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Trimeresurus
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Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:11 pm

Is the tech still not there yet? Considering how far we've come with 5G and stuff, it's interesting that we still have to hunt for black boxes under ocean if the unthinkable happens. And considering that we have internet(albeit slow) on newer wide bodies now, and the fact that drones can be remotely piloted in Afghanistan from California. Why is this not possible?
 
CRJockey
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:34 pm

It would be very possible and no reason it can't be done.The question has been answered extensively on this forum. Try to use the search function for further info.

Short version: The amount of data has grown heavily and and bandwith is expensive. Further, CVR data are highly sensitive and personal information, so data security is a serious problem. And finally, its simply not worth it. Airliners crash rarely in very remote areas and even if they do, mostly the FDR/CVR are recovered eventually.
 
Trimeresurus
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:32 am

CRJockey wrote:
It would be very possible and no reason it can't be done.The question has been answered extensively on this forum. Try to use the search function for further info.

Short version: The amount of data has grown heavily and and bandwith is expensive. Further, CVR data are highly sensitive and personal information, so data security is a serious problem. And finally, its simply not worth it. Airliners crash rarely in very remote areas and even if they do, mostly the FDR/CVR are recovered eventually.


Only other post I could find was a thread from 2001 which they said Iridium was going to make black boxes obsolete soon. Apparently not. Also we have the example of MH370, the Indian Air Force Antonov, and even a F-35 going missing in the ocean in recent memory.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:42 am

Streaming one aircraft black box is not a problem. Streaming tens of thousands is.

A more feasible solution is an ejectable black box. But that isn't a simple bit of kit either.

Either way, as CRJockey says, this is largely a non-problem. Large airliners never being found is an astronomically rare occurrence. Not even one event per decade. Modern tracking also makes finding wreckage much easier than even a couple of decades ago.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:27 pm

Trimeresurus wrote:
Is the tech still not there yet? Considering how far we've come with 5G and stuff, it's interesting that we still have to hunt for black boxes under ocean if the unthinkable happens. And considering that we have internet(albeit slow) on newer wide bodies now, and the fact that drones can be remotely piloted in Afghanistan from California. Why is this not possible?


There is now a mandate for aircraft tracking by operators, have a look at ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS).

https://www.icao.int/APAC/Meetings/2017 ... ettrop.pdf

From the 1st of jan 2021 new aircraft will need to be able to be tracked every minute, and that tracking can be activated remotely.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:43 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Streaming one aircraft black box is not a problem. Streaming tens of thousands is.

Worldwide ADS-B coverage is technically possible today, and new constellations like Starlink have more than enough bandwidth for worldwide internet.

https://aireon.com/2020/10/28/aireon-ex ... -services/

The issue is rather that any transmitter can be turned off by either a technical malfunction or a pilot, and the cost of transmitting all that data (especially considering this caveat) is not considered worth it compared to the cost of "losing" an airliner once in 100 years.

Searching for MH370 (2014) cost approx. USD200 million. That money could pay for broadband streaming of all aircraft for a couple of years at best. The last commercial jet that was lost by accident prior to that was an AN-72 in 1997, and prior to that a 727 in 1990 . It's such a rare occurence, it's simply cheaper to search than to stream. :dollarsign: :dollarsign:
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:52 am

mxaxai wrote:
The issue is rather that any transmitter can be turned off by either a technical malfunction or a pilot, and the cost of transmitting all that data (especially considering this caveat) is not considered worth it compared to the cost of "losing" an airliner once in 100 years.


GADSS Includes the ability for ground stations to turn on and track aircraft remotely, the transmitter is independent of aircraft controls snd power source, it’s like an ELT that is attached to an aircraft that can be turned on remotely.

It will have the aircraft position every minute with an aim to get a position on the ground within 6 nm.
 
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seb146
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:58 am

What about a memory farm that tracks every aircraft but only saves data 30 minutes at a time? Every aircraft's location every 30 seconds or so but for only saved for 30 minutes at a time. When that aircraft is landed and no anomalies reported, data is deleted from the ground base?
 
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dennypayne
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:37 am

seb146 wrote:
What about a memory farm that tracks every aircraft but only saves data 30 minutes at a time? Every aircraft's location every 30 seconds or so but for only saved for 30 minutes at a time. When that aircraft is landed and no anomalies reported, data is deleted from the ground base?
Once you've got the data, storing it is exceedingly cheap. That's not the cause of the cost here. Fitting additional equipment to an aircraft is what is frightfully expensive, given the need for testing and certification to ensure it doesn't introduce additional issues.
 
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seb146
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:51 am

dennypayne wrote:
seb146 wrote:
What about a memory farm that tracks every aircraft but only saves data 30 minutes at a time? Every aircraft's location every 30 seconds or so but for only saved for 30 minutes at a time. When that aircraft is landed and no anomalies reported, data is deleted from the ground base?
Once you've got the data, storing it is exceedingly cheap. That's not the cause of the cost here. Fitting additional equipment to an aircraft is what is frightfully expensive, given the need for testing and certification to ensure it doesn't introduce additional issues.

