Sec. 121.343 - Flight recorders.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of this section, no person may operate a large airplane that is certificated for operations above 25,000 feet altitude or is turbine-engine powered unless it is equipped with one or more approved flight recorders that record data from which the following may be determined within the ranges, accuracies, and recording intervals specified in appendix B of this part:

(1) Time;

(2) Altitude;

(3) Airspeed;

(4) Vertical acceleration;

(5) Heading; and

(6) Time of each radio transmission either to or from air traffic control.

(b) No person may operate a large airplane type certificated up to and including September 30, 1969, for operations above 25,000 feet altitude, or a turbine-engine powered airplane certificated before the same date, unless it is equipped before May 26, 1989 with one or more approved flight recorders that utilize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. The following information must be able to be determined within the ranges, accuracies, and recording intervals specified in appendix B of this part:

(1) Time;

(2) Altitude;

(3) Airspeed;

(4) Vertical acceleration;

(5) Heading; and

(6) Time of each radio transmission either to or from air traffic control.

(c) Except as provided in paragraph (l) of this section, no person may operate an airplane specified in paragraph (b) of this section unless it is equipped, before May 26, 1994, with one or more approved flight recorders that utilize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. The following information must be able to be determined within the ranges, accuracies and recording intervals specified in appendix B of this part:

(1) Time;

(2) Altitude;

(3) Airspeed;

(4) Vertical acceleration;

(5) Heading;

(6) Time of each radio transmission either to or from air traffic control;

(7) Pitch attitude;

(8) Roll attitude;

(9) Longitudinal acceleration;

(10) Control column or pitch control surface position; and

(11) Thrust of each engine.

(d) No person may operate an airplane specified in paragraph (b) of this section that is manufactured after May 26, 1989, as well as airplanes specified in paragraph (a) of this section that have been type certificated after September 30, 1969, unless it is equipped with one or more approved flight recorders that utlitize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. The following information must be able to be determined within the ranges, accuracies, and recording intervals specified in appendix B of this part:

(1) Time;

(2) Altitude;

(3) Airspeed;

(4) Vertical acceleration;

(5) Heading;

(6) Time of each radio transmission either to or from air traffic control;

(7) Pitch attitude;

(8) Roll attitude;

(9) Longitudinal acceleration;

(10) Pitch trim position;

(11) Control column or pitch control surface position;

(12) Control wheel or lateral control surface position;

(13) Rudder pedal or yaw control surface position;

(14) Thrust of each engine;

(15) Position of each thrust reverser;

(16) Trailing edge flap or cockpit flap control position; and

(17) Leading edge flap or cockpit flap control position.

For the purpose of this section, manufactured means the point in time at which the airplane inspection acceptance records reflect that the airplane is complete and meets the FAA-approved type design data.

(e) After October 11, 1991, no person may operate a large airplane equipped with a digital data bus and ARINC 717 digital flight data acquisition unit (DFDAU) or equivalent unless it is equipped with one or more approved flight recorders that utilize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. Any parameters specified in appendix B of this part that are available on the digital data bus must be recorded within the ranges, accuracies, resolutions, and sampling intervals specified.

(f) After October 11, 1991, no person may operate an airplane specified in paragraph (b) of this section that is manufactured after October 11, 1991, nor an airplane specified in paragraph (a) of this section that has been type certificated after September 30, 1969, and manufactured after October 11, 1991, unless it is equipped with one or more flight recorders that utilize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. The parameters specified in appendix B of this part must be recorded within the ranges, accuracies, resolutions, and sampling intervals specified.

(g) Whenever a flight recorder required by this section is installed, it must be operated continuously from the instant the airplane begins the takeoff roll until it has completed the landing roll at an airport.

(h) Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, and except for recorded data erased as authorized in this paragraph, each certificate holder shall keep the recorded data prescribed in paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section, as appropriate, until the airplane has been operated for at least 25 hours of the operating time specified in 121.359(a). A total of 1 hour of recorded data may be erased for the purpose of testing the flight recorder or the flight recorder system. Any erasure made in accordance with this paragraph must be of the oldest recorded data accumulated at the time of testing. Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, no record need be kept more than 60 days.

(i) In the event of an accident or occurrence that requires immediate notification of the National Transportation Safety Board under part 830 of its regulations and that results in termination of the flight, the certificate holder shall remove the recording media from the airplane and keep the recorded data required by paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section, as appropriate, for at least 60 days or for a longer period upon the request of the Board or the Administrator.

(j) Each flight recorder required by this section must be installed in accordance with the requirements of 25.1459 of this chapter in effect on August 31, 1977. The correlation required by 25.1459(c) of this chapter need be established only on one airplane of any group of airplanes --

(1) That are of the same type;

(2) On which the model flight recorder and its installation are the same; and

(3) On which there is no difference in the type design with respect to the installation of those first pilot's instruments associated with the flight recorder. The most recent instrument calibration, including the recording medium from which this calibration is derived, and the recorder correlation must be retained by the certificate holder.

(k) Each flight recorder required by this section that records the data specified in paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section, as appropriate, must have an approved device to assist in locating that recorder under water.

(l) No person may operate an airplane specified in paragraph (b) of this section that meets the Stage 2 noise levels of part 36 of this chapter and is subject to 91.801(c) of this chapter unless it is equipped with one or more approved flight data recorders that utilize a digital method of recording and storing data and a method of readily retrieving that data from the storage medium. The information specified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(11) of this section must be able to be determined within the ranges, accuracies and recording intervals specified in appendix B of this part. In addition --

(1) This flight data recorder must be installed at the next heavy maintenance check after May 26, 1994, but no later than May 26, 1995. A heavy maintenance check is considered to be any time an aircraft is scheduled to be out of service for 4 or more days.

(2) By June 23, 1994, each carrier must submit to the FAA Flight Standards Service, Air Transportation Division (AFS-200), documentation listing those airplanes covered under this paragraph and evidence that it has ordered a sufficient number of flight data recorders to meet the May 26, 1995, compliance date for all aircraft on that list.

(3) After May 26, 1994, any aircraft that is modified to meet Stage 3 noise levels must have the flight data recorder described in paragraph (c) of this section installed before operating under this part.

[Doc. No. 24418, 52 FR 9636, Mar. 25, 1987, as amended by Amdt. 121-197, 53 FR 26147, July 11, 1988; Amdt. 121-238, 59 FR 26900, May 24, 1994]