Washington: Amid several recent high-profile incidents where planes have mysteriously vanished, the US aviation safety authority has issued new recommendations designed to help find wreckage faster and determine what caused crashes.
"Recent events have highlighted that recovering flight data can be costly and difficult when an accident occurs in a remote area, outside radar coverage," the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wrote in the letter to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Malaysian Airlines flight 370 remains the most notable recent missing plane and its disappearance has driven aviation authorities worldwide to consider changes to how aircraft are tracked.
The ill-fated Boeing 777 is thought to have crashed in the South Indian Ocean, far from land and far from radar coverage. Search crews continue looking for it, but so far have found no wreckage or sign of the 239 people on board. Malaysian government today declared the disappearance of Flight MH370 an accident, nearly 11 months after the mishap.
Thursday's recommendations address commercial airline, commuter, and charter flights and stem from a forum held last fall on flight data and locator technology.
Planes certified to fly long distances over water and which currently have flight data and cockpit voice recorders would now be required to have a way to transmit location coordinates, so they can be pinpointed within six nautical miles after a crash, CNN reported.
Currently planes flying over oceans outside of radar coverage may not transmit location information frequently enough to send investigators to a precise crash site.
NTSB's new proposed requirements call for low-frequency locating devices to be attached to the body of planes flying these long distances over oceans. The locator beacons would emit a signal for at least 90 days - three times longer than the current requirement, the report said.
Military and search and rescue ships would be able to hone in on these signals and find the wreckage.
New planes that currently have black boxes and are designed to fly for hours over water would now be required to allow data recovery that is accessible without finding the physical boxes.
The streaming black boxes would be required to start transmitting in the event of a so-called "triggering event," such as a malfunction.
Either of the two systems "would provide investigators more timely access to information and offer valuable insight into the circumstances near the end of an accident flight," the NTSB writes in its recommendations.
These new recommendations will now go to the FAA for consideration, the report said.
The NTSB is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation.