MH370 leads to new black box regulations

The EASA wants to extend the battery life of black boxes to 90 days
The EASA wants to extend the battery life of black boxes to 90 days

The unsuccessful search for flight MH370 has led European aviation authorities to draw up new rules for the design of black boxes.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Tuesday that it will propose that the battery life of the emergency beacons on flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders is extended from 30 to 90 days, to give search and rescue teams a larger window of opportunity to locate the aircraft.

In addition, it wants to increase the recording time on cockpit voice recorders from two to 20 hours, to ensure vital evidence is not overwritten. Currently the two-hour tape continually records over itself, meaning only the last two hours of cockpit conversations are ever heard. In the case of flight MH370, this is unlikely to reveal what caused the aircraft to go so far off course, even if the recorder can be recovered.

“The proposed changes are expected to increase safety by facilitating the recovery of information by safety investigation authorities,” EASA executive director, Patrick Ky, said in a statement.

These recommendations were initially proposed after the Air France crash in 2009, but their implementation had been delayed.

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