Wings Magazine

Star Navigation announces BEA safety recommendation

Sept. 14, 2011, Toronto - At the end of July 2011, the French Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA) published their initial safety recommendations following the tragic loss of flight Air France Flight 447 in June 2009.

September 14, 2011
Carey Fredericks

While most of the BEA report rightly focuses on the causes of the accident and the associated recommendations, an important section deals with the lack of information about the position of the aircraft at the time of impact and the time taken to recover the black box data.

The recommendations were based on the conclusions of an international government-industry working group, led by the BEA in the context of the safety investigation into the flight AF-447 accident. The group has since studied the feasibility of triggered transmission of flight data. Star was a part of this working group. The concept consists of real time analysis of onboard flight parameters in order to detect emergency situations. In these cases, the transmission of flight data is triggered to facilitate the localisation of an airplane in an emergency situation. The results of the working group show that it is technically feasible to define reliable criteria based on flight parameters, allowing emergency situations to be detected, while limiting false alarms. The group also concluded that it is technically feasible to obtain an impact position with enough precision, even in accidents where the airplane in an unusual position.

Recommendation 4 of the report states "that EASA and ICAO make mandatory as quickly as possible, for airplanes making public transport flights with passengers over maritime or remote areas, triggering of data transmission to facilitate localization as soon as an emergency situation is detected on board."

Star's STAR-ISMS(R) System addresses this issue. It transmits essential and operationally valuable flight data in real time via satcom to airline operators. The single unit airborne box not only analyses and transmits aircraft performance and health information but also transmits location updates up to every 60 seconds. The system also uses triggering algorithms to initiate streaming of flight data from an aircraft when certain operational criteria are met, and more importantly, when emergency situations are encountered. In the event that an emergency situation is detected, critical data is streamed from the aircraft on a second by second basis.


Contrary to statements recently published by another company, Star's STAR-ISMS(R) has been successfully transmitting triggered and/or continuous analyzed flight and black box data in real time since 2007, and since then, has monitored, analysed and transmitted data in real time on over 1800 commercial flights. Further, Star has been a significant contributor to testing and verification of flight data triggering, as part of both the BEA Flight Data Recovery – Working Group, and the subsequent Triggered Transmission of Flight Data – Working Group.