Externet

Flight recorders...

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Posted (edited)

Hi.

Would it be much better that flight recorders (black box) spit out their data contents instantly at any and every anomaly via radio to nearby receivers and kept there for evaluation instead of searching, recovering, battling time in a hurry ?

I suppose emergency channel receivers are on all times at airports.

It is century 21 !

Edited by Externet

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I think this is a sound idea, in principle. +1

Especially as train and some buses in the UK do this continuously these days.
And planes are supposed to be in radio contact at all times.

 

The difficulty is that the sequence is often normal contact for part of the journey, then loss of contact, followed by some sort of incident.

So any information available immediately prior to the incident would only be available on the black box recorders.

How would you overcome this?

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Currently, there is a system for relaying aircraft data at regular intervals. ACARS

I think one of the problems is power. It is finite. At least for now, it's more efficient to use limited power to locate the device than to gather the data/voice streams.

Another problem is under water, where carriage of RF signals is poor. This why they use a ping device, which employs sound signals, not radio frequencies.

Ships have been using EPIRB and aircraft have been using  ELT for decades which is a RF signal gathered by satellites, but again due to power constraints is limited to location, not configuration, flight path data or voice communications.

However, I do see the potential for the OP once a global wireless system is developed that operates efficiently from any point on the planet.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, rangerx said:


I think one of the problems is power. It is finite.

How is power that limited in normal flight?

4 minutes ago, rangerx said:

Another problem is under water

How many aircraft fly underwater?

 

Sorry for the nits, it's good to know that such a system is coming one day.

Edited by studiot

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6 minutes ago, rangerx said:

Currently, there is a system for relaying aircraft data at regular intervals. ACARS
 

From  ACARS

Quote

In the wake of the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009, there was discussion about making ACARS an "online-black-box"[10] to reduce the effects of the loss of a flight recorder. However no changes were made to the ACARS system.

So another problem is that it's easier and cheaper to do nothing.

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12 minutes ago, studiot said:

How is power that limited in normal flight?

How many aircraft fly underwater?

 

Sorry for the nits, it's good to know that such a system is coming one day.

My point was with regard to black box technology following crashes.

As for persistent in-flight technology, ACARS is the best we have for now, because the satellite constellation is incomplete. Likewise, ACARS only relays some directional and configuration parameters but not everything, no less voice streams.

I suppose some military aircraft, including Air Force One remain in  contact with terrestrial stations, but undoubtedly at a high cost.

Commercial airliners need to compete and passengers tend to look for bargains rather than premiums.  You get what you pay for.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Externet said:

It is century 21 ! 

Yes.. XXI century.. the all modern airplanes should have Full HD or UHD cameras recording what pilots are doing the all time.

Then videos should be routinely checked, even if there is no crash, to check if pilots are e.g. following procedures from control lists, or ignoring them. Poorly educated and/or unsafely flying pilots would be detected at early stage.

Also there should be external cameras for pilots, showing engines.. Once pilots shutdown good working engine, and continued to flight on damaged engine, which resulted in catastrophe. When they realized their mistake there was not enough altitude and time to restart previously shutdown engine. Damaged engine caused so huge shake of entire airplane that pilots were unable to see control panel (poor design of warning information which engine is working good and which is damaged partially influenced bad decision of the pilots).

Edited by Sensei

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Thanks.

Any loss of electrical power can be dealt with a built-in battery pack energizing the emergency data transmitter, updating data every such seconds, as being obtained/refreshed.

The sequence of normal contact during initial part of flight followed by lack of contact should trigger the emergency transmission dumping all data on backup battery power.  Unsure if sudden catastrophic events would be registered on the recorder either.  Nothing to record if all wiring/components become instantly dismembered.  (collision?)

Not implementing such system smells more as being held by some non-technological reason.   Electronic technology is there already, probably can be implemented by some commands from a key console/programmer somewhere.  A common Whatsup message takes seconds. Cell towers '911' call could have a 'thumb drive' to capture the data, until satellites are completed.   Cell telephony towers are reachable and abundant except over seas, where well, the flight recorder is the backup.  If there is something saved and recovered.

 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Externet said:

Thanks.

Any loss of electrical power can be dealt with a built-in battery pack energizing the emergency data transmitter, updating data every such seconds, as being obtained/refreshed.

The sequence of normal contact during initial part of flight followed by lack of contact should trigger the emergency transmission dumping all data on backup battery power.  Unsure if sudden catastrophic events would be registered on the recorder either.  Nothing to record if all wiring/components become instantly dismembered.  (collision?)

Not implementing such system smells more as being held by some non-technological reason.   Electronic technology is there already, probably can be implemented by some commands from a key console/programmer somewhere.  A common Whatsup message takes seconds. Cell towers '911' call could have a 'thumb drive' to capture the data, until satellites are completed.   Cell telephony towers are reachable and abundant except over seas, where well, the flight recorder is the backup.  If there is something saved and recovered.

 

Perhaps the idea will be more feasible with 5G,coming, and bandwidth being less of a constraint.

Edited by StringJunky

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Interesting discussion in the wake of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes and subsequent groundings over most of the world.
This is bad news for Boeing ( Airbus is popping champagne corks ).

If the problem is traced to their fly-by-wire software control laws, Boeing is in for a huge lawsuit.
The nature of the two crashes seems to point to an unrequested downward pitch shortly after take-off.
All airliners are naturally stable ( as opposed to some unstable military aircraft ), so there should be very little reason to re-write control laws for a modified, or even new, aircraft.
Unless mistakes were made in the coding.

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

The nature of the two crashes seems to point to an unrequested downward pitch shortly after take-off.
All airliners are naturally stable ( as opposed to some unstable military aircraft ), so there should be very little reason to re-write control laws for a modified, or even new, aircraft.
Unless mistakes were made in the coding.

I've been struggling with this one too. Two accidents with similar black box parameters, coupled with several complaints on file raises red flags. Compelling as that is, it's still inconclusive, after all investigations take several months, if not years to eliminate other possibilities.

There are numerous other problems with aircraft that don't cause grounding. Landing gear failure, for example. It occurs a lot, yet they don't ground planes for it. Instead, they developed a workaround procedure. Run away trim, loss of cable or hydraulic surface controls or unidentified metal fatigue in engines also crash a lot of planes in the absence of pilot error. In a stall warning, instead of adding power it's often better to disengage the autopilot and push the nose down to regain speed.

The thing is with the Max 8, the crashes occur shortly after takeoff, when the aircraft has the least amount of energy to to perform alternative maneuvers.

For that reason and in the interest of public safety, it's best to ground the aircraft, whether or not it's the exact known cause.

Edited by rangerx

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