Flight recorder

A flight recorder is an electronic recording device placed in an aircraft for the purpose of facilitating the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents. Flight recorders are also known by the misnomer black box—they are in fact bright orange to aid in their recovery after accidents.

There are two different flight recorder devices: the flight data recorder (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several times per second; the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) preserves the recent history of the sounds in the cockpit, including the conversation of the pilots. The two devices may be combined in a single unit. Together, the FDR and CVR give an accurate testimony, narrating the aircraft's flight history, to assist in any later investigation.

The two flight recorders are required by international regulation, overseen by the International Civil Aviation Organization, to be capable of surviving the conditions likely to be encountered in a severe aircraft accident. For this reason, they are typically specified to withstand an impact of 3400 g and temperatures of over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F), as required by EUROCAE ED-112. They have been a mandatory requirement in commercial aircraft in the United States since 1967.

Soviet MS-61 Cockpit Voice Recorder
Soviet MS-61 Cockpit Voice Recorder from a MiG-21 interceptor
Fdr sidefront
An example of a flight data recorder; the underwater locator beacon is the small cylinder on the far right. (Translation of warning message in French: "FLIGHT RECORDER DO NOT OPEN".) The warning appears in English on the other side.


Cockpit voice recorder (on display in the Deutsches Museum). This is a magnetic tape unit built to an old standard TSO C84 as shown on the nameplate. The text on the side in French says "flight recorder do not open"

Early designs

One of the earliest and proven attempts was made by François Hussenot and Paul Beaudouin in 1939 at the Marignane flight test center, France, with their "type HB" flight recorder; they were essentially photograph-based flight recorders, because the record was made on a scrolling photographic film 8 metres (8.7 yd) long by 88 millimetres (3.5 in) wide. The latent image was made by a thin ray of light deviated by a mirror tilted according to the magnitude of the data to record (altitude, speed, etc.).[1] A pre-production run of 25 "HB" recorders was ordered in 1941 and HB recorders remained in use in French flight test centers well into the 1970s.[2]

In 1947, Hussenot founded the Société Française des Instruments de Mesure with Beaudouin and another associate, so as to market his invention, which was also known as the "hussenograph". This company went on to become a major supplier of data recorders, used not only aboard aircraft but also trains and other vehicles. SFIM is today part of the Safran group and is still present on the flight recorder market. The advantage of the film technology was that it could be easily developed afterwards and provides a durable, visual feedback of the flight parameters without needing any playback device. On the other hand, unlike magnetic tapes or later flash memory-based technology, a photographic film cannot be erased and recycled, and so it must be changed periodically. As such, this technology was reserved for one-shot uses, mostly during planned test flights; and it was not mounted aboard civilian aircraft during routine commercial flights. Also, the cockpit conversation was not recorded.

Another form of flight data recorder was developed in the UK during World War II. Len Harrison and Vic Husband developed a unit that could withstand a crash and fire to keep the flight data intact. This unit used copper foil as the recording medium with various styli indicating various instruments / aircraft controls which indented the copper foil. The copper foil was periodically advanced at set periods of time therefore giving a history of the instruments / control settings of the aircraft. This unit was developed at Farnborough for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. At the war's end the Ministry got Harrison and Husband to sign over their invention to it and the Ministry patented it under British patent 19330/45. This unit was the forerunner of today's recorders being able to withstand conditions that aircrew could not.

The first modern flight data recorder, called "Mata Hari", was created in 1942 by Finnish aviation engineer Veijo Hietala. This black high-tech mechanical box was able to record all important details during test flights of fighter aircraft that the Finnish army repaired or built in its main aviation factory in Tampere, Finland.[3]

During World War II both British and American air forces successfully experimented with aircraft voice recorders.[4] In August 1943 the USAAF conducted an experiment with a magnetic wire recorder to capture the inter-phone conversations of a B-17 bomber flight crew on a combat mission over Nazi-occupied France.[5] The recording was broadcast back to the United States by radio two days afterwards.

