Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Black Boxes

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ari707's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    West Hempstead, NY
    Posts
    1,153

    Black Boxes

    If and when they finally find the black boxes from MH370 the CVR will only have the last 2hrs of conversation or cockpit noises on it, so we will probably never know what was said when the course change was programmed into the computer. If I can buy a cctv set up at Costco for $250 that records 4 cameras for 30 days why cant a CVR last longer then 2 hrs? And a second thought, rather then storing the data in the black boxes why cant the ACARS or satellite up load the data either live or at pre-programmed intervals, say every 15 min. to a central storage location. So in a case like this there wouldn't be searching for the black boxes blindly, the CDR would give the last reported position of the plane and we would have already heard the CVR by then next morning? should be that hard or expensive to make a system like this?
    Overheard on JFK TOWER - S Turns are fine, U-Turns are bad....

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    830
    The CVR has to be hardened and packaged to survive fire, water, impacts, etc, easier said than done with any sort of recording medium. That CCTV recording deck from Costco would sit in a climate controlled environment away from any of the hazards that a black box would face. Also recall how low the resolution on most security cameras are, far less data than countless hours of voice, and generally only captured at a second or so interval, not possible with voice recording.

    Bandwith and cost are the primary reason they do not have a continuously downloading server. Satellite internet is slow, expensive, and unreliable, especially in uninhabited areas where the long haul jets generally fly. I'm sure it COULD be done, but to do so at a reasonable cost is likely not plausible, and certainly not something the airlines would pay for without some form of government mandates.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by captmjk16 View Post
    government mandates.
    way to go...NOW you've said it =P
    Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

  4. #4
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The Bronx, New York
    Posts
    6,028
    captmjk16, with all due respect, that is hogwash

    Seriously, today's technology allows for ANYONE ANYWHERE in the world to get full voice/video in real time. Just look at CNN reporting from deep inside a war zone. I can do full voice/video to Antartica. If you own a yacht, believe me, you have one of these satellite radiophones. Even if not that fancy, the system can cache and store and forward as needed. This was indeed the way of the world the days before always-on Internet connections. I ran a few BBSs before WWW and HTTP and used Fidonet to do mail delivery ad hoc and asym.

    A modern telemetry system can be employed easily and cheaply and reliably. The system could asynchronously record locally while uploading/downloading to satellite/ground stations as it can...

    To add, we can do full video and telemetry to/from Mars and I can readily communicate with the ISS via inexpensive Amateur Radio gear ... in VHF no less.

    Take your pick
    http://www.satellitephonestore.com/
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    830
    Manny,

    As someone who has spent time at sea and in remote areas I have to disagree with your call of hogswash. The majority of people getting full audio/visual full time are using skype with wifi hooked up to wired connection, which make use of existing hardwired connections and fibre optic networks... not satellites.

    The issue isn't so much that the technology isn't there, it's that it isn't affordable. If you look at a sat phone (or sat TV/Internet) system on a yacht or ship designed to work worldwide you're looking at rates of at least a few dollars a minute minimum. Sure the phone itself is relatively cheap, but a few bucks a minute adds up over every aircraft in the fleet and every flight by those aircraft. Trust me, I've looked into a stabilized sat TV/Internet system for my family's boat (and numerous ship designs I've worked on), and it just isn't worth it in the long run. Just think about how much it costs to use the sluggish wifi aboard an airliner now, and how frustrating it can be to get a solid connection. Also recall that these aerial wifi systems tend to only be operational over certain countries/regions and not over the open ocean or in third world countries due to the lack of satellite coverage. Those satellites are not cheap to design, launch, maintain, or operate, and I can't see the airlines or governments footing the bill to launch a whole new network of geosync communication hubs for this exclusive purpose.

    The major news networks that report from inside warzones relied heavily on chase vehicles with massive stabilized satellite dishes during the early stages of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts in order to get audio/video back to the stations, far from practical to put aboard an aircraft. Even today with better bandwith capability and smaller dishes, it is still far from cost effective to transfer large amounts of data via satellites. Let's also consider the fact that there just aren't enough communication sats up there to handle the volume of data that would result from each and every plane having a CVR that transmits back to "base".

