Nobody wants to think about what might happen if they are involved in an aviation incident. The chances of that occurring are pretty slim, but survival rates are low. So, you don’t want your plane to drop out of the air when travelling to your next holiday destination. However, we wanted to find out how airlines perform investigations when their planes crash. It turns out the process is much simpler than most people might expect. In most instances, they just have to recover a few essential gadgets from the cockpit. With a bit of luck, you’ll gain a better understanding after reading this post.
All commercial and private planes should come fitted with a black box. That’s the nickname used when describing bomb-proof flight recorders. Those devices make a note of everything that happens during the journey, including recordings of the pilot. Once an airline recovers the black box, they just have to download the content to gain a better perception of the incident. It will let them know about fuel levels, air pressure, and just about everything else. They can even tell if the pilot made a mistake when plotting their course. In most situations, airlines can complete their reports without any other information. However, sometimes they need to dig a little further.
Pilots have to complete a log of each flight they perform. In the past, they would do that using a pen and paper to avoid any complications. However, aviation logbook software has progressed in recent times. That is why more professionals now choose to use their laptop when recording key figures. It isn’t always possible to recover the pilot’s logbook from a crash site. Even so, they have been used in many different reports over the years. While the black box records most information, logbooks can give a better insight into the mind of the pilot. Maybe they read some instruments wrong before dumping some fuel? Something like that could become paramount to the investigation.
Land-Based Flight Recorders
In many situations, the people working in the control center will have lots of information about a particular flight. Their recording software is often more advanced than anything you might find inside the plane. So, investigators will often want to speak to people working in the control room at the time. They will also take copies of any flight information from the system to assist when making their report. The land-based recorders should corroborate the details gained through other means. If they don’t, investigators have to work out why that is the case.
You should now have a good understanding of how airlines perform their crash investigations. Without all those gadgets, it would be impossible to grasp the full extent of the situation. The main issues faced by investigators today relate to crashes that happen at sea or over large distances. If they can’t retrieve the black box, it’s difficult to make an accurate assessment. Will the technology improve as time moves forward, we certainly hope so. However, things are much better today than they were twenty years ago.