Aircraft flight recorders are also known as black boxes, these are used for the purpose of investigating a plane crash. Contrary to its name, it is painted bright orange with reflective colours. Their colour helps finding them in the wreckage of a plane crash. An underwater locater beacon is also inserted in them, so as to make them easy to locate in case the debris of the place falls into water bodies. In 1953, David Warren an Australian researcher invented the first prototype for this device to record cockpit noise and the readings of instruments during flight. Early models of this device could only record basic flight conditions likedirection, height, speed of air, acceleration of the flight and time. However, the modern black boxes could also measure throttle speed and the positions of flight-control.
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Market for Black Boxes
The global market for aircraft flight recorders or black boxes was evaluated to be USD 136.74 million in 2014, and is expected to reachUSD 166.08 million in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 3.22% for this time period. The market driving factor for the black boxes are the increasing number of flights both national and international, the loss of aircrafts during long flights and the competition between the airlines franchises to make their flights safer. As the data which is recovered from the black boxes can find the cause of flight crashes and thus can be used to improve the flight safety, giving the airlines an incentive to employ such safety measures.
Components of the Black Box
- The cockpit voice recorder: The purpose of this device is to record everything the crew says and monitor any other sounds that may be heard inside the cockpit. It is used to determine the cause of crash from any conversation that happened between the pilot and the co-pilot and some experienced investigators can even find out the speed of the plane, the rpm of engine and the cause of crash by the sound of equipment just before the crash.
- The Flight Data Recorder: It stores the data from the flight equipment during every second of the flight. It can record the time, altitude, acceleration of the plane, auto pilot function and fuel gauge. After the recovery of the black box the data can be used to find out the conditions which caused the crash.
Recovery of the Black Box
Black boxes are made to catch the eye amid the huge mounds of debris of a plane crash. But even if it falls into water it sends out an ultrasonic pulse which can be detected by SONAR. These boxes are made to undergo several fire and piercing tests, and they have the ability to work under the pressure which is encountered 20,000 feet below the ocean. They can also withstand a 3,400-g crash-impact which makes them survive a crash physically.