Europe tables flight recorder, beacon changes

As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today announced new proposals for flight recorders and underwater locating devices which would improve the chances of recovering an aircraft and its flight recorders in the event of an accident.
The new EASA requirements include the extension of the transmission time of underwater locating devices (ULD) fitted on flight recorders from 30 days to 90 days.
EASA also proposes to equip large aeroplanes overflying oceans with a new type of ULD that have longer locating range than the current flight recorders ULDs. Alternatively, aircraft may be equipped with a means to determine the location of an accident within 6NM accuracy. In addition, the minimum recording duration of cockpit voice recorders installed on new large aeroplanes should be increased to 20 hours from two hours today.
Patrick Ky, EASA executive director said: “The tragic flight of Malaysia Airlines MH370 demonstrates that safety can never be taken for granted. The proposed changes are expected to increase safety by facilitating the recovery of information by safety investigation authorities”.
These new requirements are included in an EASA Opinion and, when adopted by the European Commission, will apply to the operation of aeroplanes and helicopters registered in an EASA member state.
UN aviation agency the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has recently established new guidance on underwater locator beacons (ULBs) which will come into force in 2018. Its Flight Recorder Panel is continuing to review better ways of locating crash sites, including deployable flight recorders and the triggered transmission of flight data.
ICAO will next week hold a special meeting of state and industry experts on the global tracking of airline flights. Council president of ICAO Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said ICAO will be using the 12-13 May gathering to try and increase current momentum on deliberations over the specific aircraft and satellite-based capabilities needed to permit global implementation of worldwide flight tracking.
Read More: ICAO convenes flight tracking summit