Aviation Safety and Security: Utilising Technology to Prevent Aircraft Fatality

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review


The author has written this book because the general subject of safety and security in the airline industry is usually a discipline that many airlines claim to be in their top commitments, but little is explained as to how the industry meets the claimed achievement. From an academic perspective, when looking through
the published materials, while there are numerous publications that detail the more common list of security events, very few explain what developed within the industry as a result of various incidents, including the changes in legal requirements. For example, post-9/11, flight deck doors were identified by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (i.e. Boeing/Airbus) as the strategic point of weakness, and were thus modified to prevent forced entry from the cabin side of the door. However, there have been numerous in-flight security events where the occupants of the flight deck have taken advantage of such changes, preventing access to the flight deck prior to a catastrophic crash. Likewise, in-flight data recording of flight parameters and noises/ voices inside the flight deck were designed to capture at least the last 30 minutes of the flight prior to a crash. While the explanation of development of these devices is common knowledge, the modern-day use of this captured data from the ‘black boxes’ is not well explained, and the recording of multiple systems gives engineers on the ground technical insight into how the air-craft is performing, to allow for better
planning of maintenance activities. This application of technology can be further extended if the aircraft were to live stream all of the component data via a satellite communication service, allowing for real-time maintenance predictions. Such modifications would also enable Search And Rescue operations to become very precise, to immediately identify where the aircraft is located (from the last transmitted GPS position – longitude/ latitude) and to prevent extended searches for aircraft whose final resting place is unknown at the time of writing (e.g. MH370).
A further consideration is given to the importance of recording information in-flight, if all data can be monitored from the ground. Post catastrophic events (e.g. an aircraft crash), effectively, the ‘black boxes’ would no longer be the sole source of much of the information from within the aircraft, because all the data would have been transferred via satellite data to a ground-based server.
Lastly, the author hoped that further modifications and changes to enhance safety and security would be considered, such as changing protocols that pilots follow in-flight. For example, the Environmental Control System provides fresh air to all the passengers in the aircraft inflight. The hypothetical question is raised, should a pilot (from a secure locked flight deck) be able to turn off all the cabin supplies of fresh air and furthermore depressurise the aircraft: the result of such actions would be unthinkable, but possible in the current technical climate. Should all critical life support systems be controlled from within the confines of a reinforced flight deck, or should certain systems only be deactivated when the aircraft lands with ‘weight on wheels’ detected.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages200
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-29645-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-01344-2, 978-0-367-27519-8
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2021
Publication typeC1 Separate scientific books


  • aviation security
  • aviation safety
  • flight data recording
  • terrorism
  • homicides

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