They shouldn’t be looking for the black box flight recorders from EgyptAir MS804


When my laptop died a couple of years ago, I lost loads of important stuff. It was a wake-up call, now I don’t store ANYTHING on any of my computers. I only ever save stuff to Google Drive, the cloud storage system. Next time any of my computers crash or is destroyed, at home or at work, all of my stuff will still be available to me on ANY connected computer anywhere in the world. In the overall scheme of things, my stuff isn’t very important. What I don’t understand is that information that IS really important isn’t stored in a similar way. 

The recovery of the black box flight recorders from EgyptAir MS804 is essential so investigators can find out what happened.

The black boxes aren’t always found. It’s been more than two years since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared, those flight recorders have not been found. They won’t be unless they find what’s left of the plane. That seems unlikely now considering the search area in the Indian Ocean is bigger than the size of England and the water is nearly three miles deep.

Since 1965, nineteen other airliners have crashed without their block boxes being found including the two planes that crashed into the World trade Centre on September 11th 2001.

In the 21st century, the fact that the only way to get the information they need to find out what happened after a plane crash is by physically retrieving these bits of kit is ridiculous. That important information is stored in the worst possible place on earth, the crashed plane itself.

The technology exists to make black boxes obsolete. Telemetry and voice recordings from all commercial aircraft can be streamed to satellites and downloaded to a ground station when it’s needed.

All sorts of real-time information like football results, stock quotes and the position of your friend running in the London Marathon can be transmitted in real time to anyone in the world holding a smartphone. Why does the vital work of investigating a plane crash still depend on reading physical hardware that must be rescued from the wreckage?

It makes no sense that my data is better protected from a computer crash than flight data is from a plane crash.

Craic on!

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