Over the decades, flying in a commercialairliner has become a relatively safe experience compared to years past. Thatbeing said, flying in an aircraft still carries some level of risk, and thereis always a chance of an incident or accident occurring, potentially resultingin significant financial costs or passenger fatalities.

One of the most straightforward ways toenhance commercial aviation safety is through regular tracking of flight data,which allows for the early detection of issues before they lead to fatalaccidents. This can be achieved by employing specialized equipment called aquick access recorder, which is capable of monitoring flight parameters andidentifying potential problems in advance.

Read on to learn more about quick accessrecorders and why they are a good investment for any company in the aviationindustry.


What Are Quick Access Recorders?

A quick access recorder is a compactelectronic device that can be installed in any aircraft equipped with a datarecorder, regardless of whether it is fixed-wing or rotary-wing. Onceinstalled, a quick access recorder transmits data wirelessly to the groundduring all aspects of flight.

This means that a fixed based operator canreceive 100% of flight data and parameters from the comfort of an office orhangar without needing to remove, upload, or reinstall the quick accessrecorder between downloads.

Quick access recorder data can be collectedand analyzed to show when aircraft parameters change or safety recommendationsfor the aircraft type are exceeded, allowing for procedural changes to be madebefore an accident or incident occurs.

These devices are easy to install and don’trequire any major changes to equipment or panels in the aircraft. Most usersreport installation takes less than 2 hours in total.

Additionally, a quick access recorder canbe installed using the FAA Form 8130-S without requiring a supplemental typecertificate or STC. This makes installation inexpensive for even the smallestaircraft operators.

Flight data monitoring

What Are Quick Access Recorders Used For?

Quick access recorders are used to provideraw flight data quickly and easily to an aviation company. This data istypically recorded by a small device in the cockpit and delivered remotely viaWIFI or LTE to a data analyst program used to catalog and track aircraft/pilottrends.

Quick access recorder data includes flightparameter data similar to that provided by a flight data recorder, in additionto landing data, such as when a plane has a longer landing roll or distancethan expected.


Why Are Quick Access Recorders Important?

Over the years, numerous studies have beenperformed which show that aviation landing incidents, such as running off theend of the runway, can be prevented when long-landing data is accessible andanalyzed on a regular basis. Landing incidents are the most common of allaviation incidents, making up 23% of all incidents reported and 37% of all aircraft incidents which caused fatalities.

The landing phase of a flight is considered the most hazardous primarily due to the highworkload on the pilot, the wide variability of runway conditions, and the closeproximity to the ground during this phase. Consequently, the pilot mayoccasionally make minor errors that may not immediately result in a landingincident, but can accumulate over time and potentially contribute to a landingincident or accident.

In one of the aforementioned studies onlanding incidents, performed by the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands,it was discovered that aircraft begin to have longer landing rolls long beforethey have a landing incident such as running off the end of the runway.

This means if an aviation company cansuccessfully track this long landing data, they can be aware of a plane whichmay need more maintenance to avoid a landing incident, or a pilot who may needmore training to avoid a future landing incident long before it happens. Theycan then provide the proper maintenance or training to prevent the landingincident from occurring.

Traditional flight data recorders arecumbersome when it comes to collecting data. Often they aren’t wireless andrequire removal and reinstallation in the aircraft for data to be collected.This makes it impossible to collect data from every flight and can leavemassive holes in data collection because companies don’t want to lose the moneyit would cost to take an aircraft out of service temporarily.  

Since the quick access recorder transmitsdata wirelessly, it allows aviation companies to collect all necessary dataneeded to track patterns and catch issues before they become a problem withoutthe opportunity cost of taking a plane out of service.  Not only that, but data can be analyzed underseveral different parameters to locate the true culprit of the long landing,rather than just blaming it as one of the many factors involved.

Quick access recorders aren’t currentlyrequired aircraft equipment, but considering they have the power to reduce upto 37% of the fatalities in the aviation operation field, they are definitelyimportant and should be considered essential to any operator.

Plus, the more incidents and accidents thatare avoided contributes directly to lower costs associated with insurance premiums and high incident/accident deductibles.This can save your company thousands of dollars.


Types of Quick Access Recorders

Not all quick access recorders are createdequal and there are a few different ones to choose from. Below are a few of theoptions available on the market.


uQAR0, stands for ultra quick accessrecorder 0, and it is the simplest version, which isn’t a bad thing. The uQAR0is secure and efficient and allows for 5,000 hours of flight data to be stored.It has an embedded WIFI source which allows it to transmit recorded data to anydevice with a WIFI connection, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

One of the things that keeps the uQAR0simple is that it doesn’t require a data card to record data. This means nosmall pieces to lose or replace. There also won’t be any issues of dataduplication or loss due to memory card usage. You will, however, need toremember to log in regularly to manually download the desired data remotely.

