FAA: CVR/FDR Upgrades Delayed

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The FAA says it has delayed until December a deadline originally set for April 10 that requires manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to install upgraded cockpit voice and flight-data recorders, because manufacturers failed to plan ahead. Manufacturers petitioned for additional time in what the FAA calls a "decision by the industry not to comply" on time with a final rule that announced in March of 2008 the April 2010 compliance deadline. The rule requires cockpit voice recorders to have 10 minutes of backup power after aircraft systems are lost and requires flight data recorders to provide better collection of flight control movement data. The FAA says the manufacturers' petitions appear to have been motivated by the manufacturers' failure to plan ahead for the acquisition of the equipment necessary for compliance. According to the FAA, the manufacturers said they simply can't get the parts on time to meet the original deadline.

The FAA's motivation for the rule was to be able to provide investigators with improved data and resources that may help better determine an accident's causal factors. The NTSB has been pushing for similar upgrades since 1997. Now, manufacturers have until December to comply, with some operators granted until April 2012 to meet the 10-minute power backup requirement.