What additional equipment? A piece of metal? A black box broadcasting on one frequency completely different than ATC. The initial cost is irrelevant. Look at the cost of testing seat belts and air bags in cars vs. the years since then.
 
VMCA787
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:37 am

seb146 wrote:
dennypayne wrote:
seb146 wrote:
What about a memory farm that tracks every aircraft but only saves data 30 minutes at a time? Every aircraft's location every 30 seconds or so but for only saved for 30 minutes at a time. When that aircraft is landed and no anomalies reported, data is deleted from the ground base?
Once you've got the data, storing it is exceedingly cheap. That's not the cause of the cost here. Fitting additional equipment to an aircraft is what is frightfully expensive, given the need for testing and certification to ensure it doesn't introduce additional issues.

What additional equipment? A piece of metal? A black box broadcasting on one frequency completely different than ATC. The initial cost is irrelevant. Look at the cost of testing seat belts and air bags in cars vs. the years since then.


The issue of fitting "a piece of metal" is misleading. It is substantially more complex than what you think. First of all, since it was not on the aircraft as originally designed, the additional equipment would have to be flight tested for interference. The installation itself would have to be approved by the aircraft manufacturer and the regulating authority. Then there is the impact on the MMEL. What happens if the device is inop? Can you still go and if so, how long do you have to repair the item. In reality, you open up a can of works and it takes money to resolve that issue. In addition, the issue isn't bandwidth or storage but the cost of getting the data from the aircraft to the storage medium. I would guess you won't see any movement to a system as you describe until the cost of a sat call is what a mobile phone is today. Having just the position, altitude, airspeed and heading really isn't much. For the data to be meaningful you would really need a dump of most of, if not all the data the DFDR collects.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:15 am

VMCA787 wrote:
seb146 wrote:
dennypayne wrote:
Once you've got the data, storing it is exceedingly cheap. That's not the cause of the cost here. Fitting additional equipment to an aircraft is what is frightfully expensive, given the need for testing and certification to ensure it doesn't introduce additional issues.

What additional equipment? A piece of metal? A black box broadcasting on one frequency completely different than ATC. The initial cost is irrelevant. Look at the cost of testing seat belts and air bags in cars vs. the years since then.


The issue of fitting "a piece of metal" is misleading. It is substantially more complex than what you think. First of all, since it was not on the aircraft as originally designed, the additional equipment would have to be flight tested for interference. The installation itself would have to be approved by the aircraft manufacturer and the regulating authority. Then there is the impact on the MMEL. What happens if the device is inop? Can you still go and if so, how long do you have to repair the item. In reality, you open up a can of works and it takes money to resolve that issue. In addition, the issue isn't bandwidth or storage but the cost of getting the data from the aircraft to the storage medium. I would guess you won't see any movement to a system as you describe until the cost of a sat call is what a mobile phone is today. Having just the position, altitude, airspeed and heading really isn't much. For the data to be meaningful you would really need a dump of most of, if not all the data the DFDR collects.


This. Aviation kit is costly because everything needs testing and certification up the wazoo. And for good reason.

Initial cost is not irrelevant. Seat belts and airbags save tens of thousands of lives every year, and they don't potentially interfere with any navigation or communication equipment. That's an excellent return on investment, if you will.

In contrast, being able to find a lost airliner once a decade probably won't even save those on board. If things are so bad you can't even find the aircraft, most likely everyone is dead already. That being said, flight recorders are there to assist in the investigation, in order to make safety improvements based on lessons learned. But even then we are talking one case a decade.

Admittedly, AF447 was an accident where finding the recorders was not a given, and the data contained on the recorders led to dramatic conclusions about aviation safety, which led to procedural and training changes. Of note here is that the recorders were found based on streamed location data, something which is much more robust today.

If you have good location data, finding the aircraft is a matter of time. If you don't as is the case with MH370, things become much more difficult. So the key is to have good location data. Streaming recorder data seems like overkill if you'll find the box anyway.
 
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SAAFNAV
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:18 am

This seems to be an oft repeated discussion here.

Just like security cameras, flight recorders are only useful after the fact. It does not prevent the accident from happening in the first place.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:29 am

zeke wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
The issue is rather that any transmitter can be turned off by either a technical malfunction or a pilot, and the cost of transmitting all that data (especially considering this caveat) is not considered worth it compared to the cost of "losing" an airliner once in 100 years.


GADSS Includes the ability for ground stations to turn on and track aircraft remotely, the transmitter is independent of aircraft controls snd power source, it’s like an ELT that is attached to an aircraft that can be turned on remotely.

It will have the aircraft position every minute with an aim to get a position on the ground within 6 nm.

That's some progress, though the device itself can still malfunction or lose contact to the satellite network. Anything on the outside can easily be hit by lightning or suffer a bird strike, for example. Not a huge issue for normal satcom since that's just a minor inconvenience for the passengers.

Out of curiosity, how exactly does the device work, which satcom providers do they use? The only system that offers 24/7 worldwide coverage right now is Iridium.

