PlaneInsomniac
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MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:36 pm

Well, I guess the title says it all. AF 447, MH 370, now MH 17. In this age of constant and ubiquitous data connectivity, does it still make any sense that when a plane crashes, days or weeks of speculation ensue until the we can even begin to formulate a hypothesis on what happened - if the plane and the black boxes are ever found and handed over to independent investigators AT ALL?

Real-time transmission of all relevant flight data from all commercial flights is technically possible and vastly overdue, even if it may be expensive (at least initially).

The world should not have to rely on ACARS messages, satellite pings, and the goodwill of rebel militias any longer whenever hundreds of civilians are (presumed) dead.

Will MH 17 expedite long-overdue legislation to make the 1950-era black box finally obsolete?
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garpd
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:50 pm

Simply and succinctly put: Nope!


Although, I do think it might cause some airlines to start data bursting or streaming a limited amount of data. But, none of this would help prevent this sort of incident.

[Edited 2014-07-22 06:02:07]
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bennett123
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:11 pm

Might be mandated for new types, or even those in production.

For legacy types, nope.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:27 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
Real-time transmission of all relevant flight data from all commercial flights is technically possible and vastly overdue, even if it may be expensive (at least initially).

No, simply because any amount of data transmission can be intercepted, overridden, and tampered with.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:32 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):

Well, I guess the title says it all. AF 447, MH 370, now MH 17. In this age of constant and ubiquitous data connectivity, does it still make any sense that when a plane crashes, days or weeks of speculation ensue until the we can even begin to formulate a hypothesis on what happened - if the plane and the black boxes are ever found and handed over to independent investigators AT ALL?

I would like to see a parallel system. But due to costs, it would be limited data (GPS coordinates, altitude, engine thrust, alert codes, and not much else).

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
Real-time transmission of all relevant flight data from all commercial flights is technically possible and vastly overdue, even if it may be expensive (at least initially).

But often the last bit of the flight wouldn't be captured. There is a time delay to transmission. There is corruption and loss of signal. The amount of data in a 'black box' for the last hour of flight is amazing. I've reviewed crash data (as a training exercise and to verify primary findings only) and that much information will not be sent. e.g., pilot commands by seat, the primary engine data vs. airspeed, cabin pressure, and many other factors.


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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:36 pm

Quoting garpd (Reply 1):
Although, I do think it might cause some airlines to start data bursting or streaming a limited amount of data. But, none of this would help prevent this sort of incident.

It won't prevent an accident, but definitely speeds up the initial investigation and may provide a backup copy if it falls into wrong hands.
 
bennett123
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:40 pm

I seem to recall that BA used to download data years ago.

IIRC, it was very useful for identifying intermittent problems.
 
PlaneInsomniac
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:54 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 4):
But often the last bit of the flight wouldn't be captured. There is a time delay to transmission. There is corruption and loss of signal. The amount of data in a 'black box' for the last hour of flight is amazing. I've reviewed crash data (as a training exercise and to verify primary findings only) and that much information will not be sent. e.g., pilot commands by seat, the primary engine data vs. airspeed, cabin pressure, and many other factors.

Time delay and loss of data are two different things. Until a presumed catastrophic event, one can assume the plane would continue to transmit data. I would not expect there to be any sort of significant delay within the plane, from sensor measurement to data transmission. A delay to the receiver, as it is possible in such digital wireless systems, of a few minutes at most is insignificant compared to the delays required for obtaining and analysing black boxes.

The important data which needs to be sent are fairly compact IMHO. The most important parameters (position, altitude, heading, speed, basic engine data, control inputs) are in the multiple-byte-range individually. In a well-designed protocol, these could easily be transmitted continuously even on a narrow-bandwidth channel. In a well designed system employing adequate encryption and authentication methods, attack and manipulation scenarios could also be prevented effectively.

