Letters to the Editor

Letter: Airplane ‘black box’ recorders are outdated. Let’s fix them

Out of the black

I spent my entire career in the technology field, including working as an electronics instructor for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the original guided missile field. I also participated in the firmware development of the original computer modem, using dial-up phone lines to transmit data at 15 characters a second (also known as 150 baud transmission rates).

The “black box” flight and voice-recording technology used in modern airplanes is as obsolete as the pay phone.

Today, multiple strategically-placed communications satellites cover every inch of our globe, enabling aircraft to feed data about conditions on flights to anywhere around the world. The satellites could simply relay data to ground stations, which are all linked via the internet.

This technology is extremely inexpensive compared with existing flight recorders. The hardware required is small enough to fit into even the smallest private aircraft.

Just imagine being able to look at data mere seconds after an aircraft drops off the radar or issues an SOS distress call. No more searching oceans for months or years after an accident.

Come on, Federal Aviation Administration: It’s time to wake up and realize that 1950 was a long time ago. This is the 21st century.

A team of 15 to 20 top-notch software and hardware engineers, myself included, could develop this technology in less than a year.

Warren Koeller