Australian designs

In 1953, while working at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL) of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, in Melbourne,[6] Australian research scientist David Warren conceived a device that would record not only the instrument readings, but also the voices in the cockpit.[7] In 1954 he published a report entitled "A Device for Assisting Investigation into Aircraft Accidents".[8]

Video clip of 1985 ABC news report interviewing David Warren about his invention

Warren built a prototype FDR called "The ARL Flight Memory Unit" in 1956,[8] and in 1958 he built the first combined FDR/CVR prototype,[7][9] which was designed with civilian aircraft in mind, for explicit post-crash examination purposes.[10] Aviation authorities from around the world were largely uninterested at first, but this changed in 1958 when Sir Robert Hardingham, the Secretary of the British Air Registration Board, visited the ARL and was introduced to David Warren.[6] Hardingham realised the significance of the invention and arranged for Warren to demonstrate the prototype in the UK.[8]

The ARL assigned an engineering team to help Warren develop the prototype to airborne stage. The team, consisting of electronics engineers Lane Sear, Wally Boswell and Ken Fraser, developed a working design that incorporated a fire-resistant and shockproof case, a reliable system for encoding and recording aircraft instrument readings and voice on one wire, and a ground-based decoding device. The ARL system, made by the British firm of S. Davall & Sons Ltd, in Middlesex, was named the "Red Egg" because of its shape and bright red colour.[8]

The units were redesigned in 1965 and relocated at the rear of aircraft to increase the probability of successful data retrieval after a crash.[11]

US designs

NTSB investigators remove the recorders from UPS 1354 (9518908718)
NTSB investigators recover flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from UPS Airlines Flight 1354

The "Flight Recorder" was invented and patented in the United States by Professor James J. "Crash" Ryan, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota from 1931 to 1963. Ryan's "Flight Recorder" patent was filed in August 1953 and approved on November 8, 1960 as US Patent 2,959,459.[12] A second patent by Ryan for a "Coding Apparatus For Flight Recorders and the Like" is US Patent 3,075,192[13] dated January 22, 1963. An early prototype of the Ryan Flight Data Recorder is described in the January 2013 Aviation History Magazine article "Father of the Black Box" by Scott M. Fisher.[14] Ryan, also the inventor of the retractable safety seat belt now required in automobiles, began working on the idea of a flight recorder in 1946, and invented the device in response to the 1948 request from the Civil Aeronautics Board for development of a flight recorder as a means of accumulating data that could be used to get information useful in arriving at operating procedures designed to reduce air mishaps. The original device was known as the "General Mills Flight Recorder". The benefits of the flight recorder and the coding apparatus for flight recorders were outlined by Ryan in his study entitled "Economies in Airline Operation with Flight Recorders" which was entered into the Congressional Record in 1956. Ryan's Flight Recorder maintained a continuing recording of aircraft flight data such as engine exhaust, temperature, fuel flow, aircraft velocity, altitude, control surfaces positions, and rate of descent.

A "Cockpit Sound Recorder" (CSR) was independently invented and patented by Edmund A. Boniface, Jr., an aeronautical engineer at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.[15][16][17] He originally filed with the US Patent Office on February 2, 1961, as an "Aircraft Cockpit Sound Recorder".[18] The 1961 invention was viewed by some as an "invasion of privacy". Subsequently Boniface filed again on February 4, 1963 for a "Cockpit Sound Recorder" (US Patent 3,327,067)[15] with the addition of a spring-loaded switch which allowed the pilot to erase the audio/sound tape recording at the conclusion of a safe flight and landing. Boniface's participation in aircraft crash investigations in the 1940s[19] and in the accident investigations of the loss of one of the wings at cruise altitude on each of two Lockheed Electra turboprop powered aircraft (Flight #542 operated by Braniff Airlines in 1959 and Flight #710 operated by Northwest Orient Airlines in 1961) led to his wondering what the pilots may have said just prior to the wing loss and during the descent as well as the type and nature of any sounds or explosions that may have preceded or occurred during the wing loss. His patent was for a device for recording audio of pilot remarks and engine or other sounds to be "contained with the in-flight recorder within a sealed container that is shock mounted, fireproofed and made watertight" and "sealed in such a manner as to be capable of withstanding extreme temperatures during a crash fire". The CSR was an analog device which provided a progressive erasing/recording loop (lasting 30 or more minutes) of all sounds (explosion, voice, and the noise of any aircraft structural components undergoing serious fracture and breakage) which could be overheard in the cockpit.[20]


J M Briscoe24 07 200713 05 14IMG2104 GEE AIRBORNE
GEE airborne equipment, with the R1355 receiver on the left and the Indicator Unit Type 62A 'black box' on the right.

