Aircraft operators are looking to gather more information during flights to help reduce maintenance costs, optimize fuel burn, and increase safety and for ongoing training purposes. There is also a movement toward formally mandating such systems. For example, the FAA is requiring air ambulance operators to install these systems in the next year.
Similarly, cockpit voice and flight data recorders must be installed to meet regulations for some. For others, these are desirable to improve safety by having a facility to assess why an incident may have occurred. Avionics units are available to meet these needs — however, adding extra boxes adds weight, takes up space and creates a more complicated installation challenge.
Advances in electronics mean processing power and storage density have now increased to the point that such boxes can now be combined. This is exactly what Curtiss-Wright has done with our new range of Fortress cockpit voice, flight data and image recorders.
The Fortress OEM combines an ED-112A qualified crash recorder with in-built data acquisition hardware. By combining the systems, weight can drop significantly versus currently available systems (up to 50 pounds possible). At the same time, commonality reduces the space and power required.