FINAL REPORT SWISSAIR 111 - 02 September 1998

A98H0003 - In-Flight Fire Leading to Collision with Water
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia - 2 September 1998

Safety Action Required

Quality of Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) Recordings

Transport Canada Response A03-06

TC concurs with the intent of this recommendation.  TC acknowledges that the clarity of the CVR recording is significantly improved when the flight crew uses the boom microphones, however their continuous usage can lead to crew fatigue, particularly on long flights.  To improve the quality of the CVR recording in a practical way, TC will develop an initial Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) in September 2003, with the objective of submitting it to the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council in December 2003, to increase the regulatory requirement for the use of boom microphones from a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level (ASL) to 18,000 feet ASL.  The objective of this NPA would be to harmonize the altitude at which the crew must use boom microphones with that specified by the U.S. FARs.

Where the operating rules require the installation of a CVR, Canadian regulations prescribe an in-flight evaluation of the CVR recording system, at entry into service, and on an annual basis thereafter, with the objective to check the intelligibility of the CVR recordings and to detect any objectionable signal levels in order to minimize potential masking of the internal crew audio.  TC, in consultation with other stakeholders, will evaluate the technical issues in order to improve the quality of the CVR recordings.   Following this consultation, TC will assess the need for advisory material and standardization with other CAAs.

Quick Access Recorder Data

Transport Canada Response A03-07

TC does not support the inclusion of all FDM data on the FDR.  However, TC will continue to participate with other CAAs and accident investigation boards in the harmonized activities, which may lead to practical enhancement in the required FDR parameters listing.

Participation in FOQA, FDM, or similar programs in Canada, is voluntary and on a non-punitive basis.  FDM, and similar programs, have been established as safety enhancements and will in the future be an important reporting element for safety management systems.  Employee groups involved have supported the FDM program based on the understanding that all parties concerned would treat the information contained in the data as confidential.

In Canada, the FDM program has been sponsored by TC, through the Transportation Development Center (TDC), and has involved the participation of Westjet, Air Canada and First Air.  TC is concerned that the application of a recommendation such as is being proposed by the TSB would seriously jeopardize the entire FDM safety initiative.

It must be emphasized that modern aircraft equipped with data bus technology typically record far more parameters than that required by the regulations.  This is limited only by the memory capacity of the installed crash protected recorder.

Image (Video) Recording

Transport Canada Response A03-08

TC supports the TSB recommendation concerning the installation of image recording systems to supplement the current flight recording requirements.  TC will continue to participate with other CAAs in harmonization activities addressing the requirements for imaging recording systems.

TC has participated with the FAA, TSB, NTSB and other authorities in the WG-50 that is coordinated by the EUROCAE, which is tasked with the development of image recording system standards.

Once a harmonized approach is achieved, TC will develop and submit through the rule making process an NPA regarding the requirement to install video imaging equipment in cockpits of transport category aeroplane in commercial service.  The submission of the NPA will take place once the installation requirements and operational procedures have been fully developed.

Image (Video) Recording Protection

Transport Canada Response A03-09

TC agrees that all cockpit voice and image recordings used for safety investigations should be protected.  This protection is assured through Canadian legislation.  The appropriate forum to gain the necessary international agreement and implementation of this recommendation is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) therefore Transport Canada will bring this recommendation to the attention of ICAO though Canada’s Representative.

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