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Flight Data Recorder

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Hi All, I was wondering if the data contained in the Flight Data Recorder on airliners is accessible (without removing it). And if so does the Airline/FAA even download this data and check it for pilot performance reasons? Just a thought...ThanksSteve

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Some of it is accessible, some not. Voice recorders are looped to a certain amount of time. In most, if not all, cases, companies are barred by union agreements from using the data to evaluate pilots.

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Thanks BobLee, I knew about the voice recorders looping, and I guess I should have thought about the unions, I can see where they would do that.

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A lot of the technical capabilities depend on the model of FDR and CVR - basically how new is the aircraft.Not just unions, the FAA has put a lot of restrictions on the data into the regulations about what can and cannot be done with information collected. Most other countries follow the same rules.Private companies cannot pull the CVR data and FDR data and use it to evaluate their non-union employees.Basic rule - if there is any problem or issue - the data and CVR are fair game for investigators.There is also a move to define some limits on the data recorders in almost all automobiles built after 2000.Can the police stop your car, download the data from the recorder and use it to give you a speeding ticket?Can the dealership download the data and use their interpretation of the information to deny service because your "abusive driving" invalidated the warranty?BTW - a passenger call to the FAA to complain about a safety violation or questionable procedure can get the pilot in a lot more trouble than an incident report the pilot initiates. NOT reporting incidents is a very serious offense according to the FAA.

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On the flip side, British Airways also use a data recording system that was kind of handed down from the Trident to prove that Autoland was reliable. Basically it is a system where the flights data is recorded 'softly' onto disc and after each flight, this data is downloaded, analysed and stored at BA headqaurters. (optical quick access recorder (OQAR))Its a remarkable system and has the added benefit that it helps to find problems before they happen as opposed to the "wait for a crash and figure out what happened" approach.It doesn't include voice recording at all, but the system generally records far more data than a normal BlackBox.

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