Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-15-004
Details
Synopsis: The NTSB has long been concerned about rapid recovery of recorded information to guide investigations, help determine accident causes, and develop recommendations to prevent recurrences. To focus attention on this issue, the NTSB convened its Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology Forum on October 7, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Forum discussions among government, industry, and investigative experts helped identify the following safety issues: • Need for improved technologies to locate aircraft wreckage and flight recorders following an accident in a remote location or over water • Need for timely recovery of critical flight data following an accident in a remote location or over water This letter presents recommendations to address these safety issues and discusses open recommendations regarding cockpit image recorders and the need to protect flight recorder systems against intentional or inadvertent deactivation.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Concurrent with the implementation of Safety Recommendations A-15-1 and A-15-3, coordinate with other international regulatory authorities and the International Civil Aviation Organization to harmonize the implementation of the requirements outlined in Safety Recommendations A-15-1 and A-15-3.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Washington, DC
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA14SS009
Accident Reports:
Report #: None
Accident Date: 10/7/2014
Issue Date: 1/22/2015
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/13/2018
Response: We note that you continue to work to harmonize your aviation standards with those of other countries, and that ICAO anticipates completing its work on distress tracking and flight data retrieval from aircraft that have crashed on the high seas by the end of 2019. Pending completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-15-4 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/21/2018
Response: -From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: The FAA continues work to harmonize our aviation standards with our international partners. The work at ICAO concerning Distress Tracking and retrieval of flight data from aircraft that have crashed on the high seas continues. We anticipate that this work will be completed by the end of calendar year 2019. Once this work is completed, we will assess the feasibility of mandating requirements harmonious with the requirements of other international regulatory authorities.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/6/2017
Response: We note that you are committed to harmonizing with ICAO and other regulatory aviation authorities. We also note that you are active in many industry standards development bodies—including the ICAO FLIRECSWG, which develops SARPs on flight recorders and flight recorder location technology—and you actively participate in the work of the European Flight Recorder Partnership Group and the RTCA SC-229/WG-98 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter Group. Pending completion of the ICAO work, Safety Recommendation A-15-4 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/13/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA recognizes the importance of international harmonization to achieve one set global standard. As stated in our responses to Recommendations A-15-01 and A-15-02 the FAA commits to harmonizing with ICAO and other regulatory aviation entities during rulemaking activities. As previously stated, we are also active in many industry standards development bodies, including the ICAO FLIREC Working Group. This group develops SARPs on flight recorders and flight recorder location technology. The FAA advocates its position on the issues discussed at these meetings. When the working group is complete. ICAO State Letters are sent for ICAO member states to comment on the proposed SARPs. The FAA provides input (as do the Board and other concerned parties) for the coordinated U.S. response to ICAO State Letters. Again urging harmonization with the United States. Additionally, as previously stated, we are active with the European Flight Recorder Partnership Group and the RTCA SC-229/WG-98 406MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter group. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation and provide an update by May 31, 2017.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/19/2015
Response: We are aware that some misunderstandings have arisen over Safety Recommendation A 15 3; specifically, the belief that this recommendation calls for three recorders. We wish to clarify that there are several possible solutions that would satisfy the NTSB’s recommended action that the FAA require mandatory flight data parameters to be recoverable other than by underwater retrieval. Among these options is a requirement for a single combination recorder and a single deployable recorder. Another option that would satisfy Safety Recommendation A-15-3 is a triggered flight data transmission combined with the existing requirements for recorders. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Navigation Commission recently proposed revisions to the carriage requirements of flight recorders that are currently being reviewed by States that are signatories to ICAO. Although these actions are not yet complete and you are participating in ICAO’s activities, we believe that the FAA should be more proactive, particularly in the United States, to encourage these efforts, such as by forming a US industry group to consider technologies that would address our recommendations, and by encouraging voluntary implementation of an alternative method of data recovery for those aircraft capable of such technology. Pending your completion of the recommended actions, Safety Recommendations A 15 1, -3, and -4 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/22/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: These recommendations have created a lot of discussions and activities within the avionics community and multiple policy offices within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The International Civil Aviation Organization has tasked the Flight Recorder Working Group with the issue of tracking aircraft in remote locations and over water. The FAA is a member of this working group. Once the working group has reviewed the concerns raised at the Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology Forum, it will determine the best feasible course of action. We will provide an updated response by June 2016.