When I look up GADSS I mostly find high-level articles that don't go deeper into the technology. Remote control means that the GADSS devices needs a receiver, which adds significant complexity compared to a pure transmitter.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:09 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Out of curiosity, how exactly does the device work, which satcom providers do they use? The only system that offers 24/7 worldwide coverage right now is Iridium.


The devices I have seen on the market are called ELT-DT, they look like normal ELTs that have an inbuilt GPS receiver, they can also receive a remote signal to activate their transmission.

“The Kannad GADSS ELT-DT is a fixed Emergency Locator Transmitter – Distress Tracking type, designed to meet the ICAO GADSS ADT requirement which will be applicable in January 2021. Adaptable to any commercial aircraft, its programmable trigger-in-flight capability detects imminent distress situations and automatically sends a secure 406MHz distress signal including the accurate aircraft position. The operator ground activation service ensures that the aircraft is autonomously tracked and reporting a notification of distress to the relevant authorities.The Return Link Command Service enables an activation from the ground in case of an incertitude about the aircraft status or if attempts to communicate with the flight crew are unsuccessful.Trigger-in-Flight capability – Based on programmable criteria, the Kannad GADSS ELT-DT automatically detects an imminent distress situation (according to flight events) which triggers beacon activation (or deactivation) any time during the flight in all conditions.”

From https://www.aeroexpo.online/prod/mc-mur ... 25994.html
 
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seb146
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:59 pm

When I was active in ham radio, I had only a 2 meter transmitter/receiver. The biggest thrill was standing on top of a hill or mountain and hearing how far that 5 watts could go. I could talk directly from the top of Cabbage Hill east of PDT to YKM, no repeaters. I could also hit Mission Ridge repeater and talk into Seattle. It just seems like there should be a way to do this easily and cheaply with aircraft. Obviously 2 meters is out of the question, but it seems like it could happen. It seems like it would be a good idea especially with flights taking a more southerly route across the Pacific and flights possible for St. Helena.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:25 pm

The C-5A had a deplorable ELT/FDR in the tail. What a nightmare for maintenance and it wasn’t MEL-able, so it had to work. Eventually replaced by conventional ELT and FDR. Tracking might be nice, but real time sending of the entire FDR isn’t necessary.

We used MARS Ham operators occasionally when we couldn’t get thru to the USAF radio sites.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:02 pm

zeke wrote:
The devices I have seen on the market are called ELT-DT, they look like normal ELTs that have an inbuilt GPS receiver, they can also receive a remote signal to activate their transmission.
From https://www.aeroexpo.online/prod/mc-mur ... 25994.html

Interesting, thanks.

After activation, this transmits a beacon, like a regular ELT, at a frequency of 406 MHz, i. e. UHF.

So this appears to not use traditional satcom at all but relies on government-provided SAR services through the Galileo, GPS and Glonass satnav systems. These satellites carry a small UHF receiver.

The return link (which is also used for remote activation) is currently only offered by Galileo (but GPS should, in theory, be able to integrate the technology as well). The return link message that's sent to the aircraft ELT is integrated into the regular Galileo signals at very, very low data rates. https://www.gsa.europa.eu/european-gnss ... eo-service

The only info that's sent by the ELT-DT is its ID, time, position, and activation mechanism* every 50s. The only thing that the ELT can receive is an activation or deactivation command and an acknowledgement that the distress signal has been received. These return link messages only contain 19 bits of content, (+ 60 bits ID + 1 bit parity).

Also note that the ELT-DT is powered by a non-rechargable lithium battery. Only the SAR agency can deactivate it by transmitting a deactivation command via Galileo. It's an extremely simple and robust system, though I guess it's still possible to lose an aircraft if it crashes before activating the ELT-DT, or if the device itself is damaged in-flight (e. g. fire or mechanical damage).

*"activation mechanism" is a very rudimentary 2-bit field:
“00”: manual activation by user
“01”: automatic activation by the beacon
“10”: automatic activation by external means
The full content of the transmitted message is defined in the SPECIFICATION FOR COSPAS-SARSAT 406 MHz DISTRESS BEACONS C/S T.001
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Mon Nov 16, 2020 11:38 pm

seb146 wrote:
When I was active in ham radio, I had only a 2 meter transmitter/receiver. The biggest thrill was standing on top of a hill or mountain and hearing how far that 5 watts could go. I could talk directly from the top of Cabbage Hill east of PDT to YKM, no repeaters. I could also hit Mission Ridge repeater and talk into Seattle. It just seems like there should be a way to do this easily and cheaply with aircraft. Obviously 2 meters is out of the question, but it seems like it could happen. It seems like it would be a good idea especially with flights taking a more southerly route across the Pacific and flights possible for St. Helena.


Contacting stations at very long distances on HF is done routinely in airliners. Modern HF setups in airliners use the fuselage as an antenna so antenna size is not a problem. Getting a clear voice connection on HF can be more of an issue, but datalink gets around that.

Between VHF, HF and SATCOM, transmitting limited amounts of data such as clearances and weather forecasts is a solved problem. However, DFDRs collect a lot of data and the bandwidth to stream it really isn't available.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:35 am

Yes, the old days on the NATS with HF, it would take a good part the each leg just to get the last position report out. Or between Muscat and Mumbai on HF.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:21 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Yes, the old days on the NATS with HF, it would take a good part the each leg just to get the last position report out. Or between Muscat and Mumbai on HF.


