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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:13 am

Airlines' Flight Data Recorders?

Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:32 pm

Is there an extra flight data recorder on commercial aircraft that's used by airlines for their own use? I'm guessing the recorder that's commonly called the black box is never touched except for maintenance.
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2001 7:52 am

RE: Airlines' Flight Data Recorders?

Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:06 pm

Many aircraft have something called a QAR, or Quick Access Recorder which captures performance data from the flight, and can be removed when the aircraft returns to its base for uploading into performance management systems. This can be used to track fuel burn rates, climb performance, engine parameters, etc.

An example of one is here:
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:22 am

RE: Airlines' Flight Data Recorders?

Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:09 pm

There are additional recorders wich save the same mandatory (and possibly sometimes more) data than the FDR for airline internal purposes. For example, on the B737 its called DFDAU (digital flight data aquisition unit) and on the A320 its a FDIMU (flight data interface management unit). Basically, these units collect all the data from different systems save them on the internal installed memory devices (PCMCIA card, disk) and send the mandatory data to the FDR. Additionally the FDR status is controlled by these units.

Big advantage is that you need no special equipment to get hold of the data. On our aircrafts we use PCMCIA cards in the DFDAU and FDIMU to save all the data. In certain time intervals these cards have to be changed for readout. These datas are confidential and have to be sent to the flight safety department in a special sealed box.

Here are some links with some more information:
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RE: Airlines' Flight Data Recorders?

Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:29 pm

In our airline the used PCMCIA cards and tape cassettes (yes there are still QAR cassettes about) are sent to the FDR department. Here every card/tape is downloaded into the computor where the events on the flight are run against a standard flight. Hundreds of parameters are compared from Body angle at lift off, Rate of ascent, In the box at 500ft on approach, AOA at landing, etc etc. If any parameter is outside certain parameters then it is recorded into a data bank. This is monitored by Flight Safety who can see trends developing, like high G force on landing roll at a particular airport and then see why. Really bad excursions are communicated to the pilots union for discussion, but basically the system is nameless. It is a Quality program for operations.
The system also keeps track of Cat3 landings to keep the system certified, amongst other things.
This has been going on since the late 60s.
The tapes are changed every night (because they are not long enough), but the PCMCIA cards about every third night.
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RE: Airlines' Flight Data Recorders?

Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:37 pm

Yes the big brother is watching you.In every once in a while the menagers of the training department make random(sometimes especially on particular pilots) checks of the pilots flying habbits and their complience with the company SOP's.

The advantage of the FDM system is to force the pilots comply with the SOP's and the air regulations.It also a good reminder for the ex-military pilots that they are no longer flying the F- series.
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