What is the aircraft black box? Information you need to know about Black Box…
When an aircraft experiences an accident, the most important thing to get the most accurate understanding of the cause of the accident is its blackbox. You may have heard the term blackbox before, but have you ever wondered what it actually is and how it works? If you have that curiosity, today’s post is here to satisfy it as much as possible.
Blackbox is extremely robustly built. Its structure is made of lithium or stainless steel. If the black box is thrown against a concrete wall at 750 km/h, it will survive. It can remain intact for at least 5 minutes with a weight of 2.25 tons at rest. The black box can withstand temperatures of up to 1100 degrees Celsius for an hour without any damage. A black box can survive underwater pressure at a depth of 6,000 meters. Another important feature is its water sensor.
When the blackbox’s special sensor comes into contact with water (ocean/river), it sends a signal every second, from which rescue teams can locate the device and retrieve it. But it can send this signal as long as the blackbox’s battery lasts. usually, A black box can send signals for a maximum of 30 days. And this signal can come up to a maximum of 4 kilometres from underwater.
What is an aircraft black box and how does it work?
An aircraft black box is a device that consists of several parts and stores flight data recordings and cockpit voice recordings. The flight data recorder part is abbreviated as FDR, and the cockpit voice recorder is CVR. The Flight Data Recorder section stores various technical information on the aircraft. These data include the speed of the plane, wind speed, how high the plane is flying, fuel flow, wheel movement etc. Up to 700 such parameters can be stored in the blackbox of large aircraft. On the other hand, the cockpit voice recorder section records all the audio/conversations in the cockpit. This allows the pilot and other crew members to hear conversations and discussions, from which it is possible to get an idea of last-minute problems. The blackbox is located at the rear of the aircraft.
How does it stay intact?
It is made of very hard metal material. It’s made with several layers so that it can survive extreme heat, vandalism, water or extreme pressure. It can remain intact even at 1000 degrees Celsius. The casing of the box is made of stainless steel or titanium shell. A black box can survive underwater pressure at a depth of 6,000 meters. They are integrated into the aircraft only after passing a series of endurance tests.
Separate box of black box
1) Flight Data Recorder: This box contains flight direction, altitude, fuel, speed, turbulence and cabin data. It can record 88 different types of data for about 25 hours. The box can withstand temperatures of about 11,000 degrees Celsius for one hour and 260 degrees Celsius for 10 hours. These boxes are red or pink in colour for easy spotting.
2) Cockpit Voice Recorder: This box records the sounds that occur in the aircraft during the last two hours. It records engine, emergency alarm, cabin and cockpit sounds to predict aircraft conditions before an accident occurs.
It’s not actually black, not even a box
Although the name is ‘black box’, the aircraft’s black box is actually orange in colour. This arrangement is because the orange colour is relatively easy to see. On the other hand, the black box doesn’t really look like a box or a box at all. The most visible structure of the blackbox is a cylinder, which is attached to a platform. The battery is housed in a box-shaped structure next to the cylinder. And the memory unit is in the cylinder. Aeronautical and aeronautical experts do not call it a black box but an ‘Electronic Flight Data Recorder’.
A blackbox flight data recorder usually stores the last 17 to 25 hours of flight data (technical/mechanical information of the aircraft). The cockpit voice recorder records the last 2 hours of conversations between the pilot and his cabin crew. This recording time can be up to 30 minutes on magnetic storage if not a solid-state memory drive.
After finding the aircraft black box of a crashed plane, the process of data recovery begins. Analyzing data from storage requires specialized software and tools. All in all, it can take up to several weeks. It may even take months.
History of Aircraft Black Box
As air accidents increased in 1953-54, it was thought to develop a device that could provide information about the cause of air accidents. Which can also help save aircraft from accidents. Initially, it was red in colour and known as ‘Red Egg’. The inner walls of the device were black in colour, hence the name ‘Black Box’.
The black box is powered by one of two generators A generator has a 28-volt DC source Another is 115 volt AC source.
Third Crew Member (if any)
Right in the middle of the cockpit
Microphones are placed in these places. These microphones pick up the pilots’ conversations, and ambient sounds such as the tap of a switch or a knock. Received and sent to an intermediate device called the associated control unit. This device pre-amplifies those sounds and then sends them to the CVR.