The origin of the term "black box" is British jargon from World War II and stems from the employment of developmental radio, radar, and electronic navigational aids in British and Allied combat aircraft.  These often-secret electronic devices were literally encased in non-reflective black boxes or housings.  The earliest identified reference to “black boxes” occurs in a May 1945 Flight article, “Radar for Airlines,” describing the application of wartime RAF radar and navigational aids to civilian aircraft: “The stowage of the ‘black boxes’ and, even more important, the detrimental effect on performance of external aerials, still remain as a radio and radar problem.”[21]

Also, magnetic tape and wire voice recorders had been tested on RAF and USAAF bombers by 1943 thus adding to the assemblage of fielded and experimental electronic devices employed on Allied aircraft.  As early as 1944 aviation writers envisioned use of these recording devices on commercial aircraft to aid incident investigations.[22] When modern fight recorders were proposed to the British Aeronautical Research Council in 1958, the term “black box” was in colloquial use by experts.[23]

By 1967 when flight recorders were mandated by leading aviation countries, the casual misnomer had found its way into general use: “These so-called ‘black boxes’ are, in fact, of florescent flame-orange in colour.”[24]

Nevertheless, the technically precise terms used among aviation experts today are “flight data recorder” and “cockpit voice recorder,” respectively. The recorders are not permitted to be black in color, and must be bright orange, as they are intended to be spotted and recovered after incidents.[25]


Flight data recorder

Black box.aeroplane
A typical flight recorder
Cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, each with an underwater locator beacon on the front
An underwater locator beacon, with a ballpoint pen to provide scale
Two-In-One Data Recorder
A Cockpit Voice and Data Recorder (CVDR), with its attached ULB visible on the left side of the unit
A flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder installed on their mounting trays in the rear fuselage of an aircraft

A flight data recorder (FDR; also ADR, for accident data recorder) is an electronic device employed to record instructions sent to any electronic systems on an aircraft.

The data recorded by the FDR are used for accident and incident investigation. Due to their importance in investigating accidents, these ICAO-regulated devices are carefully engineered and constructed to withstand the force of a high speed impact and the heat of an intense fire. Contrary to the popular term "black box", the exterior of the FDR is coated with heat-resistant bright orange paint for high visibility in wreckage, and the unit is usually mounted in the aircraft's tail section, where it is more likely to survive a severe crash. Following an accident, the recovery of the FDR is usually a high priority for the investigating body, as analysis of the recorded parameters can often detect and identify causes or contributing factors.[26]

Modern day FDRs receive inputs via specific data frames from the Flight Data Acquisition Units (FDAU). They record significant flight parameters, including the control and actuator positions, engine information and time of day. There are 88 parameters required as a minimum under current US federal regulations (only 29 were required until 2002), but some systems monitor many more variables. Generally each parameter is recorded a few times per second, though some units store "bursts" of data at a much higher frequency if the data begin to change quickly. Most FDRs record approximately 17–25 hours of data in a continuous loop. It is required by regulations that an FDR verification check (readout) is performed annually in order to verify that all mandatory parameters are recorded.

Modern FDRs are typically double wrapped in strong corrosion-resistant stainless steel or titanium, with high-temperature insulation inside. Modern FDRs are accompanied by an underwater locator beacon that emits an ultrasonic "ping" to aid in detection when submerged. These beacons operate for up to 30 days and are able to operate while immersed to a depth of up to 6,000 meters (20,000 ft).[27][28]

Cockpit voice recorder

Both side views of a cockpit voice recorder, one type of flight recorder

A cockpit voice recorder (CVR) is a flight recorder used to record the audio environment in the flight deck of an aircraft for the purpose of investigation of accidents and incidents. This is typically achieved by recording the signals of the microphones and earphones of the pilots' headsets and of an area microphone in the roof of the cockpit. The current applicable FAA TSO is C123b titled Cockpit Voice Recorder Equipment.[29]

Where an aircraft is required to carry a CVR and uses digital communications the CVR is required to record such communications with air traffic control unless this is recorded elsewhere. As of 2008 it is an FAA requirement that the recording duration is a minimum of two hours.[30]

A standard CVR is capable of recording 4 channels of audio data for a period of 2 hours. The original requirement was for a CVR to record for 30 minutes, but this has been found to be insufficient in many cases, significant parts of the audio data needed for a subsequent investigation having occurred more than 30 minutes before the end of the recording.

