Vehicle: Airplane: Black Box
Satellite Transmitting Black Box   (+7)  [vote for, against]
from a dish just inside the skin of the aircraft

Mount at least one of the black boxes just inside the top skin of an aircraft and connect it to a satellite dish which is free to rotate within this space.
Constantly transmit encrypted black box information which is relayed to air traffic control, the CAA/FAA or another such agency. The recepient monitors 'planes that lie within its field of responsibility giving backup to the flight crew and, should the worst happen, have a copy of the last actions of the 'plane accessible welll before the black box is recovered.

(The reason for a satellite broadcast is to maintain contact in situations where the aircraft may have lost radio contact.)
-- st3f, Nov 13 2001

Iridium Satellite Phone Relaunch
They now plan to serve a niche market. [Aristotle, Nov 13 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Those satellites that were left when Iridium went bust - are they still up there?
-- hippo, Nov 13 2001

Iridium was bought at the last moment and has been relaunched as niche market that reaches the parts that other mobile phones can't reach (see link).
-- Aristotle, Nov 13 2001

This is being baked as we speak - mostly for plotting the current position of the aircraft, but a whole load of other status info is transmitted too (because the bandwidth is there, and it's useful).
-- drew, May 26 2002

<pun system operational>Connecting a satellite to a black box is going to take an awful lot of cable, isn't it?</discontinue pun>

I have a female friend who's an RC-135 pilot; it's a militarized Boeing 707 outfitted with advanced radar and networked to the big AWACS planes. It's a terribly ugly plane with a big schnoz.
-- RayfordSteele, May 26 2002

That's no way to speak about your friends.
-- drew, May 27 2002

They could have used this on the AirFrance plane that went down. They say they'll never recover the black box.
-- simonj, Jun 04 2009

I wonder why they don't include an emergency locator transmitter in the black box - civilian planes where I am now (Alaska) have them. That would aid in finding both the black box and in this most recent case, the aircraft.

It must be a cost thing.
-- DIYMatt, Jun 05 2009

//I wonder why they don't include an emergency locator transmitter in the black box//
Presumably it's difficult making a locator beacon that works both in air and in water?
-- coprocephalous, Jun 05 2009

I think the current black boxes have an ultrasound beacon for underwater recovery. ~battery lasts 30 days after activation
-- loonquawl, Jun 05 2009

....looking for service......looking for service.........
-- WcW, Jun 05 2009

They also, for some bizarre reason, have a clicker. A mechanical device that sends out clicks, a la morse code. Nice thing about acoustic vibrations in the water is that they travel further and faster. Nasty thing is that over distance they can be masked by interference. Maybe they should call it a dicky clicker.

However these dicky clickers remain operable under extreme stress and for long periods of time. I guess someone figured out that the energy requirements for a sat connection from 4km below sea level were more than a dicky ticker, contained in the same box subjected to the same stresses, with time parameters.
-- 4whom, Jun 05 2009

Regarding the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, I can't believe they don't do this now. I had no idea a plane could be "lost" in this day and age, going on a week at the time of this post.

To not have continuous data link via satellite at all times is absurd. Are the profit margins in airline flight that thin?
-- doctorremulac3, Mar 11 2014

I suspect they suffer the same problem that the FAA air traffic control computers did awhile ago, regulatory red tape and implementation delays.
-- RayfordSteele, Mar 11 2014

random, halfbakery