Qatar Airlines plans real-time blackbox streaming

As we've seen with two airplane disappearances over the past year, the black box on an airplane might record data, but flight data isn't necessarily streamed. Qatar Airways wants to change that, and is announcing plans to stream flight info in real-time to sources on the ground. The streaming wouldn't prevent a plane's issues, but could allow help to arrive faster, possibly saving lives in the process. The news came as the airline unveiled their new Airbus A350 XWB.

The real-time streaming comes courtesy of tech from Inmarsat, who have aeronautical broadband support for the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787. The new black box service will take flight recorded data as well as cockpit voice recordings and streamed in real-time to "defined aviation safety recipients".

It's not yet clear who those recipients might be, though. Qatar Airways was tight-lipped on any partnership, only saying they're testing the service with a supplier. CEO Akbar Al Baker had the following to say:

Qatar Airways is already making an experiment with a supplier, that I am not at liberty to tell you or from which country ... but we are working very closely with them testing the system whereby all the flight data recorded in the black box, or the flight data recorder, is also received continuously during the flight on the ground in our operations centre. Once this has been proven and all the bugs have been cleared, Qatar, I hope, will be the first airline to introduce this in all of airplanes.

Again, the streaming wouldn't necessarily prevent any disasters, but could have responders on scene earlier. The transmission is also one-way, so if connection with a flight control network were lost, this streaming service wouldn't serve as a backup.

Source: Runway Girl Network