    The video/telemetry systems used by NASA for deep space missions are less than comparable in this case, as money is essentially no object and time is not as critical as in a situation like this. It's also worth recalling that a few lines of coded text telemetry is a far cry from hours of audio recording as far as file size and bandwidth requirements are concerned.

    No airline is going to voluntarily put such a system aboard its aircraft and pay the exorbitant data rates without regulators stepping in. I don't disagree that it's a good idea in theory and would be beneficial in a situation like this, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen any time soon.

  6. #6
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    8,040
    Quote Originally Posted by captmjk16 View Post
    ...would be beneficial in a situation like this...
    And there you have the flip side of equipping every airliner with a method to send full data via satellite/radio back to home base. In the countless airline flights every year, how many times in the past decade would such a system helped? Other than this still-missing aircraft, how many crashes have there been where the CVR/FDR were never recovered? They even found the wreckage of AF447 and recovered the black boxes. All in all, way too much expense for much too little benefit.

  7. #7
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The Bronx, New York
    Posts
    6,028
    And I will still say it... if I can have wi-fi in my seat, they can have full telemetry... enough said. They have full telemetry on the ACARS sat link, why not the full blackbox feed? It is TINY amounts of data. Even if it is just triangulated location, that would be great.

    BTW, I am taking bets that after this incident, this will be a reality, cost or not. Moose, tell that to just ONE family member who has no clue abouttheir family member and they will be able to justify the cost.

    My insurance and my spare tire in my car costs TONS of money for me... yet I have not used them in over 12 years AT ALL!!

    Go figure.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  8. #8
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The Bronx, New York
    Posts
    6,028
    Quote Originally Posted by captmjk16 View Post
    Manny,

    As someone who has spent time at sea and in remote areas I have to disagree with your call of hogswash. The majority of people getting full audio/visual full time are using skype with wifi hooked up to wired connection, which make use of existing hardwired connections and fiber optic networks... not satellites.
    BTW, my challenge wasn't about your time at sea. I am sure it is 100% more experience than I have at sea or in any vessel for that matter

    However, I do TCP/IP Routing and Switching for a living since the early 1980s it is all I do professionally. I know networks very well and believe me, it is nonsense to think this isn't doable, easily and cheaply. I remember the days of 300 BAUD over UNRELIABLE links. I also know Satellite based T-1 links that are HORRENDOUS and they WORK well with CRC at a minimum. You must agree that most ships at sea have full telemetry 24x7x365 as it is very important to know where that merchandise is at all times. I bet they also have full communications from anywhere in the world.

    Again, one lost plane can mean the cost of equipping every single airplane in the world with the technology. I am willing to be the Satellite network is already in place, so no need to do that portion. Just think of the law suits from each family and the cost of the recovery effort. I am already counting in the hundreds of millions $ US so far in assets and manpower / time / cost ... each one of those Orion or Poseidon flights has to cost a buck or two.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    830
    I do understand your experience in networking far exceeds mine and is somewhat applicable in this case, but I think we're talking on two totally different levels here. Satellite based communication and data transfer is on a completely different level than wired terrestrial networks, and remain less than reliable/cost effective for higher levels of data transfer. I will tell you for a fact that ships do not have "full telemetry 24/7/365" or even anything close to that, rather they use a system similar to airline transponders known as AIS in combination with an ACARS esque system and the occasional email or phone call to the ship's master from HQ. In a similar manner to airliners, ships also have black boxes of sorts, with a voyage data recorder and a bridge conversation recorder being utilized to aid in accident investigation. Additionally, ships have what is known as an EPIRB beacon, the maritime equivalent to an ELT.

    As for wifi in your seat, again remember where the coverage locations for that service end, which is generally at or near the end of land. Check out Delta's in flight wifi map, which shows that it's only available in the continental US and Alaska, with most of Alaska being subject to service interruptions. Also note in the terms and conditions where it specifically states "voice services not supported". Over the developed areas where inflight wifi is available, you can be assured that radar coverage is sufficient to locate and monitor flight's locations in real time without the need for an enhanced air to ground reporting system. The issue arises in areas where the inflight wifi does not cover, which is the majority of the world, where the satellite networks are far from reliable or sufficient to handle the volumes of data desired.

