Aircraft makers slapped for lagging on fixing recorders
By John Hughes • Bloomberg News • January 10, 2010
AA U.S. aviation regulators criticized aircraft manufacturers including Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS for failing to prepare for a rule requiring them to upgrade flight recorders on new planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration "is seriously disappointed with the manufacturers," the agency said in a Federal Register notice last week.
The FAA issued a final rule in March 2008 requiring manufacturers to upgrade the "black boxes," recorders that help federal investigators determine the causes of accidents.
The rule required changes such as giving cockpit voice recorders 10 minutes of backup power after aircraft systems are lost, and having flight-data recorders more frequently sample movements of controls such as tail parts and foot pedals.
The board has said deficient recorders hampered several investigations, including the crash of Swissair Flight 111 near Nova Scotia, Canada. Voice and data recorders stopped working almost six minutes before the MD-11 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 1998.
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