Honeywell and Curtiss-Wright Corporation gained certification of a 25-hour Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) for the Boeing 737, 767, and 777 aircraft.
The two companies jointly developed these recorders, and with the recent certification, airlines can now order them directly from Honeywell or Boeing for installation on the respective aircraft. The newly certified CVR and FDR are available on all production 737, 767, and 777 aircraft.
Currently, Boeing produces the 737 MAX, 767F, and 777F, with the production of the 777X to possibly resume in 2024, as the company decided “to pause production of the 777X-9 during 2022 and 2023,” according to its United States (US) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing for Q1 2023.
Furthermore, the CVR meets the requirements of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to have a minimum 25-hour recording of the sounds of the cockpit for aircraft that weigh more than 27,000 kilograms (29.7 tons). Similar mandates have been issued in Canada, Mexico, and Singapore.
However, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not mandate a 25-hour CVR recording. The US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) has pleaded with the FAA to add such a requirement for manufacturers and airlines. The Board’s chair Jennifer Homendy has reiterated the NTSB’s request following numerous near-misses at airports across the US in 2023.
“Current FAA regulations require 2-hour CVR recording capability and provide guidance to the flight crew on how to safeguard CVR data after an accident or incident,” said Homendy in front of a US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in February 2023. But due to the short recording time, “valuable CVR data continues to be overwritten and therefore unavailable for safety investigations”.
The NTSB initially issued a recommendation to install and retrofit CVRs capable of 25-hour records in 2018, following a near-miss incident at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in 2017. Then, an Air Canada Airbus A320 almost landed on one of the taxiways, where four aircraft had been lined up and waiting for their departure clearance from the airport.