Can Technology Increase Plane Safety

Can Technology Increase Plane Safety

by Kurt Knutsson

After co-pilot blame in the crash of Germanwings flight 9525, there are solutions being examined to enhance aircraft security and safety.  Some even believe that if any of these were in place, the 149 passengers lost may still be alive.

Gogo Inflight Internet started as a commercial airline WiFi service using aircraft to ground Internet connections to offer the most popular but far from the best onboard internet access. Michael Small, Gogo’s CEO, is now saying that Gogo will roll-out satellite technology called 2KU which could also be tapped to support communications for real-time diagnostics for an aircraft if there is a problem. He calls it the “connected aircraft” and says its the future.

Beginning in 2016, Gogo will have the capability to offer future aircraft  with technology that can communicate predictive maintenance solutions, diagnostic and operational status information in real-time.  The data connection of a “connected aircraft” could create unlimited possibilities for ground control of an airliner.

Can Technology Increase Plane Safety

Some analysts have expressed concern that a “connected airplane” could pose greater security risks of unauthorized people getting access to aircraft data and worse.. be able to expose an aircraft or several to a hacker taking over its controls of avionics.

There are some more bold considerations on the horizon.  Minnesota-based BRS Technologies says that a version of the private aircraft emergency chute system that is already credited with saving 300 lives could also be innovated to work for a commercial jet.

Aside from controlling the chute from the ground, it could self-deploys when sensors onboard an aircraft in distress is heading for an unrecoverable failure.  The partial chute would deploy at cruise speed and then deploy fully once slowed enough to keep the chute in tact.

Can Technology Increase Plane Safety

The most controversial solution is the one with no technology.  Open the flight deck and remove the lock altogether.  The theory behind unbolting the flight deck is that we as Americans are not likely to sit idly by when unexpected danger presents itself in the skies.  Passengers could overpower anyone not playing nice while onboard the aircraft.

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