European aviation authorities are changing the regulations covering black box flight recorders that will extend the length of time transmitters will work underwater as the industry continues to react to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The European Aviation Safety Agency [EASA] published a series of recommendations that include extending the transmission time of underwater locating devices [ULDs] from 30 days to 90 days, and adding more advanced locaters to large planes flying over oceans.
“The tragic flight of Malaysia Airlines MH370 demonstrates that safety can never be taken for granted. The proposed changes are expected to increase safety by facilitating the recovery of information by safety investigation authorities,” said Patrick Ky, EASA executive director, in a statement.
New ULDs will have a longer locating range than current devices and another alternative will be to equip planes with a means to determine the location of an accident within six nautical miles.
The recommendations would also see cockpit voice recorders on large aeroplanes overhauled so that the minimum recording duration is increased from the two hours to 20 hours.
Flight MH370, which disappeared from radar on 8 March, is still shrouded in mystery and searches of huge swathes of the ocean have been fruitless with the black boxes unable to be located by search teams.
Officials from Australia, Malaysia, and China are due to meet in the Australian capital, Canberra, this week to discuss what to do next and it’s likely that higher powered sonar and submersible equipment will required for the next part of the search.
If EASA’s advice is taken on board and adopted by the European Commission then it will apply to all planes and helicopters registered in an EASA member state.