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FAA Seeking 23 More Hours of Cockpit Voice Recorder Time

The agency is looking to require 25 hours of cockpit voice recordings on all new aircraft.

Inside the cockpit of an Airbus A220. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Fabian Behr)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed extending the cockpit voice-recording requirement to 25 hours for all newly manufactured aircraft, the agency announced in a press release on Thursday. Currently, cockpit voice recorders (CVR) – also known as black boxes – retain only two hours of data.

The proposed rule, which aligns with regulations set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), would provide investigators with substantially more data to identify the root causes of incidents and develop effective preventive measures. This extended recording duration would be particularly valuable in investigating longer-duration flights or incidents that may involve multiple contributing factors.

“This rule will give us substantially more data to identify the causes of incidents and help prevent them in the future,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker in a press release.

The proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, and the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

Enhancing Flight Safety

The proposed extension of cockpit voice recorder durations follows recent recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). By capturing and analyzing more comprehensive cockpit communications and audio data, investigators will be better equipped to reconstruct the events leading up to an incident, identify potential human factors, and assess the effectiveness of existing safety protocols.

The proposed regulation follows a string of near-misses at U.S. airports in recent months. These incidents have included losses of separation and runway incursions among others, according to the New York Times.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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