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The Aeroplane Black Box
Transcript of The Aeroplane Black Box
As technology continues to develop it is likely that Black Boxes, or flight data recorders, will become more and more sophisticated and more reliable, giving Air Crash Investigators more to go on when painstakingly trying to piece together what caused a plane crash.
Potentially, the humble MP3 player – adored by music fans the world over - could become part of the flight data recording software. In 2007, US light aircraft manufacturer LoPresti Speed Merchants announced that it planned to fully integrate the device as flight data recorder on all of its Fury piston aircraft. The company believes that if suitable software was used then MP3s would be capable of recording over 500 hours of flight time data.
What is a Black Box?
Who invented it?
The cockpit voice recorder was first invented by a juvenile Australian scientist named Dr. David Warren. Warren was working at the Aeronautical Research Laboratory in Melbourne in the mid-1950s. He was then involved in the accident investigation surrounding the mysterious crash of the world’s first jet-powered commercial aircraft, which was known as the Comet.
After realizing that it would be more helpful if there was something that recorded what the crew members had said before the crash, he got to work on creating one. The Flight Data Recorder was also invented by Dr. David Warren for he had developed an interest in air crash investigations.
What's inside a black box?
There are many parts that make up the black box. They are listed as follows:
- aircraft interface board - acquisition processor board
- audio compressor board - high-temperature insulation
- stainless steel shell - memory interface cable
- stacked memory boards - underwater locator beacon
A Plane Crash!
Two black boxes were found in the crash site of The Boeing 737 jetliner, but were significantly damaged. The video recordings were also not at a very high quality since it was dark at the time.
The Parts of a Black Box
We will be talking briefly about the
Underwater Locator Beacon
found inside a black box.
The Airplane "Black" Box
By Kerry Zheng & Natalie Lam
Black boxes have been used since the earliest days of aviation. The Wright brothers carried the first flight recorder aloft on one of their initial flights.
Nowadays, any commercial airplane or corporate jet must be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder and a flight data recorder. These two items of separate equipment commonly refer to as a ‘Black Box.’ While they do nothing to help the plane when it is in the air, both these pieces of equipment are vitally important should the plane crash, as they help crash investigators find out what happened just before the crash.
Dr. David Warren
Cockpit Voice Recorder
The Black Box
Aircraft Interface -
a port that serves as the connection for the input devices from which black boxes obtain all their information about the plane. A microphone inside it picks up sounds that may aid investigators in determining the cause of a crash, such as engine noises, stall warnings, landing gear extensions and retractions, and other clicks and pops. These sounds can help determine the time at which certain crash-related events occurred. The microphone also relays communications with Air Traffic Control, automated radio weather briefings, and conversation between the pilots and ground or cabin crew.
Underwater Locator Beacon -
Each recorder may be equipped with an Underwater Locator Beacon (ULB) to assist in identifying its location in the event of an overwater accident. The device, informally known as a "pinger," is activated when the recorder is immersed in water. It transmits an acoustical signal
that can be detected with a special receiver.
The Flight Data Recorder
The main purpose of the Cockpit Voice Recorder is, unsurprisingly, to record what the crew say and monitor any sounds that occur within the cockpit. While investigators might be interested in any witty banter between pilots that went on just before an explosion or plane malfunction, trained investigators are keen to pick up on sounds such as engine noise, stall warnings or emergency pings and pops. Investigators are so skilled that they are then able to work out crucial flight information such as the speed the plane was traveling and engine rpm and can sometimes pinpoint the cause of a crash from the very sounds the plane was making before it crashed.
The Cockpit Voice Recorder is also extremely important for determining the timing of events as it contains information such as communication between the crew and ground control and other aircraft. The Cockpit Voice Recorder is usually located in the tail of a plane.
This piece of equipment is essential to the work of Air Crash Investigators as it records the many different operating functions of a plane all at once, such as the time, altitude, airspeed and direction the plane is heading. But these are just the primary functions of the recorder, in fact, modern Flight Data Recorders are able to monitor countless other actions undertaken by the plane, such as the movement of individual flaps on the wings, auto-pilot and fuel gauge. The data stored on the recorders helps Air Crash Investigators generate computer video reconstructions of a flight, so that they can visualize how a plane was being handled shortly before its crash.
Here's an example of black boxes being used to figure out what happened before the crash.
Author Unknown. Black Box Flight Recorder Invented In Melbourne. Online. Date of document unknown. <http://www.abc.net.au/ archives/80days/stories/2011/10/27/3367965.htm> (visited: December 9, 2013).
Author Unknown. Black Box. Online. Date of document unknown. <http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blblackbox.htm> (visited: December 11, 2013).
Author Unknown. What is a Black Box? Online. Date of document unknown. <http://natgeotv.com/uk/aircrash-investigation/black-box> (visited: December 12, 2013).
Author Unknown. Pacific Air Lines Flight 773. Online. November, 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Air_Lines_Flight_773> (visited: December 13, 2013).
Author Unknown. Last Words… Online. Date of document unknown. <http://planecrashinfo.com/lastwords.htm> (visited: December 14, 2013).
Author Unknown. Black Box: Background. Online. Date of document unknown. <http://www.madehow.com/Vol
ume-3/Black-Box.html> (visited: December 16, 2013).
Bonsor, Kevin. After a Crash. Online. Date of Document unknown. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/tr
ansport/flight/modern/black-box8.htm> (visited: December 17, 2013).
The 3rd Generation MP3!
The 2nd Generation MP3!
The MP3 Today!
How strong can a black box be?
Here is a short video showing experts trying to test the strength of a black box against different conditions that it could face in a plane crash.
5:13 - 9:05