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Is the Black Box on Airplanes Obsolete?

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 6:58am
Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd., recently announce the introduction of the world’s first real-time In-flight Safety Monitoring System (ISMS™), the ideal counterpart to the "black box" and a quantum leap in aerospace safety technology.

Most people are familiar with the "black box", the near indestructible sealed recording device that assists investigators in determining the cause(s) of an aircraft accident. What isn't as well known is that not only are black boxes not the complete solution, by their very nature they are designed to indicate problems AFTER they have already occurred - much too late to help the pilots and passengers.

In cases such as the Air France Flight 447 disaster earlier this year, the airplane's black boxes sank to the ocean floor and have never been recovered; despite a massive search the cause of that terrible tragedy remains somewhat of a mystery. It's obvious that a real-time counterpart to traditional black boxes is needed and Star Navigation has answered the call.

Star Navigation's In Flight Monitoring Service first introduced in 2005, was a quantum leap ahead in aerospace safety and monitoring technology. It performed all the functions of black boxes while providing current information to pilots and ground controllers, giving the ability to note any anomalies and to nip problems in the bud.

The improved STAR-ISMS provides both real-time and after-landing reports, intelligent flight data transmission, plus more detailed live flight data alerts through the efficient use of leading edge satellite-based technology.

One of the main features of the new STAR-ISMS is its built in GPS tracking software built-in GPS tracking software that enables more accurate tracking of an equipped airplane to the last known latitude, and longitude. It also boasts improved accuracy and the ability to instantly provide an aircraft's exact altitude, heading and airspeed.

The essential avionics and diagnostic information collected by the STAR-ISMS is transmitted at operator defined intervals or triggered events, via satellite, to ground-based installations in real time regardless of weather conditions. As well, Star's on-board hardware and software will independently analyze all selected incoming sensor & systems data and compare it with normal parameters - any deviation is noted and an alert is sent out if necessary.

In the event of multiple failures, the automated "Mayday" feature commences an immediate “data dump”, sending as much information as bandwidth will allow. It can be said that STAR-ISMS opens a "virtual window" into the in-flight operation of a commercial aircraft.

The utility of the improved STAR-ISMS doesn't end once a plane has landed. All monitored in-flight data is recorded and stored for later review, and detailed reports are automatically generated, providing operators with useful information that can be used to streamline procedures and institute economies on future flights.

One especially noteworthy feature of the STAR-ISMS is that the information it notes and records can be used by airline ground crews to plan maintenance scheduling, monitor aging equipment, even predict the possibility of hardcore failure due to material stress and fatigue.

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