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Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20060005
Date issued: 10 February 2006
Safety action status: Closed - Partial Action
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority review the maintenance requirements for cockpit voice recording systems and flight data recording systems against international standards such as EUROCAE ED-112 and ICAO Annex 6 with the aim of improving their reliability and increasing the availability of data to investigators.

Initial response
Date issued: 22 May 2006
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

The maintenance and testing requirements for flight data recorders (FDR) and cockpit voice recorders (CVR) are not explicitly defined in Australian regulations. ICAO Annex 6 requirements are accepted as the minimum requirement to be met by operators when submitting Schedules of Maintenance for CASA approval. ICAO Annex 6, Part 1, Attachment D, Flight Recorders, provides guidance for pre-flight checking, inspection and calibration of flight data recording and cockpit voice recording systems.

CASA guidance in relation to flight data recorder maintenance is set out in CAAP 42L-4(0), and includes reference to ICAO Annex 6 and EUROCAE ED-112.

In light of this recommendation, CASA will review the maintenance requirements for flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders against the relevant international standards, and will consider in particular whether minimum requirements for such maintenance should be prescribed.

In the interim, CASA will review the existing guidance material with a view to providing more specific maintenance interval guidelines.

CASA will be providing additional training in the maintenance of FDR/CVR systems for airworthiness personnel. This will enhance their knowledge in these systems and will assist them when evaluating aircraft systems of maintenance.

However, as an initial comment, CASA considers that there is no substantive need for a maintenance check of the CVR to be conducted by actually listening to the tape. It is likely that a functional system check can confirm the fidelity of the equipment rather than actually needing to listen to the tapes, as this has the potential to destroy the efficacy of the CVR recording process.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 16 August 2006
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Monitor
Response text:

This response restated the CASA response of 22 May 2006.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 07 December 2009
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Monitor
Response text:

At the time these amendments to the Civil Aviation Act and Civil Aviation Regulations (1988) were developed (ATSB insertion: to allow for listening to CVR audio for maintenance purposes - see R20060006) the existing standards for the maintenance of CVR's were also reviewed. Based on this review in combination with the Act and Regulation amendments CASA believes there are appropriate standards in place for the maintenance of CVR's.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 29 November 2010
Response from: Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Response status: Closed - Partially Accepted
Response text:

The ATSB notes that CASA have reviewed the existing standards for CVR maintenance, in light of the amendments to the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations (facilitating access to CVR recordings for maintenance purposes).

While the ATSB acknowledges that this (and previous) action meets the explicit requirements of the recommendation, the outcome of the review, however, (that there are appropriate standards in place for the maintenance of CVRs) does not serve to address the intent of the recommendation, which was to effect an improvement in the reliability of these systems.

The ATSB will continue to monitor and pursue the issue of flight recorder maintenance standards, given the importance of the role that this equipment plays in the safety investigation process, and the risk to the effectiveness of future investigations presented by unserviceable CVR and flight recording systems.

 
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Last update 05 April 2012