Air France Crash: Hunting for Black Boxes

Modern airplanes are marvels of technology. Yet when they crash, as two have in the past month, investigators often must hunt for the recordings of the flight data and pilot communications since these "black boxes" are located on the plane. Both the June 1 Air France and June 30 Yemenia Airways Airbus crashes happened over water; in both cases, the boxes are thought to sit at major depths, not easily recoverable. Which prompts an obvious question: Why are such data even stored on the airplane? Isn't it more logical to transmit it to a land-based receiver, where it could be accessed quickly in a crash investigation?

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