The earliest CVRs used analog wire recording, later replaced by analog magnetic tape. Some of the tape units used two reels, with the tape automatically reversing at each end. The original was the ARL Flight Memory Unit produced in 1957 by Australian David Warren and an instrument maker named Tych Mirfield.

Other units used a single reel, with the tape spliced into a continuous loop, much as in an 8-track cartridge. The tape would circulate and old audio information would be overwritten every 30 minutes. Recovery of sound from magnetic tape often proves difficult if the recorder is recovered from water and its housing has been breached. Thus, the latest designs employ solid-state memory and use digital recording techniques, making them much more resistant to shock, vibration and moisture. With the reduced power requirements of solid-state recorders, it is now practical to incorporate a battery in the units, so that recording can continue until flight termination, even if the aircraft electrical system fails.

Like the FDR, the CVR is typically mounted in the rear of the airplane fuselage to maximize the likelihood of its survival in a crash.[31]

Combined units

With the advent of digital recorders, the FDR and CVR can be manufactured in one fireproof, shock proof, and waterproof container as a combined digital Cockpit Voice and Data Recorder (CVDR). Currently, CVDRs are manufactured by L-3 Communications,[32] as well as by other manufacturers.

Solid state recorders became commercially practical in 1990, having the advantage of not requiring scheduled maintenance and making the data easier to retrieve. This was extended to the two-hour voice recording in 1995.[33]

Additional equipment

Since the 1970s, most large civil jet transports have been additionally equipped with a "quick access recorder" (QAR). This records data on a removable storage medium. Access to the FDR and CVR is necessarily difficult because of the requirement that they survive an accident. They also require specialized equipment to read the recording. The QAR recording medium is readily removable and is designed to be read by equipment attached to a standard desktop computer. In many airlines, the quick access recordings are scanned for 'events', an event being a significant deviation from normal operational parameters. This allows operational problems to be detected and eliminated before an accident or incident results.

Many modern aircraft systems are digital or digitally controlled. Very often, the digital system will include Built-In Test Equipment which records information about the operation of the system. This information may also be accessed to assist with the investigation of an accident or incident.


Cockpit voice recorder memory module of PR-GTD, a Gol Transportes Aéreos Boeing 737-8EH SFP, found in the Amazon in Mato Grosso, Brazil.
Caixa-Preta GOL
After the crash of Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907, Brazilian Air Force personnel show the recovered flight data recorder

The design of today's FDR is governed by the internationally recognized standards and recommended practices relating to flight recorders which are contained in ICAO Annex 6 which makes reference to industry crashworthiness and fire protection specifications such as those to be found in the European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment[34] documents EUROCAE ED55, ED56 fiken A and ED112 (Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recorder Systems). In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates all aspects of US aviation, and cites design requirements in their Technical Standard Order,[35] based on the EUROCAE documents (as do the aviation authorities of many other countries).

Currently, EUROCAE specifies that a recorder must be able to withstand an acceleration of 3400 g (33 km/s²) for 6.5 milliseconds. This is roughly equivalent to an impact velocity of 270 knots (310 mph; 500 km/h) and a deceleration or crushing distance of 45 cm.[36] Additionally, there are requirements for penetration resistance, static crush, high and low temperature fires, deep sea pressure, sea water immersion, and fluid immersion.

EUROCAE ED-112 (Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recorder Systems) defines the minimum specification to be met for all aircraft requiring flight recorders for recording of flight data, cockpit audio, images and CNS / ATM digital messages and used for investigations of accidents or incidents.[37] When issued in March 2003 ED-112 superseded previous ED-55 and ED-56A that were separate specifications for FDR and CVR. FAA TSOs for FDR and CVR reference ED-112 for characteristics common to both types.

