Pierre J. Jeanniot
Black box obsolete, says Pierre Jeanniot
Montreal, October 19, 2004 >>
“The black box is obsolete”, says Pierre J. Jeanniot. “New technology is now available that would make the recovery and analysis of critical aircraft performance factors a much surer and faster task than it is today.”
The Director General Emeritus of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a former President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada was commenting on the recovery of the damaged flight data recorder of the MK Airlines cargo jet that crashed at the Halifax airport last week, claiming seven lives.
Mr. Jeanniot ought to know. As founder and head of the national airline’s operational research group in the 1960s, he suggested modifications to a British manufacturer’s electronic recorder designed for maintenance purposes that resulted in the famous “black box” so eagerly sought today by crash investigators.
“Instead of storing critical data in a box that is often damaged, hard to locate and sometimes lost, 21st century technology makes it possible to transmit the data via satellite to processing centres where it can be stored and accessed when needed.”
“Satellite transmission is becoming rapidly more economical”, he said. Transmission would begin only when abnormalities were recorded, limiting the amount of data that would have to be stored or analyzed by the centres.
A number of companies are actively developing this advanced concept, which Mr. Jeanniot suggested at an IATA Conference several years ago. Once a workable system is in place, governments should standardize its use and make it mandatory, he said, just as was done with the black box some 40 years ago.