Between Muscat and Mumbai is still pretty tedious. ;)
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:42 am

With less expensive satellite systems like SpaceX's Starlink being deployed, and a couple of others. I imagine the cost sums will start to change for live streaming of aircraft telemetry. If not all data then quite possibly a subset. With true worldwide 24/7 coverage it would be able to effectively piggyback on the data connection for passengers. And as mentioned EASA is requiring a level of continual location transmission soon anyways.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:44 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
EASA is requiring a level of continual location transmission soon anyways.

Just to emphasize here, the ELT-DT that was described up-thread does not have continuous transmission.

For all intents and purposes, it's a traditional ELT that has the additional ability to be activated and deactivated by a remote operator. Like a regular ELT, it can also be activated automatically by detecting crash conditions, by aircraft systems or manually by the pilot.

It's an emergency system only, and if an aircraft crashes before the ELT-DT is activated or if it's damaged in-flight, the aircraft can still be lost.

The regular ELT of Egyptair flight 804 was picked up by satellites during the crash, so SAR efforts knew the crash site location with a precision of 5km. It still took them over 3 weeks to find and retrieve the FDR and CVR. AF447 wreckage was spotted within 24h (no ELT signal) and the floating vertical stabilizer was retrieved within a week. It took 4 searches and 2 years to locate the wreckage on the seabed.

ELT-DT is good for cases like MH370 but it might not help cases like the above.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:30 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Just to emphasize here, the ELT-DT that was described up-thread does not have continuous transmission.


That is incorrect, it will behave like a traditional GPS enabled ELT if activated. A GPS enabled ELT sends its actual position. The main point of ELT-DT is that ground stations can activate the transmitter remotely without anyone being able to disable it from the aircraft, nor does it rely on aircraft systems to produce its data. It’s useful for distress or unlawful interference.

ELTs are there to rescue people, that is the primary use, if it takes some time to locate the wreckage that is of little concern, it’s not going anywhere.

Even if there is actual radar positions of the aircraft are available all the way down to surface, it still takes time to locate wreckage underwater, like Lion Air.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:08 pm

zeke wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
Just to emphasize here, the ELT-DT that was described up-thread does not have continuous transmission.


That is incorrect, it will behave like a traditional GPS enabled ELT if activated.

Perhaps I was unclear. It only transmits after activation, the transmitter is silent during an uneventful flight. It does transmit regularly after activation (every 50s from what I've read), until either the battery runs out or someone turns it off. Like a traditional ELT.

zeke wrote:
ELTs are there to rescue people, that is the primary use, if it takes some time to locate the wreckage that is of little concern, it’s not going anywhere.

Even if there is actual radar positions of the aircraft are available all the way down to surface, it still takes time to locate wreckage underwater, like Lion Air.

Yes, that's a good point. The OP asked about continuous streaming of black box data but that's not going to help any crash survivors. The only thing that matters is finding the crew and passengers ASAP.

In any case, you'd still have to locate the wreckage to assess any physical damage. For example in MS804 they tested wreckage and bodies for traces of explosives. Another example is the AF A380 that lost its fan, the aircraft made it to an airport safely but the investigation couldn't conclude until the actual fan debris was retrieved.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 2:26 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Perhaps I was unclear. It only transmits after activation, the transmitter is silent during an uneventful flight. It does transmit regularly after activation (every 50s from what I've read), until either the battery runs out or someone turns it off. Like a traditional ELT.


My understanding is the current mandate is for position to be transmitted and monitored every 15 minutes, the new mandate which was to take effect from January next year was to enable the remote higher time frame activation.
 
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seb146
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:21 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
seb146 wrote:
When I was active in ham radio, I had only a 2 meter transmitter/receiver. The biggest thrill was standing on top of a hill or mountain and hearing how far that 5 watts could go. I could talk directly from the top of Cabbage Hill east of PDT to YKM, no repeaters. I could also hit Mission Ridge repeater and talk into Seattle. It just seems like there should be a way to do this easily and cheaply with aircraft. Obviously 2 meters is out of the question, but it seems like it could happen. It seems like it would be a good idea especially with flights taking a more southerly route across the Pacific and flights possible for St. Helena.


Contacting stations at very long distances on HF is done routinely in airliners. Modern HF setups in airliners use the fuselage as an antenna so antenna size is not a problem. Getting a clear voice connection on HF can be more of an issue, but datalink gets around that.

Between VHF, HF and SATCOM, transmitting limited amounts of data such as clearances and weather forecasts is a solved problem. However, DFDRs collect a lot of data and the bandwidth to stream it really isn't available.


What about limiting the data? Anything useful will be stored on the Black Boxes, so what if only heading, altitude, and exact coordinates are transmitted every 30 seconds being written over every half hour and make that only for flights over water or deserted areas like Siberia or the Amazon or the Kalahari? That information would not be needed flying over southern Canada, the United States, or Europe. I am just trying to understand why this is a hard no.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:10 pm

mxaxai wrote:
ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
EASA is requiring a level of continual location transmission soon anyways.

