Concerned over the finding that several small aircraft and helicopters were operating without cockpit voice recorders, aviation regulator DGCA has now made it mandatory for all their operators to fit black boxes in them by the year-end.
The amendment to the Civil Aviation Rule (CAR) also makes it mandatory that all aircraft being imported or leased from now on should be fitted with Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVRs) or black boxes and Cockpit Audio Recording System (CARS), official sources said.
During recent safety audits, it was found that a large number of turbine-powered planes and helicopters, including turboprops (turbine-powered propeller aircraft), were not fitted with CVRs or CARS.
Two audits of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) by its US counterpart, Federal Aviation Administration, last year had also pointed towards the deficiency.
Rule 57 of the Aircraft Rules of 1937 requires that every aircraft should be fitted and equipped with instruments and equipment, including radio apparatus and special equipment as may be specified.
A specific CAR on the fitting of CVRs and CARS, introduced in 2012, was amended to make it mandatory for all operators to have these instruments on board the planes or choppers, including those to be imported or leased, by December 31, this year.
The objective of the amendment is to ensure the recording of the aural environment on the flight deck during flight time, the sources said.