge strongly recommended that flight recorders be installed in all airliners. Australia then became the first country in the world to make cockpit-voice recording compulsory. The flight recorder was invented and patented in the United States and filed in August 1953 and approved on November 8, 1960.

The time has come for this ‘black box’ technology to become a thing of the past on today’s modern and next generation airliners. I am just totally confused that here we are in the year 2014 and still are utilizing technology developed 54 years ago, something is very wrong here with that picture. We now have had 2 air crash investigations (AF477 and MAS370) that have extended global search and recovery resources to unprecedented levels and financial costs. I read that recovery costs for AF 477 was around 30 million dollars and up, (three previous search missions had already cost €21.6m and failed to find anything)

.In a time when we stream Netflix (NFLX) on our laptops, get music instantly on our phones, and use Wi-Fi on our airplanes, why can't we get that data in real time? The technology already exists. Canadian company Flyht Aerospace Solutions makes the Automated Flight Information System, or AFIRS, which automatically monitors data such as location, altitude, and performance. And it can live stream information when something goes wrong. Flyht director Richard Hayden contends that we would have more answers today and instantly (not 22 days and counting later!!), if that technology had been on Flight 370. "We would know where the aircraft has gone, where it is, and we would have information on what had happened in the meantime," he said. On a normal flight, the system would send updates every five to 10 minutes. It can be also be programmed to recognize when something is wrong, such as a deviation in flight path, and automatically begin streaming second-by-second data.
The main objection to this type of live-streaming has been cost, but Hayden says AFIRS is designed to save carriers money. "A typical installation would be under $100,000 including the box and the installation parts and the labor," said Hayden. "Normally our customers recover that expense in a matter of months to, at most, a couple of years by virtue of the savings it creates." Those savings come from the ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems while the plane is in the air, he says, as well as collect data that can help cut fuels costs by tracking a plane's performance under different conditions. "Typically we'll save three or four percent of an operator's entire fuel budget," said Hayden. The potential benefits of live-streaming data were widely discussed after Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. It took experts two years to recover the flight data recorder. That's because once a plane sinks to the bottom of the ocean, the flight data recorder goes with it. Ultrasonic "pingers" designed to lead searchers to the box have a radius of two miles, and the recorder's batteries die after 30 days. >>
Still, former Inspector General of the Department of Transportation Mary Schiavo says carriers won't get on board with live streaming technology unless they have to. "[Airlines are] very cost sensitive. They simply will not add additional safety measures unless mandated by the Federal Government," said Schiavo.

It’s definitely time for all governments around the world to make this data streaming (AFIRS) the LAW! We can’t have anymore AF 477 and MAS 370 types of aviation crash incidents in the future . Where the passenger families are left in limbo; search teams and air crash investigators are trying to find the needle in a huge haystack and all the aviation experts coming up with various theories on ‘what’ happened to the plane and ‘why’ it crashed and ‘where’ it crashed, etc..! CNN had MAS 370 going on 24/7 for 2 weeks straight. I’m quite sure that MAS 370 has now brought AFIRS to the front line in the aviation industry, and I implore the airlines to step up to the plate and get onboard with today’s technology!>>

I don’t know about you, but the 60 year old ‘Black Box’ and it’s ‘ping’ has to go NOW!>>

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Old 03-29-2014, 01:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

couldn't agree more randy!! as you say potential savings could be huge.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Yes, with SSD's (Solid State Drives) and new battery technology a more advance version of the black box is needed. With SSD's much more data can be recorded and more reliably. The battery on the black box should be required to blast out a signal for several months. Also the signal need to be stronger, to a point where a satellite can pick it up very quickly.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

I do not believe that the (D)CVR or DFDR should become a thing of the past.
There is still a huge need for them. ACARS/AFIRS can only help up to a point. It is impossible to live stream each and every flights Cockpit Conversations and Flight data 24/7. We simply don't have the capacity to handle all that additional traffic over current transmission links.

Can you also imagine the cost if each airline needs to put in place a secure data centre just to store those thousands of hours of conversations and flight data?
No, a central goverment controlled storage facility would not to down well with the world's airlines. America does not yet own the world.

As with everything in Aviation, there are a Cost-Benefit analysis to be done.
A common objection to this is "What price can one put on the life of a human being". Unfortunately that is an utopian view and a red-herring. How many lives would have been saved with Silk Air or Egypt Air or if this turns out to really be an intentional event?

