Making minor deities disappear in a puff of logic since 1972
From the maintenance perspective, airplanes either should already be (or if not, could be required to be) equipped with on-board diagnostics. [...] [T]hese codes could be beamed, in-flight, to a central maintenance facility who can dispatch the proper parts and mechanics to meet the plane at the most optimal location in its itinerary.
The other aspect of my argument is illustrated by Air France 447. The diagnostic stream of data is useful in maintenance, but the FAA could really benefit from live streams of black box flight data streamed in-flight. [...] In situations where the black box may not be able to be recovered (reports put the 447 flight recorder as deep as 13K feet), or if the data on it is damaged, voice and telematics data could be encoded, compressed and transmitted to ground-based stations that can provide either up-to-the-minute data of what was going on in the aircraft.
European plane manufacturer Airbus wants to see the end of the black boxes on airplanes. [...] Airbus [...] is working on the possibility of sending while inflight the most important flight data in real time via satellites to the airline’s HQs and to no longer solely rely on black boxes which, in some cases, are difficult or impossible to recover or too damaged to be analyzed. [...] [A]ircraft would continuously transmit technical data via VHF if it is less than 125 miles from a reception station or via satellite beyond this distance. The satellite then would relay the technical data to a reception station on the ground. And this station would pass on all the information via phone lines or satellite to the airline company’s reception center.
An aircraft is already transmitting using VHF or satellites certain technical data to its airline on the ground. Coded messages called ACARS (for Aircraft Communication Adressing and Reporting System) are sent continuously and at more or less regular intervals of about 10 minutes to the maintenance centers of every airline company worldwide. Listed in these messages are, among other things, the aircraft’s flight path, the speed and position of the aircraft, but also alarms which alert maintenance personnel on the ground of issues with the aircraft that would need to be looked at when the aircraft lands at its destination.