A flight recorder is a device located in aircraft that records data that can be helpful in determining the circumstances surrounding a crash. Many aircraft have two devices: a voice recorder and a flight data recorder. Flight recorders are often referred to as “black boxes”, although they are usually painted light orange.
Cockpit voice recorders are a type of flight recorder. As the name implies, cockpit dictaphones are located in the cockpit of an aircraft. They record at least 30 minutes of sound from the cockpit. This recording may include crew conversation, alarms, engine noise and other audible feedback.
A flight data recorder is another type of flight recorder. This type of recorder records various parameters associated with the aircraft. Legally, the number and type of parameters required to be registered vary by location. Some elements that can be taken up are altitude, speed and acceleration.
Both types of aircraft recorders are used together to provide investigators with the critical details of a crash. Many times, the flight recorder system is the only element that survives a crash intact, so it is understandable that it is sought after almost immediately. Without it, important details that can unlock the mystery of the accident may be left undiscovered.
Through repeated use and advancements in technology, manufacturers are learning that not only can aircraft recorders be used to provide details about a crash, they can also be used to prevent accidents before they happen. Data recorded during flights can be analyzed and used to create better performance aircraft. In addition, the data can be used in training pilots on ways to respond to changing conditions during a flight.
Flight recorders are also used to monitor the health and safety of an aircraft. Data recorded by a flight recorder can be analyzed to let the aircraft manufacturer or operator know when maintenance needs to be performed, if something is not working properly, or if an item needs to be replaced. All this can do a lot to prevent future accidents.
Deep water crashes, or so horrible that a flight recorder was smashed to the sting, led manufacturers to develop recorders that could even be ejected during a crash. Some even use sonar or radio technology to help investigators find the recorder. This has helped to make it easier to find out what happened in a number of crashes.
- Cockpit conversations are among the many data sets recorded by fly recorders.