Unfortunately in the greater scheme of things human lives means less than you would think. I would argue that my life is very important to me and my immediate family and friends, but the wider the circle becomes, the less your life has value to strangers. How many people lose sleep over the thousands of people who starve to death or die in motor vehicle accidents daily. With about 7 billion humans on the planet, the life of a single person is debatable. Get to grips with it. You are not worth as much to others as you think you are. Your name might be mentioned as part of a list of thousands of names in the event of a mass tragedy, but the rest of the world will soon forget about the individual. The total number of lives lost is what would be recorded in history.

So what the insurance companies do is put a value to a human life (based on what the courts would value a life as - more if it is a US based court, less if another country's court dealt with the matter).
Then they do a calculation of how often an accident/incident like MH370 would occur in the next decade (or service life of an aircraft type) with total loss of life (or even with a calculated numbers of lives lost in some accidents which might be survivable).

The next question is how much would it cost to fix the potential problem.
From these facts it is a simple calculation to see if the cost to fix a problem is more than the potential payouts of lives lost.
And my friends that is pure Capitalism at work for you. If you want a capitalist society then those are the facts you need to live with. Fixing things cost money which impacts profits. The almighty dollar has the final say.

Back to MH370.
It it can be established that it was Pilot Suicide, then this is so far a once-off occurrence where the plane went missing for so long. No technology would prevent an intentional crashing of a plane. So don't think that any number of recorders of longer lasting pingers would actually help save lives. It might only help with finding the wreckage.

A proposal was made for adding a second set of CVDRs to aircraft and make them 'eject-able' in the event of a crash' so that they are not buried along with the other recorders.
Read about the SAFE ACT and the proposals involved. Very interesting and well-thought out. Not based on emotional knee-jerk reactions.

Putting SSD's into Digital Recorders are at this stage not an option as SSD's unfortunately develop errors and lose capacity after a certain number of uses.
"each cell in a flash memory bank has a limited number of times it can be written and erased". So for critical systems where accuracy of recording is paramount, the SSD falls out the wagon (at this stage).
With CVR and DFDR's they would have constant use, which would impact their service life.

I also take what "Flyht director Richard Hayden" says with a pinch of salt. I have to keep in mind that he is a director of a company who wants to sell a product to make money. So he is the one who might make millions of profit from providing this service. It would cost airlines millions yearly to have data streamed via Satellites. Again, that cost would have to be recouped by increasing airfares. With ever increasing costs, there might come a time where it would not be economically viable for the regular person to take a plane trip. That would be you and me. Only the rich would then be able to afford airfares.

Also remember that EVERY piece of electrical equipment in an aircraft MUST have an isolator (circuit breaker). You simply CANNOT have a circuit which is not breakable in the event that it causes a short circuit or potential fire. That is the reason why they were put in planes in the first place as people lost their lives because they couldn't isolate a problematic circuit.

With the above in mind then, there would be NO way then to prevent someone with the required technical operational knowledge (such as a trained pilot) to prevent them for switching off any monitoring electrical equipment.

Implementing the SAFE ACT would at least make the 2nd set of CVDR ejectable which would float on the surface of the water and send out an ELT beacon. That way something like MH370 could be found sooner. That is the way to go. The CVR, DFDR or CVDR must stay!
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenevh View Post
I do not believe that the (D)CVR or DFDR should become a thing of the past.
There is still a huge need for them. ACARS/AFIRS can only help up to a point. It is impossible to live stream each and every flights Cockpit Conversations and Flight data 24/7.
We simply don't have the capacity to handle all that additional traffic over current transmission links.

And where are you basing this impossible task on? This is going on now with our current technology infrastructure. Talk to the folks at the NSA about information capacity handling.

Can you also imagine the cost if each airline needs to put in place a secure data centre just to store those thousands of hours of conversations and flight data? Again, the only thing that will be stored is when an emergency arises and the data stream is triggered to start transmitting. If the flight goes smoothly, then no need to store that data/information.

No, a central goverment controlled storage facility would not to down well with the world's airlines. America does not yet own the world. Gotta agree with you on that!

As with everything in Aviation, there are a Cost-Benefit analysis to be done.
A common objection to this is "What price can one put on the life of a human being". Unfortunately that is an utopian view and a red-herring. How many lives would have been saved with Silk Air or Egypt Air or if this turns out to really be an intentional event?

