GEORGIA- Northwestgeorgianews.com writes that manufacturers of helicopters have been asked to start installing black boxes in their aircraft. Federal safety investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board appealed directly to the companies rather than waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to take action.
The NTSB previously requested that the FAA require the devices, but the administration failed to act on those recommendations. Black boxes record data, and would be able to provide investigators will valuable information regarding the cause of helicopter accidents such as the tragic one that killed Kobe Bryant.
According to the NTSB, turbine-powered helicopters ought to be recording images, audio, and other data while they are in flight.
The NTSB stated that in seven crashes that occurred from 2011 and 2017, their ability to carry out their investigation was delayed and complicated because of the lack of any recorded data. Being able to investigate the cause of such crashes can help officials determine safety risks and issues that should be remedied to make helicopters less dangerous.
The decision to appeal directly to manufacturers is unusual as the FAA is tasked with making regulations for aircraft. The NTSB is one of the agencies that investigate these crashes, but they do not have any authority to create regulations.
In both 2013 and 2015, the NTSB requested that flight-data collecting devices be added to helicopters. The FAA declined to take such action stating that they could not complete a cost-benefit analysis of the requirement. According to a spokesperson, there is no way to determine the number of deaths that could be prevented by making the rule.
The NTSB approached six manufacturers with their request, including the company that made the helicopter that crashed early this year, killing Bryant and his daughter along with seven other people. That helicopter did not have a black box.
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