It is maybe worth recalling that they transmitted a live multi-hour TV broadcast from the moon 45 years ago - along with all sorts of telemetry data.
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chieft
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:00 pm

Well, some airlines using ACARS, which also transmits the conditions of various aircraft systems in real-time.
Maintenance issues, abnormal events and faults are also transmitted to the airlines maintenance base along with detailed messages, which are used by airlines for monitoring the equipment health.
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Slcpilot
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:04 pm

It seems I had read newer generation aircraft will still have two boxes, but rather than having a dedicated CVR and FDR, both boxes will contain both sets of data in a flash memory.

Is this correct?

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PlaneInsomniac
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:11 pm

In any case, this IEEE Spectrum article, written after AF 447, seems more and more prophetic to me:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/aviation/beyond-the-black-box
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mildaiv
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:23 pm

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 4):
But due to costs, it would be limited data

People often underestimate what computers are capable of. It's 2014, there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

Quoting garpd (Reply 1):
In a well-designed protocol, these could easily be transmitted continuously even on a narrow-bandwidth channel.

Exactly.

I asume that after MH370 we will see this in some form.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:28 pm

Quoting MildaIV (Reply 11):
there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

In the middle of an ocean, those costs aren't marginal any more. That's the main reason why there will still be more detailed data in the on board recorders than what airlines will transmit in real time.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:55 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Reply 7):
It is maybe worth recalling that they transmitted a live multi-hour TV broadcast from the moon 45 years ago - along with all sorts of telemetry data.

Not to mention that we've got live TV and internet on the aircraft themselves, streaming to multiple devices in the cabin at the same time.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:03 pm

Quoting JimJupiter (Reply 12):
In the middle of an ocean, those costs aren't marginal any more. That's the main reason why there will still be more detailed data in the on board recorders than what airlines will transmit in real time.

By the time that legislation winds it way to actually getting a new regulation on the books tech will have progressed in leaps and bounds. Probably the most critical is the falling prices of satellite launches. And if Space X is successful in recovering their first and second stages then there will be no excuse for anybody not to go real-time data transmit.
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davidho1985
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:24 pm

Airlines willing to offer wifi services to their passangers (although with charge)
but unwilling to make the real time conenction between balck box and the ground lor...
 
hivue
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
AF 447, MH 370, now MH 17.

Why tie up bandwidth for such rare occurrences? If it ain't broke don't fix it. The FDR and CVR were recovered in two of the above instances (sure the separatists got their hands on MH17's, but, since they don't have the skill to correctly operate a Buk SAM system the won't have the skill to effectively tamper with the boxes). Perhaps there is a small subset of parameters that could and should be continually transmitted, but all the data points from the airplane and all the conversation on the flight deck? Knowing the AoA to two decimal places at a particular point in time is unimportant 99.9% of the time even though it may be vital in a crash investigation. Collect it when a crash occurs.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:36 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
Well, I guess the title says it all. AF 447, MH 370, now MH 17. In this age of constant and ubiquitous data connectivity, does it still make any sense that when a plane crashes, days or weeks of speculation ensue until the we can even begin to formulate a hypothesis on what happened - if the plane and the black boxes are ever found and handed over to independent investigators AT ALL?

I agree, but i think there will always be black boxes and always be a search for them. There will always be situations where the plane cannot transmit (electrical, damage to the antenna from whatever happened, etc) that a cockpit voice recorder with its own battery can still document. It would help, though.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:41 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 16):
Why tie up bandwidth

Tieing up bandwidth will not be an issue.
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Flighty
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:50 pm

We could agree that some modest protocol should exist (say one blip per minute) on location, speed and altitude, globally. There may be dangers to it. Including a bunch of other data opens a can of worms. But if we know where the black box is, there is no problem with analysis.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:35 pm

Nothing very useful will come from MH17's black boxes. It's not like we don't know what happened.
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PlaneInsomniac
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:56 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 20):
Nothing very useful will come from MH17's black boxes. It's not like we don't know what happened.

Yeah, well, I agree. If you're not living on Mars, you know exactly what happened based on the ample evidence.

However, it would probably have helped to defuse some of the many outlandish (conspiracy) theories that Putin's state media system is generating (e.g., "news channel" Russia Today's theory that it was a crash caused by Malaysia Airline's "unreliability", etc.) if we had had more real-time data immediately.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:20 pm

Quoting davidho1985 (Reply 15):
Airlines willing to offer wifi services to their passangers (although with charge)
but unwilling to make the real time conenction between balck box and the ground lor...