In order to facilitate recovery of the recorder from an aircraft accident site they are required to be coloured bright yellow or orange with reflective surfaces. All are lettered "FLIGHT RECORDER DO NOT OPEN" on one side in English and the same in French on the other side. To assist recovery from submerged sites they must be equipped with an underwater locator beacon which is automatically activated in the event of an accident.


In the investigation of the 1960 crash of Trans Australia Airlines Flight 538 at Mackay (Queensland), the inquiry judge strongly recommended that flight recorders be installed in all Australian airliners. Australia became the first country in the world to make cockpit-voice recording compulsory.[38][39]

DFDR from Flight 294
The Digital Flight Data Recorder from West Air Sweden Flight 294. All data was collected, even though the rest of the aircraft was heavily fragmented

The United States' first CVR rules were passed in 1964, requiring all turbine and piston aircraft with four or more engines to have CVRs by March 1, 1967.[40] As of 2008 it is an FAA requirement that the CVR recording duration is a minimum of two hours,[30] following the NTSB recommendation that it should be increased from its previously-mandated 30-minute duration.[41] As of 2014, the United States requires flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders on aircraft that have 20 or more passenger seats, or those that have six or more passenger seats, are turbine-powered, and require two pilots.[42]

For US air carriers and manufacturers, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for investigating accidents and safety-related incidents. The NTSB also serves in an advisory role for many international investigations not under its formal jurisdiction. The NTSB does not have regulatory authority, but must depend on legislation and other government agencies to act on its safety recommendations.[43] In addition, 49 USC Section 1114(c) prohibits the NTSB from making the audio recordings public except by written transcript.[44]

The ARINC Standards are prepared by the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC). The 700 Series of standards describe the form, fit, and function of avionics equipment installed predominately on transport category aircraft. The FDR is defined by ARINC Characteristic 747. The CVR is defined by ARINC Characteristic 757.[45]

Proposed requirements

Deployable recorders

The NTSB recommended in 1999 that operators be required to install two sets of CVDR systems, with the second CVDR set being "deployable or ejectable". The "deployable" recorder combines the cockpit voice/flight data recorders and an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) in a single unit. The "deployable" unit would depart the aircraft before impact, activated by sensors. The unit is designed to "eject" and "fly" away from the crash site, to survive the terminal velocity of fall, to float on water indefinitely, and would be equipped with satellite technology for immediate location of crash impact site. The "deployable" CVDR technology has been used by the US Navy since 1993.[46] The recommendations would involve a massive retrofit program. However, government funding would negate cost objections from manufacturers and airlines. Operators would get both sets of recorders for free: they would not have to pay for the one set they are currently required by law to carry. The cost of the second "deployable/ejectable CVDR" (or "Black Box") was estimated at US$30 million for installation in 500 new aircraft (about $60,000 per new commercial plane).

In the United States, the proposed SAFE Act calls for implementing the NTSB 1999 recommendations. However, so far the SAFE ACT legislation has failed to pass Congress, having been introduced in 2003 (H.R. 2632), in 2005 (H.R. 3336), and in 2007 (H.R. 4336).[47] Originally the "Safe Aviation Flight Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2003"[48] was introduced on June 26, 2003 by Congressman David Price (NC) and Congressman John Duncan (Tennessee) in a bipartisan effort to ensure investigators have access to information immediately following commercial accidents.[46]

On July 19, 2005, a revised SAFE Act was introduced and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the US House of Representatives. The bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Aviation during the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses.[49][50][51]

Image recorders

The NTSB has asked for the installation of cockpit image recorders in large transport aircraft to provide information that would supplement existing CVR and FDR data in accident investigations. They have recommended that image recorders be placed into smaller aircraft that are not required to have a CVR or FDR.[52] The rationale is that what is seen on an instrument by the pilots of an aircraft is not necessarily the same as the data sent to the display device. This is particularly true of aircraft equipped with electronic displays (CRT or LCD). A mechanical instrument is likely to preserve its last indication, but this is not the case with an electronic display. Such systems, estimated to cost less than $8,000 installed, typically consist of a camera and microphone located in the cockpit to continuously record cockpit instrumentation, the outside viewing area, engine sounds, radio communications, and ambient cockpit sounds. As with conventional CVRs and FDRs, data from such a system is stored in a crash-protected unit to ensure survivability.[52] Since the recorders can sometimes be crushed into unreadable pieces, or even located in deep water, some modern units are self-ejecting (taking advantage of kinetic energy at impact to separate themselves from the aircraft) and also equipped with radio emergency locator transmitters and sonar underwater locator beacons to aid in their location.

After Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

On March 12, 2014, in response to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, David Price re-introduced the SAFE Act in the US House of Representatives.[53]

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 demonstrated the limits of the contemporary flight recorder technology, namely how physical possession of the flight recorder device is necessary to help investigate the cause of an aircraft incident. Considering the advances of modern communication, technology commentators called for flight recorders to be supplemented or replaced by a system that provides "live streaming" of data from the aircraft to the ground.[54][55][56] Furthermore, commentators called for the underwater locator beacon's range and battery life to be extended, as well as the outfitting of civil aircraft with the deployable flight recorders typically used in military aircraft. Previous to MH370, the investigators of the 2009 Air France Flight 447 urged to extend the battery life as "rapidly as possible" after the crash's flight recorders went unrecovered for over a year.[57]

After Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501

On December 28, 2014, Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore, crashed in bad weather, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew on board.[58]

On January 12 and 13, 2015, following the recovery of the flight recorders, an anonymous ICAO representative said: "The time has come that deployable recorders are going to get a serious look." Unlike military recorders, which jettison away from an aircraft, signaling their location to search and rescue bodies, recorders on commercial aircraft remain inside the fuselage. A second ICAO official said that public attention had "galvanized momentum in favour of ejectable recorders on commercial aircraft".[59]

Cultural references

The artwork for the band Rammstein's album Reise, Reise is made to look like a CVR; it also includes a recording from a crash. The recording is from the last 1–2 minutes of the CVR of Japan Airlines Flight 123, which crashed on August 12, 1985, killing 520 people; JAL 123 is the deadliest single-aircraft disaster in history.

Members of the performing arts collective Collective:Unconscious made a theatrical presentation[60] of a play called Charlie Victor Romeo with a script based on transcripts from CVR voice recordings of nine aircraft emergencies. The play features the famous United Airlines Flight 232 that landed in a cornfield near Sioux City, Iowa after suffering a catastrophic failure of one engine and most flight controls.

Survivor, a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, is about a cult member who dictates his life story to a flight recorder before the plane runs out of fuel and crashes.

See also


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  56. ^ Yu, Yijun. "If we’d used the cloud, we might know where MH370 is now", The Conversation (website), London, March 18, 2014. Retrieved on August 21, 2014.
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  58. ^ "AirAsia QZ8501: More bad weather hits AirAsia search". BBC News. January 1, 2015.
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Further reading

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Transportation Safety Board.

2007 Blue Angels South Carolina crash

The 2007 Blue Angels South Carolina crash occurred on April 21, 2007, when the Number 6 US Navy Blue Angels jet crashed during the final minutes of an air show at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina. The sole fatality was the pilot, Lieutenant Commander Kevin "Kojak" Davis. The body of the pilot and the flight recorder were recovered and moved to the local coroner's office.

Eight nearby residents were injured by flying debris.A report was released on January 15, 2008, ending the investigation by the Navy into the crash. The report states that when Lieutenant Commander Davis pulled back into a 6.8-g pull, he lost control of the aircraft due to G-force-induced Loss Of Consciousness (G-LOC).


ARINC 717 defines a digital flight data recorder, with its inputs and outputs. It replaces the older ARINC 573 characteristic, which was based on analog inputs. It allows for more data and real-time recording.

