FAA Increases Required Cockpit Recording Time to Prevent Future Accidents

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has moved to increase the required timeframe for cockpit voice recordings in the wake of numerous serious runway incursion incidents in the USA.[0] On Thursday, the FAA announced plans to require recorders capable of capturing 25 hours of cockpit sound, up from the current two-hour limit.[1]

The FAA also said it will establish an Aviation Rulemaking Committee to explore how to make greater use of data gathered by airplanes and their systems, including expanded flight data monitoring.[2] This move comes one day after the agency held a safety summit.[3]

The NTSB has been calling for longer recordings for years because of instances in which they failed to retain data more than two hours into a flight.[3] In its statement, the FAA expressed its commitment to addressing the NTSB recommendations.[0]

Jennifer Homendy, an NTSB board member, said: “What keeps me up at night is the next family that I have to talk to when we go on scene to investigate an accident. It’s also the investigators that I talk with on scene who say, ‘We’ve seen this before. We’ve issued recommendations on this. They haven’t been acted upon those recommendations that could have prevented this.’”[4]

The FAA also said it welcomes any tools or resources Congress wants to provide to help expedite the rulemaking process.[2] By establishing longer duration cockpit voice recorders, the FAA hopes to prevent further tragic incidents from occurring in the future.[1]

0. “FAA moves to require 25h of cockpit voice recording” Flightglobal, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.flightglobal.com/safety/faa-moves-to-require-25h-of-cockpit-voice-recording/152506.article

1. “The FAA proposes lengthening cockpit voice recording time to 25 hours” CNN, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/faa-cockpit-recording-time-safety-summit/index.html

2. “FAA to consider requiring airplane black boxes to record 25 hours of data – WEIS | Local & Area News, Sports, & Weather” weisradio.com, 16 Mar. 2023, https://weisradio.com/2023/03/16/faa-to-consider-requiring-airplane-black-boxes-to-record-25-hours-of-data/

3. “FAA Seeks to Lengthen Aircraft ‘Black Box’ Cockpit Recordings” BNN Bloomberg, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/faa-seeks-to-lengthen-aircraft-black-box-cockpit-recordings-1.1896675

4. “Black-Box Recordings In Runway Near-Misses Were Overwritten, Say Investigators” Forbes, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2023/03/16/black-box-runway-incursion-faa-ntsb