Saturday, October 10, 2015

What is the color of black box?


That is the color of black box a.k.a Flight Data Recorder (FDR). 

Black box is designed to survive large impact and resist fire. And it comes in orange. 

It's orange because it was the only color that made the box pretty. 

I'm kidding of-course.

Since the purpose of the black box is to record flight data to be analysed after a crash; it has to stand out from the rest of debris. 

Why should it stand out from "debris" ? 

Have a taste of reality, can you recognize any small equipment from the pic below:

This is just one part of the aircraft. Depending on the crash debris can be in worse conditions. Maybe in a dark jungle. Or deep under ocean.

Every debris will have many shattered pieces jumbled all over up and burned. If the black box was indeed black in color, it would be tenacious job for the investigators to find black box. They would have to go through each and every piece to find the FDR.

And they have to find it fast. In fact, after survivors, finding the black box is the priority. They have to know what caused the crash. If the reason has something to do with aircraft model itself, they can ask airlines all around the world to ground the aircraft until  the issue is solved. Only black box may have the answer to what happened to the flight , that could possibly stop similar tragedies in future. 

Isn't it bizarre to think that when you are flying, there is a system that records the flight data, so that in the event of a crash, they will know why it happened? Such is the dedication to safety in aviation industry. And still my mom says it's too dangerous to fly. 

So the color of black box is orange, Then why is it named "black"? Isn't it easy to call it "orange box"?

Well, it is a a common term used in computing and engineering (especially electronics). 

A black box is a device which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs, without any knowledge of its internal workings. It's implementation is "opaque" (black). (Ref:Wikipedia)

What it means is that implementing a black box does not effect any other systems. It's like a photograph that takes the moment and stores it. Doesn't know what it is or why it is. Even if it's taken away, none other systems are effected. 

Aviation industry  values technical functionality of a system rather than it's aesthetics. It's what's inside that matters not the outside look.

With that thought in mind, I thank you guys for reading. 



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