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After an aircraft incident, finding the black box is important to investigate the causes, because it contains a lot of valuable recorded data. The process of locating this can take a lot of time, and perhaps in some cases it will not be found at all, or deliberately sabotaged. Both problems could be mitigated by continuously streaming flight data through a satellite uplink — or, if there is no coverage, buffer the data until there is.

Do any aircraft do so, or are there any serious proposals to start doing so in the future? What would be the largest obstacles?

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  • $\begingroup$ cost of the satellite uplink itself and the bandwidth taken up by the hundreds of flights in the air at any one moment $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Jul 22 '14 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak Cost is no longer an excuse. UPS can track information on it's \$100,000 trucks via a satellite connection. They do it because they can use the data to save money. Even a retail prices for iridium phones, it would be worth it for a \$150,000,000 plane. $\endgroup$ – David Nehme Jul 22 '14 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ See this answer for links to Inmarsat and IATA proposals. $\endgroup$ – RedGrittyBrick Jul 22 '14 at 22:02
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidNehme UPS doesn't use a satellite connection to track truck but the cell phone network; a 140 char text every minute to a central server using a cell phone is cheaper than getting a 2 way satellite uplink $\endgroup$ – ratchet freak Jul 22 '14 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak It is also a lot lighter. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Jul 23 '14 at 14:52