Digital Expandable Flight Data Acquisition and Recording System (DEFDARS) flight recorder output signals include the following:

Primary Output – ARINC 717 Harvard biphase encoding

Auxiliary Output – ARINC 429 (DITS) bi-polar encodingARINC 747 defines an alternate solid state recorder that can be used with an ARINC 717 installation.DEFDARS includes the following component functions

Digital Flight Acquisition Unit (DFAU)

Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR)


Flight Data Entry Panel (optional) for entry of flight data

Air Caraïbes Flight 1501

Air Caraïbes Flight 1501 (TX1501/FWI1501) was a scheduled international passenger flight, flying from Saint Martin Airport in the Dutch overseas territory of Sint Maarten to Saint Barthélemy Airport in the French overseas region of Guadeloupe. The flight was operated by Air Caraïbes, a Caribbean regional airline, using a de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter. On 24 March 2001, during an approach to Saint Barthélemy Airport, the DHC-6 Twin Otter banked steeply to the left and crashed onto a house, killing all 19 passengers and crews on board. One person on the ground was also killed in the explosions that followed.

The crash was the third deadliest plane crash in Guadeloupe, behind Air France Flight 212 and Air France Flight 117, and was the 11th deadliest involving a Twin Otter.

Investigation by the French BEA (short for Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile ) concluded that the cause of the crash was due to the crew error in managing the thrust lever of the aircraft. During its final approach to Saint Barthélemy, the crew accidentally caused the aircraft to enter its BETA range by moving the thrust lever back to the Beta range, creating a thrust asymmetry which caused the aircraft to bank steeply to the left and crash.

According to the BEA, this was the first fatal accident in the Twin Otter whereby an accidental thrust selection caused a propeller to enter the Beta range. The investigation was hampered as there was no flight recorder installed on the plane. After the crash, the BEA made mandatory recommendation(s) to equip every transport plane with at least one flight recorder.

Airlines for Europe

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is a trade association of European airlines created in January 2016. It handles political lobbying operations for the benefit of its 14 members.

British European Airways Flight 706

British European Airways Flight 706 (BE706/BEA706) was a scheduled flight from Heathrow Airport in London, United Kingdom to Salzburg-W. A. Mozart Airport in Salzburg, Austria. The flight was operated by a Vickers Vanguard with a U.K registration of G-APEC. On 2 October 1971, whilst en route at 19,000 ft (5,791 m), 35 minutes after takeoff, the rear cabin pressure bulkhead failed. The resulting pressurisation of the tail section caused the surfaces of the tailplanes to separate, weakening them to the point that they broke off. Without a horizontal stabiliser the aircraft entered an uncontrollable dive. The aircraft crashed near Aarsele, Belgium, killing all 63 passengers and crew on impact. A piece of debris from the aircraft struck a passing car, causing minor injuries to one of its occupants.

Investigators, in attempting to determine the cause of the accident, found corrosion in the lower part of the rear pressure bulkhead underneath plating that was bonded to the structure. The bulkhead had been eaten away. Fluid contamination, perhaps from the lavatory, was thought to have been the root cause for the corrosion. The corrosion was not detectable by then-current inspection techniques. The Belgian Civil Aeronautics Administration wrote the report and the British Air Accidents Investigation Branch had accredited personnel assisting the investigation.

Buffalo Bill Museum

The Buffalo Bill Museum, located in LeClaire, Iowa, is focused on life along the Mississippi River and local history.

One exhibit is the Lone Star, a wooden, paddlewheel steam-powered towboat that is housed in a special pier. Local history exhibits include the story of famous people from LeClaire, including American West showman Buffalo Bill Cody, engineer James Buchanan Eads and inventor James Ryan.

Professor James J. “Crash” Ryan (1903-1973), a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota was the inventor of the “Flight Recorder” invented in 1953; see U.S. Patent 2,959,459. The aviation recorder was initially named the “General Mills Flight Recorder” and later the "Ryan Flight Data Recorder". In December 1959, Professor Ryan filed a second patent application for a “Coding Apparatus for Flight Recorders and the Like” approved as U.S. Patent 3,075,192 on January 22, 1963. An early prototype of the Ryan Flight Data Recorder is on display at the museum as described in the January 2013 Aviation History Magazine article "Father of the Black Box" by Scott M. Fisher.Other exhibits include the Sauk and Fox Tribe, riverboat pilots, area pioneers, as well as area history and culture.

