The more time that passes following an accident, the harder it is to determine the cause of that accident. The National Transportation Safety Board is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to make several changes it hopes will allow plane crashes to be found faster and will aid in investigating those crashes. The eight recommendations from the NTSB to the FAA were outlined in a 13-page letter this week. The FAA promised to review the recommendations and prepare a formal response.
The NTSB has made several of the recommendations in the past. In 2000, the NTSB asked the FAA to use video recorders in the cockpits of airplanes. The FAA did not follow that recommendation after pilots protested. Instead, the FAA released standards for the voluntary use of image recorders. The NTSB would like the recorders to be mandatory and to make it impossible for pilots or airline crew to disable the recorders or the voice and data recorders currently used in aircraft.
Some of the concern about tracking planes and recording data stems from the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. It has been speculated that the data recording equipment on that flight was purposefully turned off making it harder to find where the plane went after radar and satellite links lost track of it. If the recorders were tamper-proof, as the NTSB is recommending, it would be harder to lose track of a flight after it left area radar.
In addition to recommendations about video recording, the NTSB also recommended several changes to improve the recovery of data in cases involving a nautical crash, as well as new policies to improve the way international groups work in finding and retrieving downed aircraft.
Source: USA Today, “NTSB recommends ways to find plane crashes faster,” by Bart Jansen, 22 January 2015