FAA looks to extend black box recorder limits to 25 hours

The Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) has moved a step closer to requiring that aircraft black boxes record data to record 25 hours of data rather than the current limit of two hours. The action follows the FAA’s Aviation Safety Conference, which brought over 200 safety professionals from the entire aviation industry to McLean, Virginia on March 15, 2023. The summit, which also included Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, was held in response to a string of close calls involving aircraft at American airports in recent months.

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Two hours of black box recording time was not enough, according to Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, who addressed the audience. The chair stated that because to the two-hour time constraint, the cockpit voice recorders from all six serious safety incidents this year were overwritten. Homendy previously stated that “important CVR data continues to be wiped and so unavailable for safety investigations.”

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In a statement on Thursday, March 17,2023, the FAA said it “is committed to addressing the NTSB recommendations.” and “welcome any tools or resources Congress wants to provide to help us do this expeditiously.”

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Chair Homendy responded positively to the news in a tweet, writing: “Welcome news from FAA! […] FAA will now move forward w/25-hour CVRs. That’s a win for safety!” According to Bloomberg, pilot unions would fight any attempt to expand recording times because they reject doing so without introducing more privacy safeguards. “There is no question that aviation is amazingly safe, but vigilance can never take the day off,” said acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen. “We must ask ourselves difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, even when we are confident that the system is sound.”

Source: Crew Room

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