Airbus to fit New Flight Data Recorders

Airbus will fit new fixed and deployable combined flight data and voice recorders as standard on long-range aircraft starting in 2019 in a bid to make it easier to find aircraft wreckage in the event of an accident over the sea.

The Toulouse-based manufacturer will fit the devices in the A350 XWB first, followed by A380s, A330s and A320LRs.

The ADFR will be installed flush into the skin of the tail and is designed to deploy automatically via a spring mechanism in the housing case. The spring will push the recorder into the aircraft’s slipstream, where its shape will act as an aerofoil, carrying it away from the plane. After a mid-air deployment, it will free-fall, but its descent will stabilise a a terminal velocity of about nine metres per second.

If the aircraft came down in water, the recorder is designed to float. Upon separation the ADFR initiates an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) sending a satellite signal with the aircraft’s country of registration, tail number and the location, updating the information in the event of drift.