Unfortunately in the greater scheme of things human lives means less than you would think. I would argue that my life is very important to me and my immediate family and friends, but the wider the circle becomes, the less your life has value to strangers. How many people lose sleep over the thousands of people who starve to death or die in motor vehicle accidents daily. With about 7 billion humans on the planet, the life of a single person is debatable. Get to grips with it. You are not worth as much to others as you think you are. Your name might be mentioned as part of a list of thousands of names in the event of a mass tragedy, but the rest of the world will soon forget about the individual. The total number of lives lost is what would be recorded in history.

So what the insurance companies do is put a value to a human life (based on what the courts would value a life as - more if it is a US based court, less if another country's court dealt with the matter).
Then they do a calculation of how often an accident/incident like MH370 would occur in the next decade (or service life of an aircraft type) with total loss of life (or even with a calculated numbers of lives lost in some accidents which might be survivable).

The next question is how much would it cost to fix the potential problem.
From these facts it is a simple calculation to see if the cost to fix a problem is more than the potential payouts of lives lost.
And my friends that is pure Capitalism at work for you. If you want a capitalist society then those are the facts you need to live with. Fixing things cost money which impacts profits. The almighty dollar has the final say.

I agree that the bean counters at the airlines have "number crunched" on what this technology (AFIRS) will cost and ROI; but I do believe that after MAS 370 almost every single person in the civilized world (and their grandparents) has heard about this mysterious aviation incident, and the FAA, NTSB and other aviation groups are seriously now going to give AFIRS a second look.


Back to MH370.
It it can be established that it was Pilot Suicide, then this is so far a once-off occurrence where the plane went missing for so long. No technology would prevent an intentional crashing of a plane. So don't think that any number of recorders of longer lasting pingers would actually help save lives. It might only help with finding the wreckage.

A proposal was made for adding a second set of CVDRs to aircraft and make them 'eject-able' in the event of a crash' so that they are not buried along with the other recorders.

Read about the SAFE ACT and the proposals involved. Very interesting and well-thought out. Not based on emotional knee-jerk reactions.

Putting SSD's into Digital Recorders are at this stage not an option as SSD's unfortunately develop errors and lose capacity after a certain number of uses.
"each cell in a flash memory bank has a limited number of times it can be written and erased". So for critical systems where accuracy of recording is paramount, the SSD falls out the wagon (at this stage).
With CVR and DFDR's they would have constant use, which would impact their service life.

I also take what "Flyht director Richard Hayden" says with a pinch of salt. I have to keep in mind that he is a director of a company who wants to sell a product to make money. So he is the one who might make millions of profit from providing this service. It would cost airlines millions yearly to have data streamed via Satellites. I have no problem with Richard Hayden and his canuck company making money with their advanced technology, that's called being rewarded in business when you can introduce a product to the aviation industry that will do some good for everyone.

Again, that cost would have to be recouped by increasing airfares. With ever increasing costs, there might come a time where it would not be economically viable for the regular person to take a plane trip. That would be you and me. Only the rich would then be able to afford airfares.

Also remember that EVERY piece of electrical equipment in an aircraft MUST have an isolator (circuit breaker). You simply CANNOT have a circuit which is not breakable in the event that it causes a short circuit or potential fire. That is the reason why they were put in planes in the first place as people lost their lives because they couldn't isolate a problematic circuit.

With the above in mind then, there would be NO way then to prevent someone with the required technical operational knowledge (such as a trained pilot) to prevent them for switching off any monitoring electrical equipment.

Implementing the SAFE ACT would at least make the 2nd set of CVDR ejectable which would float on the surface of the water and send out an ELT beacon. That way something like MH370 could be found sooner. That is the way to go. The CVR, DFDR or CVDR must stay!
I respect your thoughts on this matter, because that's the public forums main purpose.

In addition, the FDR is a very fallible device and that it's really a 'crap shoot' on how reliable it can help during air crash investigations. It can be damaged beyond recognition (many crashes have occured that the FDR was not going to help, due to it being totally obliterated or it can't be found/retrieved).

Here's a list where 17 FDRs were never found/recovered:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ight_recorders

It can be tampered with = TANS Peru Flight 204 (one of the local village folk(s), took the FDR home with him when he was looting the crash site. He only returned the FDR when a $500 reward was offered for it's return to officials. The crash investigators thought they had caught a break with the return of the FDR. However, when they opened it up and to their shock and disappointment ; the guy had removed the essential components of the FDR = the FDR was now a worthless metal case shell!!! I know this sounds very unusual and rare, but if it happened once = it can definitely happen again!