    A more simple telemetry (location, altitude, speed, engine parameter) ping is quite plausible and is currently in use, albeit on an infrequent and voluntary basis primarily targeting maintenance and reliability data mining. Stepping up from a few bytes of text to full download of CVR or even FDR data, no matter how compressed, is not practical in today's world, and I will stand by that. ACARS does not have "full telemetry" (which for an aircraft of any considerable size would consist of hundreds if not thousands of data channels) nor is it operating on a constant basis.

    Of course the lost plane is expensive as is all the associated searching and litigation, but it's also important to remember how unlikely this scenario is and how incompetently the search effort has seemingly been run so far. The parties involved in this search, especially in its early stages, were and remain less than forthcoming with information, and as such, have wasted time and resources searching in the wrong location. On the flipside, it is difficult to fathom how much it would cost to increase the size and reliability of a sat-com network, a figure that would likely run well into the billions. If planes were falling out of the sky in the middle of radar dead zones left and right it would be one thing, but this is an extremely rare incident that may not be enough to justify such incredible expense. I'm sure the family members of those lost would disagree, and that is natural and expected, but for someone without an emotional attachment to the situation, would a significantly higher ticket price be justified due to the airlines having to absorb the costs of installing satcom equipment and helping to fund the launch of dozens of satellites?

    Let's also consider that CVR downloads as originally proposed in this thread would likely not be revealing the location of the aircraft, only a potential motive or cause, neither of which is likely to be useful in the search for sure (the investigation is another matter entirely). CDR data downloads are more practical (but still difficult... trust me, even for a simple 5 or 6 channel DAQ system scanning at a relatively low frequency the file size with the data adds up quite quickly), but I feel the same effect could be achieved by increasing the frequency that the ACARS/maintenance reporting system "calls home". Reducing the time between "pings" (and releasing the data in a timely manner to help search parties) can reduce the search area from the size of a continent to the size of a state, rendering most of the benefit for an enhanced system to be effectively useless.

  10. #10
    speaking of cctv and costco, someone should really put a live webcam on top of the costco on rockaway turnpike

  11. #11
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The Bronx, New York
    Posts
    6,028
    Many carriers are switching over to Satellite based Wi-Fi from the traditional and poor ground based system. I had the pleasure of using it on the new American TransCon A321 and it is far better. So, not a good example. And yes, Maersk and all major Car Carriers and Petroleum Containers have full 24x7 telemetry. A good friend of mine was a commercial captain (unfortunately he passed away from brain cancer, not that it is relevant here) and he would routinely remind me that he could not just disappear with the goods.

    No matter what you come up with as a no, it is perfectly clear and factual that it can be and should be done... immediately.

    That the search is being poorly handled is Monday Nigh Quarterbacking. You and I have no clue what the Malaysians (or anyone else) really knows. We know what we are told. So take it with a grain of salt. I bet if someone had a clue, the plane would have been found. I think it is going as well as can be expected given the lack of an actual location.

    I can tell you this. When I misplace my car after parking it outside a restaurant, my initial reaction would be, did I really park it here? Not "The CIA is on to me, the car must be somewhere in South America" LOL
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Bellerose, NY
    Posts
    689
    Just keep on searching...

    Technology....I can see myself sitting outside where I live...on google maps...777 could not be found...
    [URL="http://www.airport-data.com/photographers/gbmax:5834/"]My Aircraft Photos[/URL]

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    brooklyn
    Posts
    60
    The idea that there will only be two hours of data on the back boxes is false. The two hours is based on the certification minimum and was the standard when the black boxes used infinite tape loops - essentially two hour 8-track tapes.

    Since the boxes have gone digital, the amount of data in both time and fields has gone through an exceptional expansion. I don't know how much data was saved on the MH370 boxes, but I would expect it to go back weeks. And the FDR and CVR are not the only data repositories on the plane - there is nonvolatile memory in many other locations. The flight guidance system, autothrottles, and radios all record inputs and save them to memory. When investigators looked into the Asiana 777 wreck, they found the flight guidance system had saved every input from the plane's first flight. With what investigators gathered from these other sources, it was able to verify the data in the FDR on Asiana and more conclusively identify the causes of the accident.

    I doubt that if even if MH370 was found that this memory would have survived, but if the boxes are found, I have very high confidence that the data is intact and that the entire flight data is available.

    Here is a great small summary of black boxes:


    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...oy-a-black-box

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •