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02 July 2009
02. July 2009 Commercial Aircraft

Airbus launches initiative to reinforce flight data recovery capability


Airbus to involve all stakeholders

Airbus has launched a study for reinforcing flight data recovery, including, but not limited to, extended data transmission for commercial airliners, so that in the event of accidents, critical flight information can still be recovered and released to the investigating authorities.

Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus commented: "Gathering information from accidents is vitally important to further improve the safety of flying. Various technical means for reinforcing flight data recovery and data transmission to ground centres are principally available. We will now study different options for viable commercial solutions, including those where our experience with real-time data transmission from our own test aircraft could support the further development of such solutions."

The study will be conducted by Patrick Gavin, Head of Airbus Engineering, and Charles Champion, Head of Customer Services, and will need to address technological issues as well as data protection and privacy concerns. Airbus will include industrial partners, research institutions, and international airworthiness and investigation authorities in this study.

Note for editors:

1. Airbus does not receive direct information from Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) - the so-called "Black Boxes". The DFDR collects data from aircraft systems, while the CVR records crew conversation and aural warnings. Presently, the only possible means to retrieve information from the DFDR and CVR is to process them on ground with very specific ground tools. DFDR and CVR do not transmit real time information - that responsibility is managed and controlled by the investigation authorities.

2. Retrieving the DFDR and CVR when aircraft are lost continues to be a major challenge for the entire aviation community. Today's existing air-to-ground links for 'Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System' (ACARS) maintenance data transmission do not offer the bandwidth that would be needed for a fully real-time transmission of all the data stored in the DFDR and CVR.

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