What is the black boxes of the aircraft - the device, a description and interesting facts

When another plane crash in the messages immediately begin to talk about finding a black box of the aircraft. What is it and why is it needed? Black boxes - or flight recorders - are recording devices in a protective shell, which is made of heavy-duty material. Outside the hull can be a parallelepiped, a cylinder or a ball. It is painted in bright orange or red color, which helps to detect it.

Black Box History

The date of creation of the first on-board recorder, the “slayer” (as it is called in flight circles), is considered to be 1939. This event happened in France. The recorder was a multichannel oscilloscope, the body of which was similar to a box and was black, from which the name “black box” originated. His function was to record the speed, altitude and other basic parameters of the flight.Serial production of flight recorders began in 1947. Somewhat later, in the 1950s, they began to record with the use of magnetic tape and voice conversations of pilots.black boxes of crashed planesLater, the speech recorder was separated from the parametric and placed in the cockpit. And the other put in the tail of the plane. Since the cabin is subject to greater destruction than the tail of the aircraft, in the future and speech recorder moved to the tail. Asbestos was used to protect the recorders. It was mandatory to equip planes used for passenger transport with black boxes in Australia in 1960. After some time, other countries followed suit. Now the flight recorder is a mandatory device on board the aircraft. With its help, they establish the cause of the disaster, find out all the circumstances of the tragedy. This further contributes to the prevention of new accidents.

Flight recorder device

Black boxes with their records provide invaluable assistance in investigating the causes of aircraft crashes. International standards provide for each aircraft to have two recorders.How does the black box of the aircraft? For the preservation of information, it must have a solid structure. For its manufacture using titanium or high-strength steel. Inside the case is a layer of thermal insulation that protects the chips from the high temperatures that occur during a fire or explosion. How does the black box of the aircraft (the diagram below shows it), is easy to understand.aircraft black boxIn modern recorders information is in flash memory. In addition, the box contains printed circuits that are designed to process and compress incoming information. The design of black boxes is constantly being improved. Each recorder is periodically certified.

Modern recorders

They have gone a long way of improvement and are very different from their ancestors. What is a black box in an airplane? It serves to collect various information. Black boxes record the following data:

  • technical - engine speed, fuel and hydraulic pressure, temperature;
  • navigation data - speed, altitude, roll, steering deflection;
  • crew actions - the release and cleaning of the landing gear, all actions to control the aircraft.

On all modern liners there are two recorders. One is used to record the negotiations, which leads the crew, and is called speech, the other records all the parameters of the flight and is called parametric. All information is recorded on optical, it is film, or magnetic (magnetic tape and metal wire) media. Recently, flash memory has become increasingly common. With the transition to it, the recording system became more reliable, since the moving parts disappeared. To increase the strength of the device, the black box of the aircraft was subjected to multiple modifications and tests. Recorders save data:

  • up to 3,500 G current overload;
  • 0.5 hours while on fire;
  • month in the water at a depth of 6 km;
  • 5 min at static overload more than 2 tons.

Black boxes in the aircraft are located in the rear fuselage. According to statistics, it is the least damaged in accidents. Most of the time, the nose of the aircraft experiences a blow.

What does a black box look like on a plane?

The appearance of the recorder can be described as follows: most often it has a rounded shape. This is done so that when the plane falls, there is as little damage as possible, since the bodies of this form are less susceptible to the effects of force.aircraft black box deviceThe black box is always painted in a bright color, it makes it possible to quickly notice it in the search areas after the plane crash. In addition, the recorders are equipped with special beacons, which begin to work when in contact with water. When an aircraft falls into the water, the underwater acoustic beacon emits a signal within 30 days from a depth of six kilometers.

Types of flight recorders

As mentioned above, on board the aircraft are two recorders: voice and parametric.

Speech records not only all the conversations of the crew members and their negotiations with the dispatchers, but also the sounds that are present in the cockpit and keep them for the last two hours.

Parametric take data from different sensors. They contain information starting from the coordinates of the course and ending with engine revolutions. The parameters of each parameter are recorded once per second, and if they begin to change quickly, the frequency of registration also increases. Recording is done in cycles, like car DVRs: old data is overwritten by new ones. The cycle time is quite long and is up to 25 hours, it is enough for any flight.

what does a black box look like on a planeBoth types of black boxes of the aircraft can be combined into one device.Parametric devices record only the data that may be required in the investigation of the accident. All recordings on storage media are securely protected. They withstand temperatures from -60 to +55 degrees. The main protection is provided by the filler, which is located inside the case.

Operational Recorder

Everything that happens on board, record operational devices that are not protected. Ground personnel reads information after each flight for control. The data is deciphered and analyzed - whether the crew acted correctly during the flight. In addition, the data obtained help to establish the development of the resource of the aircraft and make repairs on time. This leads to increased equipment reliability and flight safety.

How to decipher a black box

The data that is in the black box of the crashed aircraft is not encrypted. For their capture, a commission of experts is assembled, who simply read from the carrier the information available on it and, in a convenient form for reading and analysis, is recorded in a report. The procedure for removing data is not difficult.This can be done at any airport. There is no protection of information from strangers.what is the black box in the planeAccording to statistics, quite often there are damage recorders. Information can often be considered by gluing together separate fragments of a tape and restoring the surviving parts of the microcircuits. This process requires special laboratory conditions and takes a lot of time. The main purpose of the recorders on board the aircraft is to obtain data to establish the causes of the disaster and prevent the recurrence of such situations. Information black boxes analyze the controller, pilots, navigators and technical experts.

Prospects for the development of recorders

Every year more stringent requirements are imposed on black boxes. One of the immediate prospects is to record on the video carrier the external surface of the aircraft and its internal part. Scientists hope that this innovation will lead to a complete replacement of instruments in the cockpit with displays that will provide more reliable information in the event of an accident. Although the switch instruments can determine what he recorded at the last moment before the accident.

how does the black box of the planeIn some cases, the black boxes after the crash can not be detected. This mainly happens when the plane falls into the water to great depths. Therefore, in the future, it is envisaged to install recorders, which at the time of the accident could eject and remain afloat. And the possibility of rewriting all the data from the black box to servers on the ground is being worked out. In this case, there is no need to search for the recorder. An intact device stops working when there is no power, and this can occur during an explosion. If there is power supply, the black box records data in all conditions. Therefore, in the future it is planned for the recorders to make an autonomous power supply in order to save as much information as possible.

It is interesting

  1. To record data in the first black boxes, a tape of steel was used, which was placed in a robust case. Recording was carried out using a cast iron tip. The amount of information was limited, since the foil spoiled and was used only once.
  2. Magnetic tapes have been used since 1965. At first they recorded only sound, and then they began to use it to record data.
  3. Chips became the carrier of information only in the nineties.
  4. For 40 years, black boxes were installed on nearly 100,000 aircraft, each costing 10–20 thousand dollars.
  5. The service life of recorders increased after the introduction of certification on them.


Thanks to technical progress, black boxes have become much lighter and more compact, more reliable in operation. The recorder is not afraid of extreme temperatures and can be in seawater for a considerable time, exposed to various extreme influences, maintaining information without damage.black box historyThe data taken from the black box of the aircraft helps to simulate the situation that preceded the accident and to help find the cause of the disaster. Materials after investigations are used to work in gyms, simulating real situations for pilot training.

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