|The Black Box (but painted ORANGE) flight data recorder|
FIND THE BLACK BOXES! Julian Bray writes: Sadly the search and rescue mission to find missing flight QZ 8501 has now turned into a grim recovery operation. Seven bodies recovered at the time of writing. We need not go through the history here, as its been widely reported on all national and international networks but there are a few points we can usefully make.
This time the attention to the relatives of the victims has been well managed by the airline boss Tony Fernandez (who also owns Queens Park Rangers Football Club in the UK). His PR efforts have however been hampered by the political set up in Indonesia who have yet to come to terms with the concept of immediate rolling news ie news now not hours later. Social media however has been invaluable and kept the world in real time updates on developments.
What we need to see is real time data exchanges and live video from the flight deck on secure channels.
We also need a second set of black boxes which can be automatically ejected in case of an emergency and will float and/or release a flotation beacon, possibly attached to a guideline released when water encountered. Some Military aircraft already have this. It all comes down to money.
We need compulsory high precision GPS Satellite positioning (its an option on most aircraft ie built in and available but the option is for the airline to actually pay the satellite company for the data). We also need a live camera on all flight decks monitoring pilots crew and passengers and fed back to airline operations. Its been blocked so far on Human Rights, invasion of privacy grounds.
There also needs to be an assurance that on commercial grounds, pilots will not be punished or career disadvantaged in any way if they turn the aircraft around.
We also need an upgrade of Continual Professional Development, independently assessed by aviation authorities and then possibly validated by an independent third party.
All these are measures needing the force of international legislation to push it through and quickly. It won't happen of course too many vested interests, but as social media puts aviation in the spotlight, people are starting to catch on.
AirAsia shares plunged which is a great pity as they have until now run a very efficient, safe and happy airline. Our sincere condolences to all concerned, and a special thank you to the recovery teams who have the grim task of recovering the corpses of passengers and crew. Not the way we want to start the New Year. Let us sincerely hope the politicians will swiftly tighten up on all the issues that are currently up for debate. They can start with the list on here, which just scratches the dust on the surface of what really needs to be done....
JULIAN BRAY 01733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN 01733 345020 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe > Updates are on the Website