Transport Canada has announced a proposal to require the installation of lightweight flight data recorders (LDR) on practically all general and business aviation aircraft registered in Canada.
The rule would apply to both existing and new aircraft used for private flying, training, aerial work, commuter, and air taxi activities.
Operators would have up to five years from the final rule’s publication to comply with the retrofit requirement.
“LDRs generally represent a less costly alternative to traditional flight data recorders (FDR), though they are less robust and generally less likely to survive a crash,” Transport Canada said, but added that these units still provide a means of “recording valuable flight data information.” Several LDR systems currently on the market can record information that is sufficient to determine the flight path and aircraft speed.
This can include photos of the flight deck, audio from the flight deck, aircraft parametric data, visuals of the aircraft instruments, and/or data link communications.
Most private and commercial aircraft with ten or more passenger seats in Canada are required to have FDRs. CASA, EASA, and other national aviation authorities in Australia are well into the regulatory process of requiring LDRs on commercial aircraft.
The FAA is not currently pursuing any plans to require the installation of LDR systems. The deadline for comments on Transport Canada’s proposal is March 5.