Without getting into the mess of redesigning existing Flight Data Recorders, I have a simple proposal that I think would help in deep water crashes.
I propose that several floating cushion sets be distributed around the plane (tail section, along fuselage, etc.). These FDR floaties would be about the size of a seat cushion, but they'd be wrapped in a water soluble cover. When a plane crashes into the water, if the plane breaks up, then several of the cushions would float to the surface. When the cover dissolves, several folded arms open up making it much bigger exposing a orange-nylon covered mesh with an aluminum sheet embedded. This would be easier than seat cushions to see from satellites and planes, and the aluminum layer would reflect radar and make it easier to find.
This alone would help find water crashes sooner, but if you add a simple USB memory stick in the center, then have data similar to the current FDR's being fed into it, then finding one of the floaties would give quite a bit of information including the final GPS coordinates before the crash.
These devices would be light and cheap. I'd think current planes could be retrofitted very cheaply. The only challenge would be the wiring needed to connect to the main FDR or the nearby data splitter. But just putting a few in the tail section alone would end this madness of having to find FDR's on the seabed to get a better idea of what happened.
Wouldn't this be easy to implement without disturbing current FDR use and development? These would be destroyed in a fiery land crash, but that is not their purpose. This is just so we can find plane crashes in the sea when we don't know precisely where they went down (and to get basic data when the black boxes are too deep to get to immediately). Malaysian flight 370 and Air France Flight 447 would have both been greatly aided if these floaties were in those planes. What do you think?
The first thing that comes to mind to me is that they'd have to be firmly attached enough to not come off in flight, yet somehow detach easily when in the water. They'd also create additional drag, which - especially to commercial air carriers - translates to money lost (additional fuel).
There would also need to be some connection (wired or wireless) to continuously transmit data to them (I'm assuming that you're proposing several of them).
Finally, the whole point of the FDR's housing is that it's rigid enough to withstand explosions and impact, yet the floatation proposal requires that there be some sort of expanding material that'd inflate upon contact (or presumably submersion - consider weather/rain) with water.
General aviation aircraft use ELTs (Emergency Locator Transmitters), which are designed just to notify of the location of a crash incident. They are required in the U.S. for general aviation and commercial aircraft, but unfortunately not for scheduled flights by an air carriers.
I get the impression that the trend is probably towards having more data transmitted real-time during the flight (think Air France stall/crash) of systems monitoring data and location such that location and recovery of more data-intensive logs (voice recorder) would be more efficient.
Without getting into the mess of redesigning existing Flight Data Recorders, I have a simple proposal that I think would help in deep water crashes. I propose that several floating cushion sets be distributed around the plane (tail section, along fuselage, etc.). These FDR floaties would be about the size of a seat cushion, but they'd be wrapped in a water soluble cover. When a plane crashes... would help find water crashes sooner, but if you add a simple USB memory stick in the center, then have data similar to the current FDR's being fed into it, then finding one of the floaties would give
Several such devices can be placed anywhere in the aircraft and can deploy when they float up to the surface and are exposed to sunlight. It would be much easier to find underwater crash sites. I don't think it's too expensive to make. Certainly cheaper than searching with ships and other planes for days (as in the case with MH370 and the Airbus that crashed into the Atlantic ocean).
Why is it that black boxes don't float? From what I gather the answer is: So they will not float away from a water crash site. The ping can be heard underwater with sonar. Finding the ping, finds the site. But why not have two black boxes one that floats and one that stays with the aircraft? That way if a plane is lost at sea, if we find the black box floating, we could use the data to find the other black box and the crash site. Plus the benefits of having a redundancy are enormous.
Voice Recorder "CVR" and Flight Data Recorder "FDR" to determine the chain of events leading up to- or the root cause of an accident. One of the more recent episodes of ACI (Season 12 Ep. 13) was about Air France 447, the worst disaster in French aviation history. That investigation spent two years and $50 million just locating the CVR and FDR which were ultimately found resting 4 kilometers... technology for maintenance data (and I think I recall hearing Boeing does too), I was wondering if either Airbus, Boeing, or the FAA, plan to facilitate or mandate that the CVR and FDR record
Recently I was checking in to a flight and was asked if I'd like a window or aisle seat as usual and choose a window seat. I was then told that there are no more window seats available but I could get an aisle seat without someone sitting next to me and then just take that window seat. The plane was an ATR-72 so the rows were 2+2 seats. I know about weight distribution to the front/back but I couldn't come up for a good reason to do this. What could be the reason for not giving me that apparently free window seat right away?
in the water, the radar could pick it up. They [flight recorders] typically have a radio beacon and so for example our P3 [radar] - if they are flying within a certain range of that - will pick up that radio beacon. We have not yet picked up anything, but that's typically what those black boxes contain." I was under the (potentially incorrect) impression that flight recorders, by nature... Fleet, which is taking part in the search, said he expected the plane's flight recorders to be floating in the water. He said the recorders, also known as "black boxes", are fitted with radio
After answering this question on History.SE, I started to wonder if it would be possible to find out even more detail about the plane now that its serial number is known. I have no idea what kind of flight records the US Army Air Corps kept, however. I know most flight logs today are kept by pilot, but I imagine there would be some way to trace what pilots flew a particular plane. I have no idea if this is possible for USAAC trainer planes in the 1930s. Could I get access to these records? If so, how would I go about it? I'm mostly interested in seeing if I can find out more information
Can an FDR on a Boeing 777 be interfered with or vandalised during flight? If this has happened on MH370 then the black boxes may not yield any data if found.
Do the manufacturers who build airplanes use their own "black boxes" in the planes, or are there companies whose sole purpose is to develop black boxes? For example, in 2010 in the Airblue Flight 202 incident, the black box had to be sent to Germany for data recovery: He stated that the box would be examined by "foreign experts" in Germany or France as Pakistan does not possess the equipment to decode the flight recorders. He also stated that the process of extracting information may take six months to a year. The Pakistani authorities decided to send the CVR and FDR
this to happen? (My guess is it is CG related) And most importantly: If I would have continued this "mushing" flight, would it be possible to have entered a flat spin or a simple "drop out of the sky...When I took delivery of a new Cessna 182T last year, I did a test flight for certification purposes. During the test flight we had to perform a power off stall but that didn't go as planned as it was simply impossible to stall. What happened is this: when the airspeed dropped well below the power off stall speed we simply started to sink slowly with a nose-high attitude at about 35 KIAS