Alexandria VA – In the wake of the Malaysian government’s announcement that flight MH 370 ended in the Indian Ocean and the continuing search, the Flight Safety Foundation today called on the commercial aviation industry and national civil aviation authorities to gather for an international symposium on the current state of technology and need to incorporate practical in-flight aircraft monitoring and communications systems to enhance location tracking.
“We will hopefully know soon what happened on this tragic flight,” said David McMillan, Chairman of the FSF Board of Governors. “We do know, however, that emerging technology exists to provide much more real-time data about aircraft operations and engine performance. That data can help us unlock mysteries, leading to timely safety improvements and more focused search and rescue missions, while avoiding some of the pain and anguish felt by victims’ loved ones in the wake of a tragedy.”
“Satellite communications, navigation, and surveillance systems also represent efficient ways of tracking aircraft, especially over water,” said Kenneth Hylander, FSF’s acting president and CEO. “Given existing technology, we simply should not be losing contact with aircraft for unknown reasons. Out of respect for the families, it’s also time for the media speculation to stop, and for a knowledgeable, responsible, professional dialogue to begin to examine technological options for practical tracking of aircraft.”
The Foundation, which has long been a leader in calling for greater use of data for risk mitigation, emphasized today that the combination of data gathering, analytics, and sharing would improve safety and operational efficiency. The migration toward exploiting “smart machines” that supply real-time, actionable information not only helps in determining what went wrong in the wake of an accident, but assists operators in determining the status of aircraft, engines and sub-systems in order to predict and prevent failures, ultimately further advancing the industry’s already outstanding safety record.
Noting that it took 23 months to recover the flight data recorders in Air France 447 over the Atlantic, Hylander added: “Given today’s sensor and satellite technologies, we shouldn’t have to wait so long to find out where, what, and why things went wrong.”
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