There's a huge difference between an airliner having a receiver to receive TV signals from a network of satellites whose R+D cost has been spread across billions of subscribers all around the globe, versus a transmitter/receiver used for bi-directional data transfer to a network that would largely have to be funded by the airline industry itself.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:53 pm

Quoting MildaIV (Reply 11):
People often underestimate what computers are capable of. It's 2014, there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

Satellite communication is still very expensive. The last time I used a satellite phone (2012), it was $6.50 per minute. Data was $20 per megabyte.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 18):
Tieing up bandwidth will not be an issue.

Using 1 Mb/sec x 25,000 aircraft in the air is hardly a small amount of bandwidth.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:09 pm

I don't know how easy or feasible it is to add a constant data stream from aircrafts, but let's just make one thing clear. Adding 6.5 USD per minute of flight is a number that must be weighed against the cost of recovery, search and rescue etc. which isn't cheap either.

Also, 1Mbps x 25 000 would be nice and all, but the 2.5k upload speed of an Iriduim phone would suffice for a lot of system data. Don't underestimate completely the current infrastructure and it's just going to get better and perhaps a better plan can be had for airliners that only transmit this data.

It is unlikely that airlines have to pay the consumer rate and besides it is all tax deductible.

http://investor.iridium.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=860816

So yeah, it's a question of cost and perhaps it is not feasible, I don't know - but it is possible. Even today. For 6.5 USD per minute or less.
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Mitico12
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:53 pm

On the subject of black boxes, can someone tell me IF the rebels or whoever was in control of the boxes could have replaced the data with their own to make it seem as if the airplane was behaving the way they wish to portray it?
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:59 pm

Quoting Mitico12 (Reply 25):
IF the rebels or whoever was in control of the boxes could have replaced the data with their own to make it seem as if the airplane was behaving the way they wish to portray it?

As they demonstrated by accidentally shooting down a commercial airliner they are little boys playing with big boy toys so that is highly unlikely.
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D L X
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:01 pm

We have already had this thread.


MH370 - Lessons Learned, Changes In Civil Aviation (by tortugamon Mar 9 2014 in Civil Aviation)
MH370 - Lessons Learned, Changes In Civil Aviation - Part 2 (by LipeGIG Apr 6 2014 in Civil Aviation)

I think you grossly underestimate the amount of bandwidth required, and grossly overestimate the amount of bandwidth available. There's just no real utility in doing this to justify the expense.

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
the goodwill of rebel militias any longer whenever hundreds of civilians are (presumed) dead.

When rebel militias are involved, you know the cause of the crash.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:02 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 24):
Adding 6.5 USD per minute of flight is a number that must be weighed against the cost of recovery, search and rescue etc. which isn't cheap either.

$6.50/min for ALL flights would be significantly more money than SAR costs for the ultra-rare occasions when it's needed.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:09 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 24):
So yeah, it's a question of cost and perhaps it is not feasible, I don't know - but it is possible. Even today. For 6.5 USD per minute or less.

I still think they should do a simpler system. About 1kb per minute. Just really basic codes. If a crash happens, the location will be known within 1 minute of last location. This is mainly to address the "lost" Malaysian and AF widebodies in recent years, but it may aid ATC in sparse areas too.

Actually I would like to ask a question - we know Malaysian does not have global visibility on 777 locations. How about American carriers? Do their system control centers know the wherabouts of the fleet outside of radar coverage? Is the USA entirely covered by radar? Thanks.

[Edited 2014-07-22 12:12:56]
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:17 pm

Quoting MildaIV (Reply 11):
It's 2014, there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

Maybe from your house, but not from an airliner at 35,000ft in the middle of the ocean.

Satellite bandwidth is VERY expensive (one global oil company I know pays around £10k per month per 1Mbps), often has limited availability of bandwidth and coverage can be limited in some regions.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:31 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 3):
No, simply because any amount of data transmission can be intercepted, overridden, and tampered with.

