12 carleton.ca/engineering-design developing the flight recorder’s Ground Support Equipment (GSE), a laptop-based application which will connect to the recorder itself in order to recover and display its flight data. Having been specially designed to interface with the ADFR and process its treasure trove of data, the GSE will prove vital to the success of reconstructing events leading up to major aviation disasters. “The software product that Ranasinghe and Guy are developing will be a critical first step in helping flight engineers and accident investigators analyze and review aircraft data,” says Young-Davies. During flight, the ADFR has been designed to collect information from a variety of sensors and components onboard an aircraft, as well as audio data from multiple channels. The new unit will also record significantly more raw data than past recorders, conforming to newly established standards set out by both the International Civil Aviation Organization and the European Aviation Safety Agency, requiring that cockpit voice recordings be extended from 2 to 25 hours for all commercial flights by the year 2021. “The console we are designing will be able to download and process all of this data,” says Ranasinghe. “Once investigators have that information in hand, they can then use it to help determine what may have caused a crash and take steps to avoid similar incidents in the future.” Recovering the data held within flight recorders has proven essential in attempting to identify the origin of malfunctions during flight, especially in circumstances where planes have been lost at sea or where an aircraft has been damaged so extensively that it’s virtually impossible to determine the cause of a crash by analyzing the debris alone. “Without that data, the task of piecing together how an event occurred can become insurmountably complex,” says Young-Davies. “In those cases, investigators often have little choice but to ultimately rely on theories and speculation as Paul Young-Davies (center), senior manager of software engineering at DRS Technologies Canada, has been the driving force behind getting Carleton students involved with the ADFR project. Without that data, the task of piecing together how an event occurred can become insurmountably complex Photo: Ainslie Coghill