· Deployable voice and data recovery devices could eventually be offered for the entire range of Airbus commercial aircraft;
· Offering greatly improved location and redundancy for data recovery.
Airbus is to implement new fixed and deployable flight recorders for Airbus’ airliner programmes, in collaboration with L3 Technologies. The new devices will come in two versions: a fixed crash-protected Cockpit Voice and Data Recorder (CVDR), capable of recording up to 25 hours of voice and flight data on a single recorder; and an Automatic Deployable Flight Recorder (ADFR).
This new CVDR will be lighter, more compact, and will provide new capabilities compared with current generation of recorders, including versatile interfaces. The new CVDR answers the EASA and ICAO requirement to extend the duration of voice recording to 25 hours (today the current requirement calls for a duration of two hours of voice recording). Two of these new CVDRs would be fitted on the shorter-range A320 airliners. This will greatly increase the redundancy for both voice and flight data recovery, compared with today’s airliner installations – which comprise just one flight data recorder plus one separate voice recorder.
The other version of the new recording system – the ADFR – is aimed at longer range aircraft, with extended flight time over water or remote areas, such as the Airbus A321LR, A330, A350 XWB and A380. The ADFR will add a new capability to commercial airliners: the ability to be deployed automatically in case of significant structural deformation or water submersion. Designed to float, the crash-protected memory module containing up to 25 hours of recorded cockpit voice and flight data will be equipped with an integrated Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) to help rescue teams to rapidly locate and recover flight recorders.
Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “Airbus, together with L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS, is very pleased to be leading the commercial aircraft industry in implementing into our aircraft new deployable flight data and 25-hour voice recording capability.” He added: “Starting with the very long-range A350 XWB, we look forward to progressively installing these new voice and data recovery devices across our entire product range.”
“L3 is extremely proud to be the partner of choice for Airbus for this new technology innovation enabling rapid recovery of flight recorders and contributing to increased safety in air travel,” said Kris Ganase, President of L3 Aviation Products Sector. “This combined fixed and deployable system is an example of the technology that has made L3 one of the leading providers of flight recorders to airlines and OEMs for several decades.”
“DRS Leonardo is pleased to supply its ADFR technology to L3 and Airbus,” said Martin Munro, Vice President and General Manager for its Canadian manufacturing facility, “The incorporation of a deployable recording system supports recent ICAO requirements to aid in the identification and location of a downed-aircraft while enabling the rapid recovery of flight recorder data.”
The deployable ADFR will be installed in the rear of the fuselage, while a fixed CVDR will be installed near the front of the aircraft – thus greatly increasing the redundancy for both voice and flight data recovery, compared with today’s systems. The ADFR unit together with its mechanical ejection system will be designed and manufactured by DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. (a Leonardo DRS Company) and integrated by L3 in partnership with Airbus cross-programme Engineering.
The new recording systems will be available in 2019 initially on the A350 XWB, with subsequent deployment on all other Airbus aircraft types.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of €67billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.