Airbus to fit deployable flight data recorders – an annotated infographic

Airbus will fit new fixed and deployable combined flight data and voice recorders as standard on long-range aircraft starting in 2019 in a bid to make it easier to find aircraft wreckage in the event of an accident over the sea.

Honestly, given the significant loss of life in on-water plane crashes, you have to wonder how this has been so long in coming. Where on earth is Flight MH370?

L3 Aviation Products will design and manufacture a lighter and more compact fixed, crash-protected cockpit voice and data recorder (CVDR), which will be able to record up to 25 hours of voice and flight data, up from the current requirement for a duration of two hours of voice recording.

Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “Airbus, together with L3 Technologies and Leonardo DRS, is very pleased to be leading the commercial aircraft industry in implementing into our aircraft new deployable flight data and 25-hour voice recording capability.”

The Toulouse-based manufacturer will fit the devices in the A350 XWB first, followed by A380s, A330s and A320LRs.

The ADFR will be installed flush into the skin of the tail and is designed to deploy automatically via a spring mechanism in the housing case. The spring will push the recorder into the aircraft’s slipstream, where its shape will act as an aerofoil, carrying it away from the plane. After a mid-air deployment, it will free-fall, but its descent will stabilise a a terminal velocity of about nine metres per second.

If the aircraft came down in water, the recorder is designed to float. Upon separation the ADFR initiates an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) sending a satellite signal with the aircraft’s country of registration, tail number and the location, updating the information in the event of drift.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

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