Re: 757 flight recorder located

From: (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         14 Mar 96 17:49:32 
References:   1 2 3
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In article <airliners.1996.303@ohare.Chicago.COM>, wrote:

> To carry the thought a step further (and perhaps to extremes), does current
> technology make it feasible for airliners to transmit their operating
> parameters to the ground in real time?

When we (Boeing) are flight testing a new airplane model, it is fitted
with an eleborate arrangement of sensors, on-board manned and un-manned
computers, and transmitters.  All the critical operating data is
transmitted in real time back to the flight test labs during the flight,
assuming the plane is still within reach of the fixed and mobile
antennas.  On the first flight of the 777, Flight Test parked a mobile
antenna on a small mound on Paine Field.  There were a few times when the
plane was beyond the reach of the antenna, but for most of the flight, the
people in Flight Test were monitoring all the plane's maneuvers and

The technology exists, but the extra sensors, computers, and transmitters
needed to make it work would simply be more weight and complexity the
airlines would have to cart around.  Plus more stuff for the mechanics to
fix.  I'm sure that some day as electronics continue to shrink in size,
real-time data transmission and analysis by the commercial airlines will
become practical.  But look at all the stuff that's required right now
just to generate and transmit satellite-based navigation and communication
data (CNS/ATM).

C. Marin Faure
author, Flying A Floatplane