has pledged to make flight data and cockpit image recorders standard equipment across its helicopter family.
While flight data recorders are already standard equipment in the company’s large and medium helicopters, they are not mandatory on light single and light twin-engine helicopters. In 2008, the company announced plans to fit Appareo System’s Vision 1000 flight data collection and cockpit imaging system onto the AS350 Ecureuil/ASTAR family of helicopters, and more recently, onto the EC130 T2.
But at Heli-Expo 2014, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury pledged that such systems would be installed across the entire family, with a plan to implement the move by 2015.
“By mid-2015, all civil helicopters will be delivered with a cockpit image recorder or a cockpit voice data recorder,” Faury said at the company’s press conference on Feb. 25. “This is a major decision,” he added.
By making such systems standard equipment on the aircraft, operators and owners will have to pay if they want it removed.
The decision has been partly driven by the November 2013 loss of an Airbus EC135T2 in Glasgow, Scotland. U.K. air accident investigators believe both engines flamed out before the aircraft crashed into the Clutha Vaults public house below, killing the three crew and another seven people inside the building.
Because the aircraft was not fitted with any form of flight data recorder, investigators have had to turn to electronic data stored in the non-volatile memory of several aircraft systems in order to piece together what happened, but such data often doesn’t leave any form of time stamp.
The investigation continues, but Faury warned in January that the inquiry was likely to be lengthy.