Here the question may arise that if the CVR is capable of recording 30 to 2 hours of noise (depending on the technology), how do they account for so much noise during long flights? In fact, they account for the end times. For example, the magnetic tape of a magnetic CVR rotates one loop every 30 minutes. That is, the same part of the tape is repeated every 30 minutes. The sound recorded in the previous 30 minutes is replaced by the sound of the next 30 minutes. So it doesn’t matter that hours of flying require thousands of yards of tape. Solid-state technology works in the same way in this case.
Magnetic tape black box
Magnetic tape works similarly to the now extinct tape recorder we saw in our childhood. Two small pulleys are placed on either side, and the recording tape is wound from one pulley to another pulley over an electromagnetic head. The electromagnetic head then starts recording data on the tape.
Solid state memory board black box
Let’s see how solid-state memory board technology works, which is much more reliable than magnetic tape. The tape of magnetic tape always moves, that is, it moves from one pulley to another pulley. As a result, it is more likely to tear or dislodge during an accident. The solid-state memory board method is hassle-free. It consists of many memory chips arranged in a special arrangement. Due to the use of memory chips, there are no moving parts in it. As a result, there is no possibility of anything opening or moving or tearing.
The stack of memory chips is kept in a cylindrical compartment called a crash survival memory unit (CSMU) inside the recorder. The data collected by FDR and CVR are stored in these memory chips. This memory board is capable of holding up to 2 hours of audio data from the CVR and up to 25 hours of flight data from the FDR. A variety of sensors are installed at various locations on the aircraft to provide information to the FDR. These sensors measure various parameters like aircraft acceleration, velocity, external thermal pressure, internal thermal pressure, aircraft altitude, flap setting etc. and send them to the recorder.
Whereas magnetic tape recorders can measure only about 100 different parameters, There solid state recorders can measure up to 700 or more such parameters depending on the size of the aircraft. The information received from the sensors first goes to the flight data acquisition unit (FDAU), which is placed in the front of the aircraft. FDAU then sends this information to the black box. Hence FDAU is called the middle manager.
Why is the name of the black box “black” box?
Although the colour of the black box is bright orange, there are several opinions as to why it is called a “black” box. Earlier the colour of these recorders was black; So many say that this is the origin of the name. Others say that after an accident, its colour turns black after an accident, so it is called by this name. Many people say that accidents and deaths are given this name keeping in mind the bad things. Whatever the reason for the name, its function is the same. Holding on to the last moments. And finding it is crucial to retrieve these last moments of information.
In addition to painting the aircraft black box a bright orange colour, several other techniques were added to ensure that it would be found after the accident. Just as reflective material is attached to roadsigns on vehicles or highways, the tape is attached to black boxes. The most important thing that is installed is the underwater locator beacon. The white cylinder-shaped thing written L3 communications are the underwater locator beacon. It also serves as a handle for the ease of carrying the black box.
The part that looks like an eye with black dots white on the left side of the underwater locator beacon in the picture is a special type of sensor called a submergence sensor. This sensor activates the underwater locator beacon when it comes in contact with water. that it turns out, From then on, the underwater locator beacon starts emitting ultrasonic waves once every second for the next 30 days. It can even operate from 14,000 feet underwater.
The sound emanating from it is inaudible to the human ear but can be detected by sonar or acoustical locating devices. After the black box was found, efforts were made to ensure that no further damage was done to its recording devices. Efforts are made to transport it to the laboratory as soon as possible. For that reason, when a black box is recovered from the water, it is submerged in a water-filled container to preserve the environment in which it was found. After going to the laboratory, the experts understand the situation and take measures. But this sound can be detected by sonar or acoustical locating devices. After the black box was found, efforts were made to ensure that no further damage was done to its recording devices. Efforts are made to transport it to the laboratory as soon as possible.
For that reason, when a black box is recovered from the water, it is submerged in a water-filled container to preserve the environment in which it was found. After going to the laboratory, the experts understand the situation and take measures. But this sound can be detected by sonar or acoustical locating devices. After the black box was found, efforts were made to ensure that no further damage was done to its recording devices. Efforts are made to transport it to the laboratory as soon as possible. For that reason, when a black box is recovered from the water, it is submerged in a water-filled container to preserve the environment in which it was found. After going to the laboratory, the experts understand the situation and take measures.
so that it remains intact in the environment in which it was found. After going to the laboratory, the experts understand the situation and take measures. so that it remains intact in the environment in which it was found. After going to the laboratory, the experts understand the situation and take measures. Since the 60s, magnetic tape has been used to hold data in black boxes, which is still widely used. But airline companies have been leaning towards solid-state memory board technology since the 90s. Today, black boxes with magnetic tape are no longer manufactured
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