AeroPatent.com reports that in the aftermath of MH370 disappearance, it has become clear that more R&D is needed to improve in-flight aircraft tracking and emergency locator beacon technology. In recent months AeroPatent reports seeing dozens of patent applications publish in related areas.
Here is a recent proposal from Airbus, for a crash-survivable emergency locator beacon designed to be jettisoned from the aircraft before impact. It even features a clever inflatable cushion and or parachute to provide a soft landing.
A distress signal transmits flight data prior to jettisoning, with information such as acceleration, position and speed, which potentially overcomes the issue of beacon drift when the aircraft is submerged. Furthermore, a recharging system is provided in the form of photo-voltaic panels and or wave energy harvesting to extend the active life of the beacon.
Uniquely, the assembly is located at the rear of the aircraft and integrated with the navigation lamp assembly. This makes it less expensive and easier to manufacture, install and maintain, in particular when compared to other recent proposals that have focused on through-fuselage beacon deployment.
A very clever proposal.