Just to emphasize here, the ELT-DT that was described up-thread does not have continuous transmission.

For all intents and purposes, it's a traditional ELT that has the additional ability to be activated and deactivated by a remote operator. Like a regular ELT, it can also be activated automatically by detecting crash conditions, by aircraft systems or manually by the pilot.

It's an emergency system only, and if an aircraft crashes before the ELT-DT is activated or if it's damaged in-flight, the aircraft can still be lost.

The regular ELT of Egyptair flight 804 was picked up by satellites during the crash, so SAR efforts knew the crash site location with a precision of 5km. It still took them over 3 weeks to find and retrieve the FDR and CVR. AF447 wreckage was spotted within 24h (no ELT signal) and the floating vertical stabilizer was retrieved within a week. It took 4 searches and 2 years to locate the wreckage on the seabed.

ELT-DT is good for cases like MH370 but it might not help cases like the above.


Cheers.

In that case I think it makes it even more likely we'll see use of LEO sat systems to stream at least a subset of telemetry back home in real time. I'm sure SpaceX would be happy to put together an agreement for an airline or engine manufacturer to do so.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:47 pm

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
In that case I think it makes it even more likely we'll see use of LEO sat systems to stream at least a subset of telemetry back home in real time. I'm sure SpaceX would be happy to put together an agreement for an airline or engine manufacturer to do so.

We already have that, it's called ACARS.

I can't see a business case for the transmission of FDR or CVR data beyond what is done by ACARS (or similar services), so the push would have to come from authorities, like it did for the ELT-DT. We have to separate between streaming data to earn money - e. g. maintenance messages or Youtube videos - and streaming data to help investigate a crash.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:14 am

seb146 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
seb146 wrote:
When I was active in ham radio, I had only a 2 meter transmitter/receiver. The biggest thrill was standing on top of a hill or mountain and hearing how far that 5 watts could go. I could talk directly from the top of Cabbage Hill east of PDT to YKM, no repeaters. I could also hit Mission Ridge repeater and talk into Seattle. It just seems like there should be a way to do this easily and cheaply with aircraft. Obviously 2 meters is out of the question, but it seems like it could happen. It seems like it would be a good idea especially with flights taking a more southerly route across the Pacific and flights possible for St. Helena.


Contacting stations at very long distances on HF is done routinely in airliners. Modern HF setups in airliners use the fuselage as an antenna so antenna size is not a problem. Getting a clear voice connection on HF can be more of an issue, but datalink gets around that.

Between VHF, HF and SATCOM, transmitting limited amounts of data such as clearances and weather forecasts is a solved problem. However, DFDRs collect a lot of data and the bandwidth to stream it really isn't available.


What about limiting the data? Anything useful will be stored on the Black Boxes, so what if only heading, altitude, and exact coordinates are transmitted every 30 seconds being written over every half hour and make that only for flights over water or deserted areas like Siberia or the Amazon or the Kalahari? That information would not be needed flying over southern Canada, the United States, or Europe. I am just trying to understand why this is a hard no.


Automatic transmission of data such as position, altitude, heading and speed has been standard for years in many areas, using ADS-B. You can see it on sites like https://www.flightradar24.com/ . Areas like Northern Canada and much of Australia don't have radar coverage, so they only use ADS-B. Many airlines also transmit data via ACARS for internal use. IIRC maintenance data sent via ACARS was key to finding AF447.

Party due to MH370, the industry is moving towards mandating transmission of such data at reasonably short intervals.

That was my point further upthread when I said that as long as you have positional data, you will find the aircraft. And if you find the aircraft, you will find the recorders. Hence no need to stream the recorders.
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:15 am

Starlionblue wrote:

Automatic transmission of data such as position, altitude, heading and speed has been standard for years in many areas, using ADS-B. You can see it on sites like https://www.flightradar24.com/ . Areas like Northern Canada and much of Australia don't have radar coverage, so they only use ADS-B. Many airlines also transmit data via ACARS for internal use. IIRC maintenance data sent via ACARS was key to finding AF447.

Party due to MH370, the industry is moving towards mandating transmission of such data at reasonably short intervals.


The direction industry is going is space based ADS-B for routine monitoring, when something drops offline they will activate ELT-DT. The HKCAD for example in September implemented Aireon to provide space based ADS-B across the entire FIR and surrounding entry points. The FAA from what I understand have done similar last week.

Operators in turn use the ADS-B data for their flight following services which they are required to do under the ICAO mandate.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:59 am

Starlionblue wrote:
VMCA787 wrote:
seb146 wrote:
What additional equipment? A piece of metal? A black box broadcasting on one frequency completely different than ATC. The initial cost is irrelevant. Look at the cost of testing seat belts and air bags in cars vs. the years since then.


