The question on anyones mind, after realizing that the flight recorders took two years and 50 MUSD to find – in this case the ones from the ill-fated Air France AF447 over the South Atlantic – why data is not easier available, has now a chance to be answered. Two high-tech companies will by 2020 be able to offer the airline industry data-transmitting black boxes. That this has not happened before is strange, to say the least. The technology has been available for ages, like for most of everything else. Today ambition and fantasy are the narrow sectors. A lot of advantages can be expected for airline operations, but the major thing is of course for accident investigators to immediately be able to study all data. Had this been around when it should have, The Malaysian MH370 mystery would have been no mystery. Remains to be seen how keen pilots will be to be more openly recorded than before, when the boxes were examined only after a crash. Most likely access to the data will be restricted in a way that satisfies everyone.
US aerospace companies Honeywell and Curtiss-Wright are creating cockpit voice and flight data recorders that will be capable of transmitting aircraft data to ground stations.
The data will stream off the aircraft to satellites and then to Honeywell’s data centers.
Other small news: A Virgin Airlines Boeing 787-9 on route LAX-LHR managed to benefit from a mega-jetstream clocking a record groundspeed of 801 mph or 1289 km/h, cutting almost an hour off the total flight time, (and actually beating the speed of sound over ground without the ”bang”. Did everyone get that?).
Other big news. Airbus is packing up its effort to best the Boeing B747 Queen of the Sky with its Fat Mammy A380, since nobody is buying much anymore. The biggest customer has been Emirates, who has almost half of the approx. 250 produced. In all fairness it must be stated that passengers have loved flying the A380, partly because of spaciousness and smooth silent flights, but possibly also enjoying exquisite service provided by the up-scale airlines who initially bought it.