No near-term alternative to black boxes, experts say

07/7/2009 | MSNBC

Two recent over-water crashes have some commentators urging that flight data be streamed to land-based servers rather than being stored on aircraft black boxes, which may be difficult to recover from the ocean's depths. While the technology for such an effort already exists, "The volume of information you're talking about is infeasible in terms of what it would cost to do that for every airplane," says an official with ARINC, a Maryland company that transmits airline data. One study by L-3 Aviation Recorders, a leading maker of flight data recorders, estimated that a U.S. airline with a global network would spend $300 million annually to transmit data via satellite.

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