Why Planes Still Use 50-Year-Old Black Box Technology
Government regulates so airlines act, and that is why nearly everything still regulated in the airline industry is 1960s technology. If insurers had to deal with these problems, and the inevitable lawsuits, the technology might not be cutting edge, but it would be modern, digital, and more through.
More after the break.
As an expedition kayaker, I take a waterproof satellite beacon on each trip. It tracks my location, and it can send text messages via satellite, it also, with the press of a button can summon help anywhere in the world. It did not cost $100,000, then again it did not transmit a large volume of data. It simply tracks my location in real time, and relays it instantly to people back at home.
An aircraft satellite tracking system would not need to do everything. It could be used primarily to track aircraft while in flight. It might be nice to have the system capable of handling bursts of data on pilot command, but simply having pings from the plane minute by minute would be sufficient to help locate the aircraft. Add elevation, heading, and speed data, and the system could be very good. All that burst data would be expensive, and likely unnecessary, if we knew where planes were, and could recover them.
Leave it to the NTSB, and the FAA to make this into something frighteningly expensive, and then lock it into stone so in 25 years it will be woefully antiquated. The cure is to kill the regulator, and let the market, and demand, create a better system.