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The FAA Proposes Lengthening Cockpit Voice Recording Time to 25 Hours

The Federal Aviation Administration is working to establish a requirement that aircraft have longer duration cockpit voice recorders. The announcement comes after the agency held an emergency “safety summit” Wednesday following a series of near-collisions on US runways. ( More...

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Jeffrey Woodhead 20
CVR should cover the aircraft’s longest flight time plus an hour or so more to capture pre-flight conversations.
nemosteve1080i 15
Longer record time (25+ hr) should be required for all CVR and data recorders. It's not like voice and data are still recorded on physical tape in an analogue format. Convert the voice to a 48k digital format and record hours of preflight, flight, & post flight cockpit voice for each flight. My Tascam SSD recorder has the capacity to record many hours on a CF card. SSD's (solid state drives) are relatively inexpensive. But I'm sure that by the time the FAA finished the certification process, years and millions of dollars would have been wasted.

For redundancy, two recorders, each recording the cockpit audio, could be fitted into the avionics system of each aircraft. This would allow for better survivability of the recorders and function when recovered from an accident or safety inquiry.
WD Rseven 9
And remove the CVR circuit breaker and erase switch from the cockpit while you're at it.
James Cox 1
The erase switch doesn't actually erase anything, it serves some maintenance function, at least that's what a mechanic told me.
Greer Kemp 5
I see no reason that larger CVR capacity could not be provided. I also suggest that given the internet connectivity that is available, the CVR files could be live streamed to cloud storage (meaning in real-time) or uploaded as blocks of data to the cloud if continuous internet coverage is interrupted. That could then form a fully redundant backup to both the CVR and FDR in the event of an accident or other emergency - AND provide a very accurate GPS track and location in case it is needed. This technology is relatively simple and easy to implement as all the necessary systems already exist on most commercial aircraft anyway.
Billy Koskie 8
Interested to hear whether this summit talked about the increasing number of human errors. Austin near miss appeared to be ATC giving questionable instructions followed by pilot taking the time to verify visuals prior to takeoff. The other near misses also have a human element of either not following instructions or incorrect instructions. Frankly, the FAA needs to raise the retirement age ASAP to delay the loss of experience while getting new pilots fully competent.
Kerry Moore 4
If they make the change do not use an Operational Rule to implement. Change the Cert Requirements and then all planes seeking type cert from then on need it. The used Part 121 and Part 91 rule changes to implement the Recorder Back Up Power Supply Change and it is a mess because not all operators (Foreign Authorities) did not mandate so not all planes got the change. When they return to US guess what??
Roger Curtiss 3
With DElta's new pilot contract in place the CVRs in their cockpits will probably be filled mostly with discussions on how to invest.
Bruce Johnson 3
1. Kind of obvious to have all the recordings for a flight to encompass the ENTIRE flight.

2. I think that they should also be all downloaded and kept for at least three months. Complaints and conflicts arising later could easily be resolved by keeping the recordings.

3. Given complaints and lack of information during investigations, video recordings of the cockpit should also be made and kept. Imagine how much easier investigations would be if they could see when pilots were at the controls and conscious.

I know, I know. My # 2 & 3 will be controversial, even though they are logical. No one wants their actions at work to be recorded.
Ken Lane 2
Given the capacity and size of solid state drives, they can record around 150 hours or more. A 500gb drive can hold roughly 75 hours of stereo music.
Stephen Leftly 2
At the retail level, which is admittedly a lot different, you can now purchase 8TB of storage in a 2.5 inch form factor for $450 and it weighs less than four ounces and uses 4W of power peak.

To put that into human perspective you could record a single mp3 compressed audio stream continuously for about 11 years without running out of space!
srobak 2
hicap spinning disk is not an option for CVR. It would need to be SSD.
James Werner 2
Ken, you're missing a couple of zeroes. 5 gigs will hold 120 hours of mp3-quality audio. a 500 gig drive (actually 512 gig), should hold north of 12,000 hours of audio. Just sayin'
Stephen Leftly 2
Given the massive price drop in solid state drives it would seem that it is well past the time where the recordings (both voice and other) should cover hundreds of hours. The actual memory chips are a small fraction of the overall cost so the cost difference between say 25 hours and 250 hours recording capability is probably nominal.

Also something to think about given the low cost of storage: should there be a move to cockpit video? I am not a pilot so would welcome professional input on that idea.
Brian Freeman 4
Why are we not also pushing to place video cameras in aircraft?? (Screw the union pushback nonsense.) Cameras are ubiquitous these days and long overdue on aircraft cockpits and cabins.
Leander Williams 1
I think if the FAA is aiming to increase the length of CVR black boxes, there should be time stamps on the digital readouts so that it would be easier to identify the flight where there was an issue or crash. I would be interested in knowing exactly when the voice recorder starts recording. Personally I think it should start before the actual pre flight checklists because sometimes just the chatter in a supposed sterile cockpit may reveal if there are any oddities.
John OConnell 1
Somehow i think that ain't how it works.
OUR airspace, OUR families aboard, OUR neghbors and property in your impact zone. FULL STOP.

Or do you think "right of ownersip" means you can pull your CVR out of your company's aircraft and still fly (legally)? Seems like you're inviting an inspection. Maybe I'm wrong - you're the professional.
Steve Ortiz 1
I am quite aware of digital recordings and I think airlines should have flights record cockpit audio digitally and have a copy sent back to HQ for archival purposes thru the internet service many airlines now have on their airplanes.

In the even of an accident those precious audio recordings could be easily retrieved, saving countless man hours saved in searches for black boxes - with those black boxes serving as backups. Some precious last few seconds may be lost in the event of a loss of signal but the immediate availability could negate that. Consider how quickly investigators could determine the cause of airplane accidents if those audio recordings AND copies of instrument readings throughout the flights were also sent back to HQ in the same way as the audio re'ordings!
Andy Cruickshank 1
Not sure 25 hours is needed but longer than present would be valuable. Maybe 8-12 hours would be reasonable
Sean Awning 19
Freighters sometimes fly 16+ hours non-stop. Longest current pax flight is Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) on Singapore Airlines, distance 9,537 miles, duration 18 hours, 50 minutes. Add pre-flight and post-flight and a weather delay, and that 25 hours doesn't sound so unreasonable.
Cost of extra storage is negligible. Benefits are substantial.
John Taylor 1
The cost problem becomes exponential to get certificated and then the added cost of product liability for the manufacturer. Many years ago when I was an A&P mechanic in General Aviation, I was flabbergasted at the price of a Cessna 150 throttle cable. It was basically the exact same cable as the throttle cable on a regular push lawn mower. The lawn mower cable was around $12 and the certificated cable was over $200. Now apply the same process to a SSD and see how high that will drive the cost.
James Werner 1
Seems to me the math should be straightforward: longest flight capability + maximum ground hold + taxi time to/from gates + 1.25 safety factor (similar to structural design allowances, for example). Anything else is political.
John Nichols -3
The aircraft is the property of the company... my airplane, my CVR...full stop.
srobak 4
The CVR requirements are established by the FAA just as much as lighting is. If your lights or CVR do not meet the requirements then you fail inspection and you don't fly. Full stop.
Edward Bardes 4
I guarantee you that no aircraft would be equipped with black boxes if they were not mandatory.
John Taylor 3
As an A&P mechanic with 41 years experience I can tell you, if you're airplane doesn't meet required conditions at your Annual, it don't fly. Period.


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