New rules have been made public on the anniversary of the loss of MH370 that are intended to prevent any future aircraft disappearances from happening. The ICAO Council adopted new rules to prevent the loss of aircraft that run into distress in very remote locations. These new rules will be amendments to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention covering the operation of aircraft.
There are three primary new rules and they will take effect between now and 2021. The rules include a requirement for aircraft to carry autonomous distress tracking devices that are capable of sending autonomous transmit location information at least once per minute in a distress circumstance. Another new provision has a requirement for aircraft to be equipped with means to have flight recorder data recovered and made available in a timely manner. The new rules also outline an increase in the duration of the cockpit recorder voice recordings to 25 hours to cover all phases of flight for all types of operations.
“These developments are consistent with the findings and recommendations of the multidisciplinary
Ad-Hoc Working Group ICAO formed after Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing in May 2014,” commented Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO Council President. “They directly support the concept of operations for the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) which was proposed by ICAO at that time, and will now greatly contribute to aviation’s ability to ensure that similar disappearances never occur again.”
The new rules covering the one-minute distress tracking and extended flight data recordings are performance-based. This allows the aircraft operators to consider all available and emerging technologies to meet the criteria. The provisions are meant to ensure that in the case of an aircraft accident, the crash site will be known immediately to within six nautical miles.