Ideal for smaller fixed based operators,the uQAR0 is perfect for flight schools, part 135 operators, and more.



The uQAR1 is one stop up from the uQAR0 andboasts increased storage capabilities. Additionally, using the same embeddedWIFI source from the uQAR0, this version of the quick access recorderautomatically transmits data, meaning there is no need to remember to log inand download the information. Data transmissions can be set up for varioustimes and frequencies.

It also automatically detects and recordsaircraft landing data, providing additional safety for avoiding landingincidents. The uQAR1 is recommended for larger fixed based and part 135operators, who run regular operations and may not remember to log in todownload data from time to time. It is also ideal for those operators who wantto regularly download data to analyze pilot and aircraft performance.



The uQAR2 is the most advanced of the quickaccess recorders and has all the features of the uQAR1 as well as additionalLTE technology. This means that a WIFI connection is no longer required fordata collection, and data can be sent anywhere there is an LTE signal. The LTEsignal is configured to use 3G, 4G, and 5G networks.

Like the uQAR1, you can set up automaticdata downloads to any device with whatever frequency you desire. Ideal forlarge operators and airlines, the uQAR2 offers the most data download optionsand allows for the maximum data analysis.

Unsure which quick access recorder is bestfor your business? Flight Data Technologies can help. Contact ustoday for a consultation and to request a demo of a quick access recorder.  


Do You Need a STC Certificate for Quick Access RecorderInstallation?

Under most cases, a STC, or supplemental type certificate is not needed toinstall a uQAR in your aircraft, no matter what your aircraft type is. In mostcases, the FAA Form 8130-3 is all that is required.

There are a few rare cases where you doneed an STC to install a quick access recorder. If you find this to be thecase, FlightData Technologies does have AML STC’s (approved model listsupplemental type certificates) that can be provided to those who use theirplatform to purchase quick access recorders.


What is the Difference Between a Quick Access Recorder anda Flight Data Recorder?

Many operators think that having flightdata recorders in their aircraft is the same as having a quick access recorder.This couldn’t be further from the truth, as quick access recorders are verydifferent from flight data recorders.

Size and Location

First and foremost, a flight data recorderis often a required large and bulky piece of equipment which contains a cockpitvoice recorder to record the goings on in the cockpit as well as the flightparameters. This device is usually a heavy box installed in a hard-to-reachplace behind aircraft panels where it cannot be easily removed or separatedfrom the aircraft.

In contrast, a quick access recorder issmall enough to be held in your hand and typically installed in the avionicspanel, where it can be installed in just a few minutes. It can also be easilyremoved from the cockpit if needed.


Data Upload Capabilities

While the quick access recorder allows forremote data download, it is rare that a flight data recorder offers thesecapabilities. There are a few in the space that do, but the data downloadprocess is still cumbersome, and often requires for the aircraft to be out ofservice during the process.

Meanwhile, data can be downloaded from aquick access recorder at any time, and typically from any location, especiallyif the uQAR2 is used, which utilizes LTE networks for downloading data.


Types of Data Available

The flight data recorder and cockpit voicerecorder in tandem provide data on almost all aspects of the flight, but thisdata isn’t available immediately. Quick access recorders provide almost thesame amount of data, minus the information recorded by a cockpit voicerecorder.

In addition, the quick access recorderhighlights specific landing data which can easily be analyzed regularly toimprove aircraft safety. Quick access recorder data is specifically gearedtoward improving aircraft safety and there are many programs it can be funneledinto for monitoring aircraft and pilot trends.

While the flight data recorder doestechnically offer more data for download, when the data is downloaded it willbe difficult to sift through as certain data won’t be highlighted as in thecase of the quick access recorder, rather everything will need to be analyzedtediously—which is why flight data recorder data is rarely analyzed, except inthe case of an accident investigation when the cost and consumption of time isusually covered by insurance companies.



There is a lot of data involved inperfecting aviation safety, and the quick access recorder is designed to makeit easier on data analysts to narrow down issues for the purpose of improvingaircraft safety.

Flight data recorder data does no suchthing and is designed to display a full picture of aircraft operation after anaccident has occurred, meaning the data presented isn’t convenient to catalogand use to model issues which may be presenting themselves before an accidentduring normal flight operation.


Ready to Improve Your Company’s Safety?

No matter how you look at it, a quickaccess recorder is essential for improving aviation safety and can go a longway toward lessening the chances of a major incident or accident occurring.While they aren’t required, quick access recorders are recommended for allaviation companies, no matter how large or small.

Contact Flight Data Technologies to learn moreabout which quick access recorder might be best for you, and to request a demoso your company can start improving on safety and saving money today!

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