Airbus to Introduce Floatable Black Boxes

Airbus A350 and A380 planes will soon be equipped with ejectable black boxes that can float, making them easier to find in an air crash at sea.

At the end of last year Airbus got the green light from EASA (European Air Security Agency) to work on the necessary modifications to its planes in order to install these new black boxes in the rear of the planes.
An EASA spokesman confirmed that the agency was working on changing the necessary certification to allow Airbus to equip its planes with the new flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
The technology, which has already been approved for military aircraft, has not been used in civil aviation so far.

“The idea is to modify the black boxes so that each one records the flight details and (cockpit) conversations. One would be ejectable, the other not,” a source close to Airbus explained to AFP.
An ejectable black box would be equipped with an airbag system so it could float on the surface of the water in the event of a crash at sea. It would also help to indicate the exact point of impact at the time of the crash and to find the wreckage.


Airbus plans to install the ejectable black boxes first on its long-haul A350 and A380 jets since they are primarily flying over oceans.

The International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO is set to vote next month on a recommendation of one its working groups to equip commercial airliners with the technology. ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said: “We will certainly be supportive of its efforts to improve the ability of its aircraft to be located in distress situations” as long as the new systems meet or exceed its standards.

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