The issue of fitting "a piece of metal" is misleading. It is substantially more complex than what you think. First of all, since it was not on the aircraft as originally designed, the additional equipment would have to be flight tested for interference. The installation itself would have to be approved by the aircraft manufacturer and the regulating authority. Then there is the impact on the MMEL. What happens if the device is inop? Can you still go and if so, how long do you have to repair the item. In reality, you open up a can of works and it takes money to resolve that issue. In addition, the issue isn't bandwidth or storage but the cost of getting the data from the aircraft to the storage medium. I would guess you won't see any movement to a system as you describe until the cost of a sat call is what a mobile phone is today. Having just the position, altitude, airspeed and heading really isn't much. For the data to be meaningful you would really need a dump of most of, if not all the data the DFDR collects.


This. Aviation kit is costly because everything needs testing and certification up the wazoo. And for good reason.

Initial cost is not irrelevant. Seat belts and airbags save tens of thousands of lives every year, and they don't potentially interfere with any navigation or communication equipment. That's an excellent return on investment, if you will.

In contrast, being able to find a lost airliner once a decade probably won't even save those on board. If things are so bad you can't even find the aircraft, most likely everyone is dead already. That being said, flight recorders are there to assist in the investigation, in order to make safety improvements based on lessons learned. But even then we are talking one case a decade.

Admittedly, AF447 was an accident where finding the recorders was not a given, and the data contained on the recorders led to dramatic conclusions about aviation safety, which led to procedural and training changes. Of note here is that the recorders were found based on streamed location data, something which is much more robust today.

If you have good location data, finding the aircraft is a matter of time. If you don't as is the case with MH370, things become much more difficult. So the key is to have good location data. Streaming recorder data seems like overkill if you'll find the box anyway.

Let us build on this.
You must do a maintenance and replacement schedule. Overhaul plan. A supply chain to supply parts as certified. .

The device must survive a crash load.

The weight and electrical consumption costs fuel.

Aircraft valves cost thousands of dollars. A box like this won't be cheap.

Lightsaber
 
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seb146
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:39 am

Starlionblue wrote:
seb146 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

Contacting stations at very long distances on HF is done routinely in airliners. Modern HF setups in airliners use the fuselage as an antenna so antenna size is not a problem. Getting a clear voice connection on HF can be more of an issue, but datalink gets around that.

Between VHF, HF and SATCOM, transmitting limited amounts of data such as clearances and weather forecasts is a solved problem. However, DFDRs collect a lot of data and the bandwidth to stream it really isn't available.


What about limiting the data? Anything useful will be stored on the Black Boxes, so what if only heading, altitude, and exact coordinates are transmitted every 30 seconds being written over every half hour and make that only for flights over water or deserted areas like Siberia or the Amazon or the Kalahari? That information would not be needed flying over southern Canada, the United States, or Europe. I am just trying to understand why this is a hard no.


Automatic transmission of data such as position, altitude, heading and speed has been standard for years in many areas, using ADS-B. You can see it on sites like https://www.flightradar24.com/ . Areas like Northern Canada and much of Australia don't have radar coverage, so they only use ADS-B. Many airlines also transmit data via ACARS for internal use. IIRC maintenance data sent via ACARS was key to finding AF447.

Party due to MH370, the industry is moving towards mandating transmission of such data at reasonably short intervals.

That was my point further upthread when I said that as long as you have positional data, you will find the aircraft. And if you find the aircraft, you will find the recorders. Hence no need to stream the recorders.


I look at Flightradar24 and see many flights approximate locations over the Pacific. I agree about not streaming every bit of information in the recorders. But if a flight is so far off course like MH370 and all avilable information is using "it might be here because of the last known trajectory" that should be changed. A transmission setting that can not be shut off by crew.

MH370 is an extremely rare event. But, if a ping showing "aircraft position is X, heading is Y' and aircraft has not pinged for two minutes would help very much.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:05 am

seb146 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
seb146 wrote:

What about limiting the data? Anything useful will be stored on the Black Boxes, so what if only heading, altitude, and exact coordinates are transmitted every 30 seconds being written over every half hour and make that only for flights over water or deserted areas like Siberia or the Amazon or the Kalahari? That information would not be needed flying over southern Canada, the United States, or Europe. I am just trying to understand why this is a hard no.


Automatic transmission of data such as position, altitude, heading and speed has been standard for years in many areas, using ADS-B. You can see it on sites like https://www.flightradar24.com/ . Areas like Northern Canada and much of Australia don't have radar coverage, so they only use ADS-B. Many airlines also transmit data via ACARS for internal use. IIRC maintenance data sent via ACARS was key to finding AF447.

Party due to MH370, the industry is moving towards mandating transmission of such data at reasonably short intervals.

That was my point further upthread when I said that as long as you have positional data, you will find the aircraft. And if you find the aircraft, you will find the recorders. Hence no need to stream the recorders.


I look at Flightradar24 and see many flights approximate locations over the Pacific. I agree about not streaming every bit of information in the recorders. But if a flight is so far off course like MH370 and all avilable information is using "it might be here because of the last known trajectory" that should be changed. A transmission setting that can not be shut off by crew.

MH370 is an extremely rare event. But, if a ping showing "aircraft position is X, heading is Y' and aircraft has not pinged for two minutes would help very much.


