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ICAO adopts measures to reduce accident site uncertainty

ICAO has formally adopted measures aimed at improving the tracking of aircraft in distress and the chances of recovering flight-data recorder information.

The ICAO Council says it is amending the Chicago Convention’s Annex 6 – which covers aircraft operation – to require carriage of “autonomous” devices to transmit location data at intervals no longer than 1min, should the aircraft be in distress.

It points out that the requirement is performance-based, which enables operators to look into various technological options to meet the standard.

This is also the case for the flight-recorder requirements, which state that aircraft must have means to ensure that the recorders’ data can be retrieved and accessed “in a timely manner”, says ICAO.

The requirement allows carriers to consider options including deployable recorders. The standards are aimed at reducing the uncertainty over an accident site to a radius of 6nm (11km).

Cockpit-voice recorders will need to be capable of storing 25h worth of information, ensuring that they capture the entirety of a flight under investigation.

ICAO’s Council says it adopted the provisions this week – to take effect by 2021 – as the hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 entered its third year.

Council president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu says the measures “directly support” the operational concept for ICAO’s proposed global aeronautical distress and safety system.

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