NTSB Calls for New Ways To Locate Missing Aircraft

Air France Flight 447 (Photo: Brazil’s Air Force)

In reaction to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 last year and the crash of Air France Flight 447 in 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued new recommendations for equipment on airliners that would enable searchers to locate missing aircraft more quickly.

Among the recommendations, the NTSB is calling on the FAA to require equipment for airliners that would broadcast position data to ground stations providing the impact location within 6 nm of the last transmission.

Another recommendation is to equip airliners with a means to recover recorded flight data without having to go underwater to locate the wreckage or retrieve the recorders. One means of accomplishing this, the NTSB said, is by requiring airliners to be equipped with deployable flight recorders that would be jettisoned on impact with water.

The NTSB also repeated a 15-year-old recommendation for crash-protected cockpit video recorders, something the Air Line Pilots Association has successfully lobbied against.

In its recommendations, the NTSB pointed to the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 where it took nearly two years and $40 million to recover the flight data recorders. The NTSB also noted that investigators still are conducting a search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that has involved 26 countries and 84 vessels.

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