FlightAware Discussions

Black box(es)

I watch lots of TV programs about airplane crashes, and it seems like the two black boxes are essential to finding the cause of an airplane wreck, but often either both of them or one of them is destroyed in the crash.
My question is why can’t the data be transmitted to ground stations?
Bob Burns

I can’t think of one recent major incident where damage to a CVR or DFDR prevented a cause from being found. Heck, they survived what happend AF447. You say it happens “often.” Can you cite some specific accidents?

**Maybe “often” was an incorrect word to use. Infrequently might be a better.
I am basing my question based on watching “Why Planes Crash” on the Smithsonian Channel, and a similar program on the Military Channel. In each case I referred to the destruction of the two boxes did not prevent the cause not to be found, but it did make it more difficult for the investigators. I can’t quote any specific instance though.
But, my original question remains: Why can’t the data be transmitted to ground stations along the way?
I’m sorry that I didn’t phrase my question more clearly.
Bob Burns **

Cost involved for the infrequent nature of loss of the units, especially these days, makes it prohibitive, IMHO. The show you mention singles out how they did it with out the devices. That’s great. That happens so infrequently, it makes it unnecessary. That said ACARS already exists to address some of this.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_C … ing_System

In the AF crash they had a good idea of what happened thanks to the automatic maintenance reporting. I don’t remember the numbers but when the airplane started reporting multiple squawks per second back to the Paris hangar the technicians on duty were unsure if it was a reporting problem or the real deal.

OK. Thank you.
I was just curious about why this wasn’t done.