Not with random encryption and data bursts--just ask the NSA. Streaming data from the a/c is the wave of the future.
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:34 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Thread starter):
Real-time transmission of all relevant flight data from all commercial flights is technically possible and vastly overdue, even if it may be expensive (at least initially).

The airlines screamed blood murder over the expenses when they had to install the black boxes.
Eventually there will be a better system-----when the airlines are forced to do something. They are not going to do it on their own and just like with the black-boxes they are going to fight it every step of the way. Just 'sayin.  
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Asturias
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:36 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 28):
$6.50/min for ALL flights would be significantly more money than SAR costs for the ultra-rare occasions when it's needed.

You can assume yourself into self-agreement. And you did.

How about you assume that it isn't 6.50/minute. It's just something some guy said on the interwebs. Assume that it is about 1.79/minute for *consumers* at the *entry* level.

http://www.ehow.com/about_4693327_much-does-satellite-phone-cost.html

How about you assume that the cost is tax deductible. It is.

How about you assume that if the airlines themselves had to pay for SAR a better comm system would be implemented very rapidly. They don't, right now they just lose a plane and go "oops can u help us plz".

Quoting Flighty (Reply 29):
I still think they should do a simpler system. About 1kb per minute. Just really basic codes. If a crash happens, the location will be known within 1 minute of last location. This is mainly to address the "lost" Malaysian and AF widebodies in recent years, but it may aid ATC in sparse areas too.

Sure, I think that's completely feasible.
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planemaker
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:48 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 24):
Don't underestimate completely the current infrastructure and it's just going to get better and perhaps a better plan can be had for airliners that only transmit this data.

Both are indeed getting way better.

Quoting ImperialEagle (Reply 32):
They are not going to do it on their own and just like with the black-boxes they are going to fight it every step of the way.

Airlines always fight anything that adds to costs. If they could, they would do away with tons of regs... like life vests, for an example.
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DTWPurserBoy
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:49 pm

Airlines scream constantly about "unfunded federal mandates." Eventually they comply and figure out a way to pass on the cost.

Buying and maintaining the ORANGE boxes ( I refuse to call them black boxes) is not inconsequential. Installing a remote transmitter somewhere on an aircraft inaccessible during flight is no big deal. LoJack could design it in an afternoon.
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hivue
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:59 pm

Quoting Asturias (Reply 33):
How about you assume that it isn't 6.50/minute.

That's fine with me. You were the one assuming $6.50/min.

Quoting Asturias (Reply 33):
Assume that it is about 1.79/minute for *consumers* at the *entry* level.

OK. And knock that down to $1.00/min for a commercial customer. that's $60.00/hr. There are about 10,000,000 scheduled commercial flights per year in the US alone
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/09/travel/safe-air-travel-2011/
Pick whatever average flight time you want and do the math. SAR operations that cost that much are still going to be quite rare.
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dtw2hyd
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:24 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 36):
OK. And knock that down to $1.00/min for a commercial customer. that's $60.00/hr. There are about 10,000,000 scheduled commercial flights per year in the US alone
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/09/travel/safe-air-travel-2011/
Pick whatever average flight time you want and do the math. SAR operations that cost that much are still going to be quite rare.

US carriers have to do that anyway under NextGen by 2027 (or) they have to hope FAA never completes their part. Airlines estimated to spend $7 Billion for equipment and FAA $45 Billion for infrastructure.
 
gulfstream650
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:41 pm

I don't think that the black boxes will shine any more light upon the downing of this aircraft.

This photo clearly shows the captain's side of the cockpit. Judging by those holes caused by fragmentation of the missile, the pilots most likely died instantly.

These missiles are designed to explode about 70 ft from their target - the fragments then disable the aircraft.

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D L X
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:54 pm

Quoting gulfstream650 (Reply 38):

  

I really don't get why this crash would be one where people would call for a change to black boxes.
 
mandala499
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Quoting MildaIV (Reply 11):
People often underestimate what computers are capable of. It's 2014, there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

Oh God... people think that it's "that easy"...