So as you can see, with the 'emergency' AFIRS data streaming = it is fail safe, and the data will not be tampered with by anybody! Let's get with the modern/current technology at hand; and throw out that VCR technology from a bygone era.

Cheers! T7

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

I'm all for CCTV cameras installed in the flight deck and passenger cabins of all a/c. If they can have them on buses and trains i.e. public transport then why not planes?
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

FLYHT Receives ATR-42/72 Certification from Brazilian Authorities!

Excellent news!

http://www.marke****ch.com/story/fly...k=MW_news_stmp

Kudos to the country of Brazil for taking on this new aviation initiative!

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Old 03-29-2014, 06:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Another interesting article 'Beyond the Black Box'

Beyond the Black Box - IEEE Spectrum

Cheers! T7
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

BBC News article: Why Black Boxes can't always provide the answers (MAS 370):

BBC News - Malaysia plane: Why black boxes can't always provide the answers

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Old 03-29-2014, 11:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

I also want to add that the 'AFIRS' technology would only really be applicable to airlines that fly over the oceans (long haul flights); due to this type of flight path being very difficult to position where the crash may have occurred over open water. Unfortunately, when a crash happens over land = we'll know where it eventually crashed, based on all physical land resources that are available to search teams. No need to install on your planes that are doing domestic or short flight routes = cut down $$ costs.


FLYHT statement pertaining to MAS 370:

FLYHT’s statement goes on to maintain were MH370 so equipped with "AFIRS", “We would know where the aircraft was when it last had electrical power.” Moreover, the company contends, “We would know the behavior of the aircraft at all times leading up that point.” That includes its altitude, airspeed, heading, engine state and such.

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Old 03-30-2014, 12:30 AM   #11
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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I'm all for CCTV cameras installed in the flight deck and passenger cabins of all a/c. If they can have them on buses and trains i.e. public transport then why not planes?
I personally think it would be a simple and practical solution - but surely a proposal such as this would be met with resistance from the ALPA (Airline Pilot's Association) ... by my estimation. It would be the analogous of "Big Brother" watching over their every move and encroaching on their freedom of speech.

Presumably a suggestion as pragmatic and logical as this has already been proposed, but possibly met with contentious objection by the majority of the Union members. Feasibility isn't the issue here but the issue of, in layman's terms, invasion of privacy. Unless there was an application of the CCTV that would not violate such privacy concerns, then perhaps there might be a possibility - but otherwise it would seem to be one of those "no brainer" ideas that "won't fly" without some kind of ruling by a higher authority, such as the FAA.

Just my 2 cents worth, but I would have to agree it's time for technology to find a place in the cockpit, but it's gonna take some serious negotiation by the parties concerned to see this ever become a reality.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:09 AM   #12
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This almost reminds me of the FAA a few years back that required 'long haul flights' over open water would need 4 engines to operate those flight routes.

Maybe the FAA can step up to the plate and implement law that 'AFIRS' must be installed on all planes that will be flying for medium to long distances over open water.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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This almost reminds me of the FAA a few years back that required 'long haul flights' over open water would need 4 engines to operate those flight routes.

Maybe the FAA can step up to the plate and implement law that 'AFIRS' must be installed on all planes that will be flying for medium to long distances over open water.
AFIRS seems the "way of the future" but at approximately $100K per install, it's not going to be a popular option for airlines. Then again I can see this price point being reduced if other competitors enter this market segment and make the barrier to entry less unattractive.

Statistically speaking airline travel is SO inherently safe that no matter what the price may be for AFIRS ... even if it was $50K per plane, would still seem prohibitively expensive vs the overall safety record of airline travel. Definitely a TOUGH call!

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Old 03-30-2014, 05:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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AFIRS seems the "way of the future" but at approximately $100K per install, it's not going to be a popular option for airlines. Then again I can see this price point being reduced if other competitors enter this market segment and make the barrier to entry less unattractive.

Statistically speaking airline travel is SO inherently safe that no matter what the price may be for AFIRS ... even if it was $50K per plane, would still seem prohibitively expensive vs the overall safety record of airline travel. Definitely a TOUGH call!
Maybe Apple can make an iBox for aircraft.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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I personally think it would be a simple and practical solution - but surely a proposal such as this would be met with resistance from the ALPA (Airline Pilot's Association) ... by my estimation. It would be the analogous of "Big Brother" watching over their every move and encroaching on their freedom of speech.

