Should black box data be stored in the cloud?

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Author's Note: Should black box data be stored in the cloud?

Cost is not the only factor barring the streaming of flight data -- or, at least, cockpit voice recorder data. Pilot unions have long balked at the idea of making their voice recordings (or proposed video recordings) available to anyone beyond accident investigators, and even they tend only to read the transcripts.

Here's a fun fact you might not know: CVRs equip an erase button, which pilots press after completing a safe landing (they don't work during takeoff or flight). True, encrypted streaming could preserve the same privacy and then allow for deletion after landing, but would pilots see it that way?

Potentially, new regulations -- perhaps spurred by public outrage over some fresh disaster -- could drive some sort of FAA mandate. But unless forced, it seems far less likely that black boxes will stream to the cloud, and more likely that outside technologies will join them in an augmenting or assisting role.

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  • Adler, Jerry. "Banish the Black Box: There's a Better Way to Capture Plane Crash Data." Wired. June 28, 2011. (April 9, 2014)
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