Quoting Asturias (Reply 24):
Also, 1Mbps x 25 000 would be nice and all, but the 2.5k upload speed of an Iriduim phone would suffice for a lot of system data.

An Iridium phone huh?
Iridium systems for airplanes exist, costs are the main issue here... who's going to pay for the bandwidth.
An airplane using basic flight following flying about 60hrs a month has a nice bill for $1000... that's just for positions every 2 mins... Now, expand the bandwidth along with what you want, and add the shortened intervals, and you'll run into a very nice big bill before you know it.

Anyway...
those wanting gigabits/sec...
Ku/Ka band antennas for aircraft enable about 1 - 30mbps currently, and will soon increase to over 40mbps, some are saying 100mbps...
Costs are about $300k to $1million... depending on who's going to pay for the certification, etc.
Then you have the running costs, which can be $1.50/mb on a global coverage of 1-3mbps, or $10,000 with up to 2gb...
(these prices may not be right, but these were the costs given to me by the market in 2012).
L-band systems like Inmarsat, you can have SBB, a 300k USD antenna gives you about 432kbps, $1million gets you the system with up t 1.6mbps spread across 4 channels. Cost? $5-6 per megabyte. The smaller antennas are nice, cheap, but bandwidth costs are higher... (a $40k antenna will make the bandwidth cost of $9-15 per megabyte).

Quoting Flighty (Reply 29):
If a crash happens, the location will be known within 1 minute of last location.

This kind of thing is already available in the market for airplanes.

Quoting d l x (Reply 39):
I really don't get why this crash would be one where people would call for a change to black boxes.

Me neither. If the aircraft separates into several pieces and the part where the boxes are separate from the rest of the aircraft, the data feed into the blackboxes would stop immediately... the same would happen with the streaming boxes case...
Funny isn't it... they probably simply don't understand and would be willing to pluck any seemingly nice solution out of the air to make them feel good that they're making aviation safety better...   
For some, they'll feel good by implementing safety "improvements" that end up bankrupting the industry... doing that, actually makes safety worse coz there'll be other cost pressures to safety that appear...   
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PlaneInsomniac
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:36 pm

(Double post. Sorry.)

[Edited 2014-07-22 14:38:25]
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:43 pm

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Reply 41):
Compare with a satellite Internet provider, e.g.:
http://www.hughesnet.com/index.cfm?page=Plans-Pricing
They charge $130 per month for 40 GB.

Systems like HughesNet are asymmetrical -- their downloads (satellite to plane) may be fine, but uploads (plane to satellite) will be extremely band limited.

They charge $130 per month to _download_ 40 GB. Not upload.

Quoting PlaneInsomniac (Reply 41):
Moreover, if such a system were mandatory, I would assume significant savings through economies of scale and government support for such a system.

I think you'd be mistaken. If it were mandatory, you'd have to find a way to stuff the tens of thousands of planes-worth of information onto a satellite system that wasn't built to handle that much data. And at $2-5 billion per launch to put additional satellites up there, you've added a very significant expense.

This was all already discussed here.
MH370 - Lessons Learned, Changes In Civil Aviation (by tortugamon Mar 9 2014 in Civil Aviation)
MH370 - Lessons Learned, Changes In Civil Aviation - Part 2 (by LipeGIG Apr 6 2014 in Civil Aviation)
 
wjcandee
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:55 pm

If the airliners don't end up in the ocean, in virtually all cases the current black boxes: (1) survive and (2) are located relatively-quickly. There is virtually no way a single life is ever likely going to be saved as a result of having the black box data made available a week or two earlier than otherwise. (I'm sure I don't have to explain why: current testing and modeling of aircraft design, as well as vetting of procedures as well as the hundreds of thousands of hours of in-service flight on virtually all models before there is a fatal incident, combined with the many reports of issues arising from non-fatal incidents that get blended every day into the operating environment, plus the many months required to analyze the data received and formulate proposed policy or mechanical changes, means that there is not likely to be any measurable safety improvement merely from getting the boxes a little sooner.) Now if the thing goes in the ocean and nobody has location down to 5000 miles in any direction, then yeah, that's going to impose a greater delay. But that issue can be dealt with at an infinitesimal portion of the price of constant real-time CVR and DFDR-type monitoring.