Presumably a suggestion as pragmatic and logical as this has already been proposed, but possibly met with contentious objection by the majority of the Union members. Feasibility isn't the issue here but the issue of, in layman's terms, invasion of privacy. Unless there was an application of the CCTV that would not violate such privacy concerns, then perhaps there might be a possibility - but otherwise it would seem to be one of those "no brainer" ideas that "won't fly" without some kind of ruling by a higher authority, such as the FAA.

Just my 2 cents worth, but I would have to agree it's time for technology to find a place in the cockpit, but it's gonna take some serious negotiation by the parties concerned to see this ever become a reality.
The CCTV would operate just like the FDR and all video of the footage would be erased once the flight landed uneventfully. It would only be analyzed if some untoward event took place on the flight and not otherwise. Besides what privacy concerns should a cockpit crew have? They should be in their seats flying the plane and nothing else.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:21 PM   #16
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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The CCTV would operate just like the FDR and all video of the footage would be erased once the flight landed uneventfully. It would only be analyzed if some untoward event took place on the flight and not otherwise. Besides what privacy concerns should a cockpit crew have? They should be in their seats flying the plane and nothing else.
Your implementation makes sense ... if it's just for the last segments of an actual "incident", then that could be very helpful ... still I'm sure there would be some pilots who feel that such a preoccupation isn't necessary. But that's for the airline execs, the FAA, the NTSB and the ALPA to discuss. The technology surely would come in handy though.

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Old 03-30-2014, 06:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

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I'm all for CCTV cameras installed in the flight deck and passenger cabins of all a/c. If they can have them on buses and trains i.e. public transport then why not planes?

No WAY in the cabin. As for the real time tech, it wouldn't be feasible if there wasn't any way to connect. The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' need to stay as a backup; no question about it.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:29 PM   #18
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No WAY in the cabin. As for the real time tech, it wouldn't be feasible if there wasn't any way to connect. The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' need to stay as a backup; no question about it.
I think it could be handy in the event of a terrorist hijacking, et al. Or even in the case of MH370, what if the video showed the cabin becoming depressurized and creating a hypoxic environment, thus killing off all the passengers? Or if there was a fire in the cargo hold, this too would also be viewable by ground monitoring systems. This would provide a significant amount of information on what happened to the plane. Without it, everyone's just guessing and wondering, without any factual audio/visual evidence.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:46 PM   #19
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I think it could be handy in the event of a terrorist hijacking, et al. Or even in the case of MH370, what if the video showed the cabin becoming depressurized and creating a hypoxic environment, thus killing off all the passengers? Or if there was a fire in the cargo hold, this too would also be viewable by ground monitoring systems. This would provide a significant amount of information on what happened to the plane. Without it, everyone's just guessing and wondering, without any factual audio/visual evidence.

that is what the flt attendants are for, they have their own oxygen
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:19 PM   #20
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Can we all now agree that MAS 370's 'black box' batteries are now DEAD? Meaning, the 'black box' has no tangible use anymore to the search parties for locating the fuselage. If this aviation event/mystery does not change anything in the months ahead on how we 'track' distressed airplanes in the future, then all that has transpired over the past 2 months for MAS 370 has been a wasted effort for all the countries involved in trying to locate this T7. AF 447 was the 'wake-up' call for the aviation industry and MAS 370 must now be the incident that triggers much needed changes. So that another AF 447/MAS 370 event (searching for a down plane in open/deep waters) can never occur again by utilizing modern technology that we all use today. T7

Last edited by T7_4ever; 04-18-2014 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:40 PM   #21
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Its no long even coming in the news. The Korean ferry capsize has replaced it in the top stories. I'm still wondering if this plane is actually where they think it is.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: The 'Black Box' and it's 'ping' has to go away now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjabbasi View Post
Its no long even coming in the news. The Korean ferry capsize has replaced it in the top stories. I'm still wondering if this plane is actually where they think it is.
Yes, the S. Korean ferry has started to gain more air time on CNN. What's with these sea vessel captains as of late? First we had the captain of the Costa Concordia jumping off first! What happened to the captain goes down with the ship (as last man on board)? This Korean captain was the first one off the stricken ferry and was on the only life boat out of 20+ life boats that was able to be deployed! At the same time as he was making his way off the ship, he had his crew making annoucements to the passengers to stay where they were??? Glad some passengers ignored that annoucement and were able to escape on their own. 30 minutes had passed since that annoucement when the ship started to tilt and sink!! This guy (so called captain) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
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