The first concrete result of a high-profile “safety summit” held by the FAA last week may be extending the recording time of cockpit voice recorders to 25 hours. CVRs now operate on a mandated two-hour loop, and many of the flight deck exchanges between crews involved in the half-dozen airliner incidents in the past few months that prompted the summit were overwritten. The agency is now working on rulemaking that will require the 25-hour loop. It may be part of the agency’s pledge after the summit to “establish an Aviation Rulemaking Committee to explore how to make greater use of data gathered by the airplane and its systems.”
The NTSB proposed the 25-hour CVR recording time in 2017. It says its investigation of some of the recent incidents has been hampered by the lack of CVR data. In all of those incidents, at least one of the aircraft involved continued to its destination, ensuring the incident conversations were recorded over. The agency didn’t say when the rulemaking might be available for comment. It’s also not clear what equipment might be required by operators to comply.