The reality is that the only thing really served by faster delivery of the data is the public's desire to know "Why". I'm sure that the former executives of ValuJet sure wish that their black boxes had been retrieved faster, as the media frenzy surrounding that accident would not have occurred. But from a safety-improvement standpoint, almost nothing new was learned. If it wasn't obvious to the industry that carrying oxygen generators as cargo or comat was a bad idea from the fact a bunch of similarly-allegedly-inactive ones had gone up spectacularly on the Delta cargo ramp a few months earlier, then this didn't add much.

Given that the actual analytic process doesn't depend upon the data being received real-time, I don't see the benefit. And because of the possibility of manipulation or subsequent forgery, I don't see how it would lay to rest questions arising from something as odd as the current matter. If Malasian had said, "here's our tape of the cockpit", the Russians could the next day (or sooner) put out their own version of the recording, where the captain is heard to say something about a Ukranian fighter trailing them followed by exclamations suggesting that that is what had brought them down. If one side is willing to just plain lie, one will never put matters to rest.

Candidly, the photos in the NYT of the aircraft's skin speak far more to what brought it down than anything on the CVR ever could. (Indeed, the Air France wreckage actually told almost the whole story -- it's just that nobody could believe that four "experienced" pilots for a major international carrier could stall a then-perfectly-functioning aircraft and cause it to belly-flop on the ocean after a momentary interference with some of the flight instruments, indeed one that was a known potentiality. In other words, they didn't want to believe what the wreckage was telling them and the CVR was necessary to prove that humans can indeed make horrendous errors.)

[Edited 2014-07-22 14:56:32]

[Edited 2014-07-22 14:57:37]

[Edited 2014-07-22 14:58:54]
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:56 pm

I think it will come eventually, but for a long time the black boxes will still be the primary source. What would make accidents like AF447 and MH370 much easier to deal with is if GPS data were transmitted, if not continually then perhaps every minute, and in a way that the pilot cannot turn it off. I do not think that would be too expensive.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
PlaneInsomniac
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:57 pm

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 40):
Anyway...
those wanting gigabits/sec...

Thanks you very much for the infomation!

Those numbers still do not seem to make the basic idea infeasible to me. Transmitting 50 parameters 2x per second (at 4 bytes per parameter), even without any sort of compression or similar, yields approx. 3.2 kb/s. This corresponds to 1.37 MB per flight hour - approx. $2 per hour according to your figures.

I would assume that prices for antennas and costs per MB would drop sharply if such systems became mandatory, due to competition, economies of scale, and government support.

Bandwidths in the mbps range quoted by you are somewhat overengineered for this purpose, unless you plan to constantly transmit 1000s of parameters 100s of times per second.
Am I cured? Slept 5 hours on last long-haul flight...
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:04 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 35):
Installing a remote transmitter somewhere on an aircraft inaccessible during flight is no big deal. LoJack could design it in an afternoon.

Lojack doesn't work so well when you're seven miles up in the air, thousands of miles away from land and moving at hundreds of miles per hour.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
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Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
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D L X
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:04 pm

What would streaming MH17's black box data have accomplished?
 
Boeing747_600
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:07 pm

Quoting MildaIV (Reply 11):
People often underestimate what computers are capable of. It's 2014, there are no technical limits to send gigabytes per second at marginal cost.

Exactly. The data can be overwritten after every un-eventful flight obviating the need for ridiculously excessive storage. The only thing coming in the way of actual implementation is pig-headed stubbornness.
 
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RE: MH17 - The Last Blow To The Black Box?

Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:14 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 48):
Exactly. The data can be overwritten after every un-eventful flight obviating the need for ridiculously excessive storage.

Storage isn't the problem. Bandwidth is.

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 48):
The only thing coming in the way of actual implementation is pig-headed stubbornness.

Or bandwidth.




Folks, if you really think it's that freakin' easy, why hasn't it been done?

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