Those things you are proposing are being implemented. See Zeke's post above, among others. viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1454099#p22512235
 
M564038
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:50 pm

Those figures are absurd.
All comercial airliners combined could be covered by ballpark 2-3Gbs. Yes. Sattelite is expensive but not THAT expensive. The passengers is already in the back sharing a lot more than that. Encrypted streams aren't exactly an uknown either.

mxaxai wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Streaming one aircraft black box is not a problem. Streaming tens of thousands is.

Worldwide ADS-B coverage is technically possible today, and new constellations like Starlink have more than enough bandwidth for worldwide internet.

https://aireon.com/2020/10/28/aireon-ex ... -services/

The issue is rather that any transmitter can be turned off by either a technical malfunction or a pilot, and the cost of transmitting all that data (especially considering this caveat) is not considered worth it compared to the cost of "losing" an airliner once in 100 years.

Searching for MH370 (2014) cost approx. USD200 million. That money could pay for broadband streaming of all aircraft for a couple of years at best. The last commercial jet that was lost by accident prior to that was an AN-72 in 1997, and prior to that a 727 in 1990 . It's such a rare occurence, it's simply cheaper to search than to stream. :dollarsign: :dollarsign:
 
mxaxai
Posts: 2716
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:54 pm

M564038 wrote:
Those figures are absurd.
All comercial airliners combined could be covered by ballpark 2-3Gbs. Yes. Sattelite is expensive but not THAT expensive. The passengers is already in the back sharing a lot more than that. Encrypted streams aren't exactly an uknown either.

(A) The passengers' data is paid for by the passengers. ACARS data is paid for by airlines' maintenance and dispatch departments. ADS-B data is paid for by the airlines through ATC fees. Who pays for black box streams?

(B) Modern FDRs and CVRs have a couple GB of storage capacity, depending on the model. That's sufficient for a couple of hours of recorded data and voice. So streaming just the black box data, you'd be looking at transmitting several GB, per day, per aircraft. There isn't much competition for worldwide broadband services either, so you can't apply the prices you might find in other places.

If it made sense financially, insurance companies - who eventually pay for the lost aircraft, for the search and for the relatives' compensation - would be the first to introduce such services. Guess why they haven't?
 
M564038
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:51 pm

First of all, forget about the FDR, the amount of data needed is «nothing». The CVR is the thing generating data, and for local storage in the CVR-box, uncompressed PCM is the only logical answer.
A couple of hours of that, times Captain, FO and ambience channels gives you a couple of gigabytes. Yes, that math is correct.

But you compress the data to about the same quality as mobile spotify or main channels on DAB-radio.
That is a 30 times lower data amount.
If you allow for a millisecond of delay before transmission, you could even allow for some local noise reduction of the full quality PCM-audio before transmission to where the clarity and details of the 30 times compressed signals will easily beat what you could do with noisy uncompressed PCM 10 years ago.

Multiply that with 10,000 airliners using it at the same time and double it for transmission-headroom, and you reach my numbers.


mxaxai wrote:
M564038 wrote:
Those figures are absurd.
All comercial airliners combined could be covered by ballpark 2-3Gbs. Yes. Sattelite is expensive but not THAT expensive. The passengers is already in the back sharing a lot more than that. Encrypted streams aren't exactly an uknown either.

(A) The passengers' data is paid for by the passengers. ACARS data is paid for by airlines' maintenance and dispatch departments. ADS-B data is paid for by the airlines through ATC fees. Who pays for black box streams?

(B) Modern FDRs and CVRs have a couple GB of storage capacity, depending on the model. That's sufficient for a couple of hours of recorded data and voice. So streaming just the black box data, you'd be looking at transmitting several GB, per day, per aircraft. There isn't much competition for worldwide broadband services either, so you can't apply the prices you might find in other places.

If it made sense financially, insurance companies - who eventually pay for the lost aircraft, for the search and for the relatives' compensation - would be the first to introduce such services. Guess why they haven't?
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:12 am

There’s simply no need for it, as determined by the operators, the insurers, the regulators and the builders. Another A.net hamster wheel.

The last bills I saw, a while ago, were $5 per megabyte. We had two heroes update their iPad Jepp to the combined tune of $5,000
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:58 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
There’s simply no need for it, as determined by the operators, the insurers, the regulators and the builders. Another A.net hamster wheel.

The last bills I saw, a while ago, were $5 per megabyte. We had two heroes update their iPad Jepp to the combined tune of $5,000


Hamster wheel indeed. Or, dare I say conveyor belt? ;)
 
M564038
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:42 am

And yet, the people in the back, a lot of times for free, streams away, Gigabyte after gigabyte.
Pricing is way down compared to what it was. Sounds like someone hasn't negotiated their contract in a while!

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
There’s simply no need for it, as determined by the operators, the insurers, the regulators and the builders. Another A.net hamster wheel.

The last bills I saw, a while ago, were $5 per megabyte. We had two heroes update their iPad Jepp to the combined tune of $5,000
 
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zeke
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:35 am

M564038 wrote:
And yet, the people in the back, a lot of times for free, streams away, Gigabyte after gigabyte.
Pricing is way down compared to what it was. Sounds like someone hasn't negotiated their contract in a while!


