LoPresti Speed Merhants to use iPods as Flight Data Recorders in light aircraft

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

Back in November, Apple announced that 6 major Airlines planned to integrate iPod connectivity in their planes’ in-flight entertainment systems so that passengers could enjoy their personal movies and music on flights. Well, according to Flight Global, a company called LoPresti Speed Merchants has taken aeronautical iPod integration to a whole new level with its plan to use iPods as flight data recorders (FDRs) in light aircraft.

Commonly known as a “black box” (despite often being bright orange), the flight recorders onboard commercial airlines keep a record of a number of important details during a plane’s flight, such as speed, weather conditions, pilot voice data, and the overall condition of the plane’s mechanics and instruments. This data is then used by mechanics to perform their maintenance on the planes, or, in tragic cases (and Hollywood movies) to diagnose what went wrong in the event of a crash. LoPresti SpeedMerchants plans to bring similar functionality to light aircraft, starting with its Fury line, using Apple’s iPod as the recording device, promising “full integration of the iPod into the Fury’s avionics systems”.

No word yet on what exactly what info the iPod would be able to record via that “full integration”, but Pilot voice conversations seems a given. LoPresti VP RJ Siegel says with suitable software to act as a bridge, an iPod could hold 500 hours of flight data. “The iPod has an ideal product spec for aviation. It’s light and small, with very low power requirements and a simple interface. There are thousands of developers passionate about writing applications for the iPod. With such a large body of programmers we literally have no idea what the next great aviation application may be.â€?

While we are all for the iPod being integrated into every noun out there from socks to toasters, somehow we are just a little wary of this plan. We once dropped an iPod from a 10-foot deck with disastrous results. Somehow we think a fall of 800 feet might make any data the iPod may have recorded less than useful. If LoPresti is successful, look for a boom in iPod data recovery houses like iPodMods.

Thanks to faithful Macenstein reader The Jenkinator for the tip!

Comments
4 Responses to “LoPresti Speed Merhants to use iPods as Flight Data Recorders in light aircraft”
  1. Gavin says:

    Sounds like a terrible idea!

    Are not personal electronic devices such as iPods known to cause commercial aircraft to fall from the skies (at take off and landing at least…)? I am warned of this dire risk each time I fly…

    If they can do this to something as big as a Jumbo jet where the ipod is maybe 200′ from the cockpit avionics – it is bound to be catastrophic in a light aircraft!

    Or maybe listening to an iPod on a plane is not dangerous after all…? Hmm I wonder.

  2. A better web site for the LoPresti Fury program is http://www.LoPrestiFury.com

  3. Thanks David, noted.
    -The Doc

  4. Jake says:

    The reason you can’t use things like cell phones in the air has nothing to do with the device causing catostrphic failure, you just can’t get any signal anywhere over 1000ft above the ground. so no they will not cause “aircraft to fall from the skies”, I listen to my ipod all the time while I fly my airplane.

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