Black Box Data from Alaska 737 was Erased

Black Box Data from Alaska 737 was Erased

( – On Friday, January 5, the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 9 experienced a mid-flight panel loss. US authorities have since confirmed the black box information from the plane that covered the incident was overwritten.

On Sunday, Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), disclosed that the cockpit voice recorder lacked available data due to not being retrieved within two hours, triggering a restart and erasure of previous data. This development has reignited discussions within the aviation industry about the need to extend in-flight recording times.

This incident has highlighted the current US regulation, which requires planes manufactured after 2021 to record only two hours of data on cockpit voice recorders, compared to the European standard of 25 hours.

Since 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has advocated for a 25-hour recording mandate for planes manufactured starting in 2021. Homendy highlighted the chaotic circumstances, stating, “A lot was happening on both the flight deck and the plane. The CVR circuit breaker wasn’t pulled, and the maintenance team went to retrieve it, but it happened right around the two-hour mark.”

The NTSB has called for an extension of the rule to 25 hours. A month ago, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a rule extension specifically for new aircraft. However, Homendy urged the FAA to reconsider, emphasizing her preference for retrofitting existing aircraft with 25-hour recorders rather than limiting the requirement to new planes.

“If the communication isn’t documented, it’s unfortunate for us, the FAA, and overall safety. This information is crucial, not only for our investigation but also for enhancing aviation safety,” she emphasized, urging Congress to incorporate measures in the FAA reauthorization bill to ensure the adoption of the proposed rule.

The ongoing debate revolves around weighing the cost and privacy implications against safety considerations. The FAA has rejected the NTSB’s proposal, arguing that the suggested retrofitting costs of $741 million are considerably higher than the $196 million proposed for incremental upgrades.

Pilots, represented by the union for air-freight company Atlas Air, have also voiced their opposition, expressing concerns that longer recordings would infringe upon worker privacy. In response to the FAA’s 25-hour proposal on December 28, the union highlighted the potential violation of privacy rights and the increased risk of unauthorized misuse or dissemination of cockpit voice recorder recordings.

Copyright 2024,