White Papers

History and Future of Flight Data Recorder Regulations

June 20, 2018 | BY: Paul Hart, Stephen Willis, Steve Leaper

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Flight Data Recorders (FDR) help accident investigators determine the reasons for accidents and, in turn, enables authorities to recommend changes to help mitigate future incidents. FDRs are themselves subject to regulations to ensure they can deliver the information needed. FDR regulations have evolved over the years from their inception and they continue to evolve today in response to new technologies and unfortunate incidents that highlight areas for improvement in their design or recoverability.


Regulations Coming Soon

In the next few years, there are three principal regulations – one around underwater locator beacons (ULB), another for lengthening Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) duration and one regarding the tracking system discussed earlier (contained within GADSS).

In 2018, new ULB must transmit for 90 days. This is an increase from 30 days and was a direct reaction to how long it took to locate the FDR on the AF 447. Larger airliners will need to retrofit older ULBs, although in time, all aircraft will have 90 day ULBs as 30 day ones are no longer being manufactured.

Similarly, the aircraft tracking recommendations arose from the loss of flight MH370. If such a tracking system was installed, search and rescue teams would have known where to start their search rather than spending some 4 years, at the time of writing, trying to find out what happened.

In the next few years, the regulations being introduced are aimed at more rapidly and reliably locating aircraft and their FDRs

This white paper looks at the history of Flight Data recorders, their regulations and how these regulations are formulated. It also discusses regulations due in the near term and what the future may bring. Download the History and Future of Flight Data Recorder Regulations white paper to learn more about:

  • Flight Data Recorders (FDR)
  • International Civil Standards
  • National Regulations
  • ED-112A
Paul Hart

Author’s Biography

Paul Hart

Chief Technology Officer

Paul Hart joined Curtiss-Wright in 1982 as a graduate engineer and has worked for 18 years in the flight recorder business. Paul also worked for Thales for 2.5 years in helicopter flight management and was responsible for the mission systems group at Cobham Aviation Services for 7 years. In 2011 Paul re-joined Curtiss-Wright as the Director of Avionics Engineering and transitioned to the Avionics CTO.

Author’s Biography

Stephen Willis

Product Marketing Specialist

Stephen Willis works for Curtiss-Wright in the role of Product Marketing Specialist. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering, a Masters in Philosophy for research in mathematical models and their market application for risk assessment and a PG Dip in marketing and management. His current research interests include data acquisition, recording and control systems and their applications in enabling a cost effective route to gathering large amounts of data. In particular, applications of interest include flight test, crash protected recording and structural/ usage monitoring programs. He is the author of several of academic papers and magazine articles.

Author’s Biography

Steve Leaper

Product and Avionics Bids Manager

Steve Leaper works for Curtiss-Wright in the role of product manager for flight recorders and bids manager. He joined Curtiss-Wright in 1986, initially working with tape based voice and flight data recorders. Steve has spent virtually all of his career working with the flight recorder product range, with extensive knowledge of the product range and requirements. Steve has held the position of programme manager and had key account management responsibility for AgustaWestland, BAE Systems, and Goodrich amongst others whilst also representing Curtiss-Wright at international committees such as ARINC and EUROCAE.

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