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Media (Apple) Media Hardware

iPods to be Used as Flight Data Recorders 200

udamahan writes "Flight Global reports small aircraft manufacturer LoPresti is introducing a system that uses an iPod as a flight data recorder. The company states that they chose the iPod for its size, low power requirements, and the 'thousands of developers passionate about writing applications for the iPod.' The article notes that data recorders are typically used for maintenance, flight/safety analysis, or, assuming proper protection, crash investigation."
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iPods to be Used as Flight Data Recorders

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  • Re:Shocking... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Friday March 02, 2007 @03:46AM (#18204352) Journal
    It's not how far it falls, it's how much shock it takes at the end. Doesn't take much high-density foam to trim the impact shock to something the drive can tolerate. Surviving a fire, on the other hand...


  • Excellent Idea... (Score:5, Informative)

    by T-Bucket ( 823202 ) on Friday March 02, 2007 @04:11AM (#18204468) Homepage
    Sounds like an awesome idea. Chances are it's going to be used more to record normal flight data than for crash investigation. They're not aiming it at airliners. Most small single-engine piston airplanes are simple enough that the reason for the crash can be easily discerned from the wreckage. There aren't 300 redundant systems to go through. It's usually a case of "Hey, look, that piston is poking out through the engine block." or "Hmm, the 100 hour private pilot ran off the runway into a ditch trying to land in a 30kt crosswind". What it'll really be useful for is stuff like engine monitoring and whatnot. One of these reviewed by your mechanic at annual could make his job a LOT easier...
  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Friday March 02, 2007 @04:38AM (#18204592) Homepage
    Gumstix is a popular flight data recorder for models because it contains the highest computing power in the smallest space, but it's expensive. So could the cheapest $80 iPod be used as a Gumstix replacement? Can a $50 non-iPod mp3 player be used as an embedded computer or does it have to be iPod?
  • Should use these... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Friday March 02, 2007 @06:09AM (#18204942) Journal

    The Monolith [lordpercy.com] mp3 player. Described as 'bomb-proof'. It can also be run over by a car.

  • by temojen ( 678985 ) on Friday March 02, 2007 @11:23AM (#18206876) Journal
    I work at a distributor where we sell both (otterboxes are the low end line of Underwater Kinetics). Pelican and UK cases are better for this application because they're vented. Otter Boxes have a higher crush pressure, but may burst if there's sudden decompression.

    I wouldn't recommend either company's iPod cases for this application either. Go with something like a Pelican 1200 or UK 5010 so that there's LOTS of foam padding. We're not talking about 15 minutes of jogging followed by a drop from 1 meter, we're talking about hundreds of hours of vibration.

    We have customers that buy UK or Pelican cases, then drill through them to mount ruggedized connectors like Cannon or Amphenols, RF connectors (RFI or Amphenol), or Eaton harsh environment switches to use for controls. Both lines stand up well to field abuse.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday March 02, 2007 @01:24PM (#18208384) Journal

    Why not just have a live feed of the blackbox data streamed directly to the FAA?
    I suspect you don't know any better, which is why you asked the question.
    The short answer is that it would not be technologically feasible.

    The long answer:
    1. Each stream of data is going to need its own radio channel/cell connection/other
    2. The FAA is going to have to buy gobs of storage across the country & pay for it all to be managed
    3. Every private pilot is going to have to buy a new avionics package

    That's just off the top of my head, not to mention that the FAA isn't actually sitting at every airport. They mostly make rules & investigate screw ups.

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