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Ejectable, floating 'black box' to be installed on long range Airbus planes

  • Airbus is to fix deployable flight recorders to its planes
  • Recorders will eject from the plane and float on water in the event of a crash into the sea
  • The Automatic Deployable Flight Recorder (AFDR) is developed in conjunction with L3 Technologies and DRS Leonardo
Charles Champion (middle), executive vice president of engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft; Martin Munro (L), Canada vice president at DRS technologies; and Kris Ganase (R), ‎president of aviation products and security at L3 Communications show off a new ejectable flight recorder.
Airbus
Charles Champion (middle), executive vice president of engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft; Martin Munro (L), Canada vice president at DRS technologies; and Kris Ganase (R), ‎president of aviation products and security at L3 Communications show off a new ejectable flight recorder.

The European aerospace giant Airbus is to fix deployable flight recorders to its planes that will eject from the plane and float on water in the event of a crash into the sea.

"The beacon on it will alert emergency services within minutes" said Charles Champion , Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft, at a press conference on Wednesday.

"The new recorder will hold up to 25 hours of recorded voice and data. It is designed to survive the impact of terminal velocity and will float on water," Champion added.

Champion explained that the black box will be fitted in to the tail fins of Airbus planes but no button will be pressed to deploy it.

"The recorder will release itself automatically if submerged in two meters of water or if the planes sensors detect serious structural deformation.

"The structural damage would have to be serious. We want to ensure no deployment on a hard landing or a bird strike," he added.

The Automatic Deployable Flight Recorder (AFDR) is developed in conjunction with L3 Technologies and DRS Leonardo and is to be fitted onto longer range Airbus planes from the A320 series right up to the A380.

A second, fixed, Cockpit Voice and Data Recorder (CVDR) will remain on the front of each airplane.

Airbus said these like the deployable version, would extend the duration of voice and data recordings to 25 hours.

The European firm also confirmed that both recorders will be fitted with integrated Emergency Locator Transmitters, designed to survive for 90 days.

Airliners currently fly with two separate recorders; one for data and one for voice. Until now, voice recorded information is restricted to 2 hours.

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