Depends on how it’s being streamed, over the US the data is not going vis satellite it if going to ground stations.

There exists worldwide space based ADS-B coverage which can get all the ADS-B data anywhere. All that needs to happen is individual countries need to sign up their FIR to get the data, that will be paid by the airlines indirectly by airways charges.

ADS-B transmits the aircraft position, altitude, speed, the settings in the FCU, as the active portion of the the FMC.

Most if not all large aircraft that are now flying overwater or remote areas would be ADS-B equipped, it would be minimal cost for industry.

That combined with ELT-DT which would allow remote activation of the ELT by ground stations permits tracking that cannot be turned off from the aircraft.
 
M564038
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 11:12 am

It would be satelite, and it would be a 200kbs stream, and it would be perfectly doable for a very small cost.
It would have solved AF447 years before, and MH would also have been solved.


zeke wrote:
M564038 wrote:
And yet, the people in the back, a lot of times for free, streams away, Gigabyte after gigabyte.
Pricing is way down compared to what it was. Sounds like someone hasn't negotiated their contract in a while!


Depends on how it’s being streamed, over the US the data is not going vis satellite it if going to ground stations.

There exists worldwide space based ADS-B coverage which can get all the ADS-B data anywhere. All that needs to happen is individual countries need to sign up their FIR to get the data, that will be paid by the airlines indirectly by airways charges.

ADS-B transmits the aircraft position, altitude, speed, the settings in the FCU, as the active portion of the the FMC.

Most if not all large aircraft that are now flying overwater or remote areas would be ADS-B equipped, it would be minimal cost for industry.

That combined with ELT-DT which would allow remote activation of the ELT by ground stations permits tracking that cannot be turned off from the aircraft.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:47 pm

M564038 wrote:
And yet, the people in the back, a lot of times for free, streams away, Gigabyte after gigabyte.
Pricing is way down compared to what it was.

There's no free lunch, someone still pays.

Cheap & fast services that may be available over the CONUS definitely don't serve remote places in the Indian Ocean or South Pacific. Why should they, few people live there and commercial aviation alone doesn't support multiple competing high speed satellite services.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:35 pm

i remember the days when high speed data in the middle of the indian ocean over inmarsat meant 9600bps. You'd bring up your internet explorer or mozilla browser type in a url, then go get coffee. when you came back a few minutes later, the page might be loaded... but it was enough to do retail therapy and contributed to a significant drop in letter mail and a significant increase in packages during mail call after we spent a few hours finding and locating the mail buoy...

i guess 20 years later it's a little better up to 432kbps...
 
stratosphere
Posts: 2011
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:38 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
There’s simply no need for it, as determined by the operators, the insurers, the regulators and the builders. Another A.net hamster wheel.

The last bills I saw, a while ago, were $5 per megabyte. We had two heroes update their iPad Jepp to the combined tune of $5,000


^^^^^ This....... There is no need for it.. The things the industry and NTSB have determined were of benefit like GPWS and TCAS and cargo fire suppression we have because of accidents in the past. There are far more "incidents" than there are accidents and these are already covered by pulling the FDR and CVR after the fact. Having that information in real time does not justify the cost. Not to mention newer generation aircraft already transmit real time information. When I was a maintenance controller we used my Boeing fleet and I could see issues a 777 was having before the crew did and I would send them an ACARS and let them know what was happening. Not to mention like was said in the case of CVR data it involves personal info and just like having cameras in the cockpit will not be well received by pilot unions.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:29 pm

It was data linked maintenance information that were a big part of the AF 447 investigation. While not dispositive, the data indicated something seriously wrong early on.
 
M564038
Posts: 656
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:49 pm

Exactly. With the current development in satelite networks I will be surprised if we don’t see thia phasing in within the next 10 years.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:07 pm

Why? It’s just not needed. The maintenance data link is a fraction of the bandwidth, has a purpose in that it enables better dispatch reliability. Real time FDR, CVR does nothing that the recorders aren’t already doing. FOQA data downloads on arrival wirelessly, plenty good enough.
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
Posts: 1140
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Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:12 pm

For anyone who hasn't been keeping up with the satellite internet stuff. There are at least 3 companies trying to do high speed low latency satellite internet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OneWeb (This lot have gone bankrupt once which is hardly uncommon in satcom stuff :P )
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink (The current front runner with beta users already)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuiper_Systems (Backed by Amazon)

So I think it's fair to say the days of $5 per MB are coming to a rapid close. Starlink itself is already saying after the $500 USD hardware cost that monthly service will by $50 USD for uncapped (probably shaped when needed)
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 8083
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Why can't flight data and CVR record be sent to the ground stations continuously by satellite and/or VHF?

Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:35 pm

There is no electronic device going on transport category planes for $500. Trust me, a wireless QAR,which is essentially what we’re talking about, is about $35,000 plus installation. A corporate operation using Ka band probably gets billed $10,000 a month. I see the bills, btw.

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