Smile, You're On The New Black Box
Big Brother or "guardian angel"? We'll let the ethicists decide that one as an Albuquerque company releases its latest cockpit security device. Management Sciences Inc.(MSI) has developed a flight data and cockpit voice recorder that not only adds video, it can broadcast the goings-on aboard an aircraft in real time to a ground station. "We're looking for things that tell you what's happening before it happens," MSI VP Kenneth G. Blemel told the Albuquerque Journal. "Its purpose is to be a guardian angel." The company had already been looking at an improved black box for airliners when it landed a $1.5 million contract to build the Digital Download Flight Information Recorder for the Navy, which has since ordered hundreds for use in F-18s. Blemel said the problem with existing black boxes is they only give up their information after a tragedy. With the real-time monitoring abilities of the MSI device, he said ground-based personnel could see a situation unfolding and perhaps take action to deal with it. The box can also make periodic checks of aircraft systems. Besides aircraft, Blemel said the boxes could be used in police cars, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles or even in the home to keep tabs on vital systems.