The Aviation Safety Council on Thursday signed an international cooperation agreement with US defense contractor Raytheon for the transfer of the latest technology on flight data management and analyses to enhance the nation’s capabilities in investigating aviation accidents.
The technology that is to be transferred to Taiwan was developed by the Canadian firm Plane Sciences, which will provide training in decoding new flight data recorders (FDR) to the council, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, the four Taiwanese airlines and the military.
Jim Frost, senior manager of Raytheon’s industrial cooperation department, said at the signing ceremony that the council had set its sight on a specific technology for transfer, but it was not readily available.
He said that, prior to the partnership with Raytheon, the council had approached some regional equipment manufacturers of the airplanes and found that specialized training was difficult to find.
“Raytheon looked for potential sources internationally that can provide this type of specialized training. Ultimately, it became clear to us that Plane Sciences is the clear technology leader in this area,” Frost said.
Frost said that Plane Sciences is qualified to provide this type of technology transfer because it is not tied to any specific regional manufacturer and has broad experience in all aspects of accident investigation and processes.
The project would provide Taiwan with the latest information from an international perspective, which is to be taught by instructors with global experience, he said.
Aviation Security Council Executive Director Thomas Wang (王興中) said that the first week of the training would focus on the methods and procedures that have been applied to investigate aviation accidents in other countries.
The second week would focus on studying the new types of FDRs used on Airbus 330 and 380 as well as Boeing 777 planes.
“We want to know how the data recorded on these new FDRs can help find out how accidents happened and understand the cause of accidents. We are looking forward to learning about the technology in this field,” Wang said.
Learning this technology would help reduce the time needed in decoding FDR data, particularly if the recorders have been damaged.
“If a recorder has been damaged in a plane crash, any mishandling of the recorder would cause loss of data. And if we do not know how to properly handle a damaged recorder, we can either ask the manufacturer to send us their engineers or send the machine back to the manufacturer. The process would take us at least two weeks,” Wang said.
“However, if we know the proper equipment to employ or procedures to follow, it would probably take us only three to five days to decode the data on a damaged FDR,” he said.
Wang added that new types of FDRs can record up to 2,000 parameters, and investigators need to determine the parameters to look at to understand how an accident occurred.
Apart from the council, civil flight carriers can also use the training to improve their aviation safety record and operational efficiency, Wang said.
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