First Spaceship on Venus

First Spaceship on Venus, (a.k.a. in German: Der Schweigende Stern; in Polish: Milcząca Gwiazda; literal English translation: The Silent Star), also known in English as Planet of the Dead and Spaceship Venus Does Not Reply, is a 1960 East German/Polish color science fiction film based on the science fiction novel The Astronauts by Stanisław Lem. It was directed by Kurt Maetzig and stars Günther Simon, Julius Ongewe, and Yoko Tani. The film, running 93 minutes, was first released by Progress Film in East Germany. After finding an ancient, long-buried flight recorder that originally came from a spaceship, apparently from Venus, a human spaceship is dispatched. The crew discovers a long-dead Venusian civilization that had constructed a device intended to destroy all life on the Earth prior to invasion. Before they could execute their plan, they perished in a global nuclear war.

Holly McNarland

Holly McNarland (born October 23, 1975 in The Pas, Manitoba, raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter.

She collaborated with Matthew Good on the song "Flight Recorder From Viking 7" from the album Loser Anthems as well as on the song "Pony Boy" from Matthew Good's greatest hits package In a Coma. She collaborated with Matt Good once again on his cover of Kate Bush's song Cloudbusting on his 2015 album Chaotic Neutral. Holly also provided backing vocals on the track "Wishing You Would Stay" on The Tea Party's album Seven Circles.

At the 1998 Juno Awards, she won the Best New Solo Artist category and was nominated for Best Alternative Album (Stuff) and Best Video (for the song "Elmo").

Her most successful single was 1997's "Numb", which reached the Canadian top 10.

Hopen (Svalbard)

Hopen is an island in the southeastern part of the Svalbard archipelago (Norway). Hopen was discovered in 1596 by Jan Cornelisz Rijp during the third expedition by Willem Barentsz, trying to find the Northeast Passage.

Later, in 1613, its name was given by Thomas Marmaduke of Hull, who named it after his former command, the Hopewell.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute operates a manned weather station on the island with a staff of four persons. For the welfare of the crew, there are three cabins available on the island for their use.

During World War II, the Luftwaffe placed a meteorological team there under cover of Operation Zitronella.

On August 28, 1978 an early model Tupolev Tu-16 of the Soviet Air Force crashed on the island. All seven crew were killed in the accident. It was discovered two days later by the four-man Norwegian weather forecasting team. The USSR refused to admit the loss of an aircraft until the bodies of the crew were given to them. Norway transcribed the contents of the flight recorder over the objections of the Soviet government.

Hopen Radio

Hopen Radio is a coast radio station and the only settlement on the island of Hopen in Svalbard, Norway. It is located between Kollerfjellet and Werenskioldfjellet.The station was established by Germany as part of Operation Zitronella during the Second World War. After the war, it was taken over by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. It has a staff of four people.

On August 28, 1978 an early model Tupolev Tu-16 of the Soviet Air Force crashed on the island. All seven crew were killed in the accident. It was discovered two days later by the four-man Norwegian weather forecasting team. The USSR refused to admit the loss of an aircraft until the bodies of the crew were given to them. Norway transcribed the contents of the flight recorder over the objections of the Soviet government.

JDK Flight Recorder

JDK Flight Recorder is an event recorder built into the Java virtual machine. It can be though of as the software equivalent of a Data Flight Recorder (Black Box) in a commercial aircraft. It captures information about the JVM itself, and the application running in the JVM. There is a wide variety of data captured, for example method profiling, allocation profiling and garbage collection related events. The JDK Flight Recorder was designed to minimize the Observer Effect in the profiled system, and is meant to be always on in production systems. The technology was open sourced in 2018.

Analysis and visualization of flight recordings are normally done using JDK Mission Control.

JDK Mission Control

JDK Mission Control is an open source tools suite for the Java virtual machine. The tools help finding problems in, and optimizing, programs running on the JVM in production. JDK Mission Control supports OpenJDK 11 (and above) and Oracle JDK 7u40 (and above).

JDK Mission Control primarily consists of the following tools:

A JFR (JDK Flight Recorder) analyzer and visualizer

A JMX ConsoleThere are also various plug-ins available, such as:

A heap dump (hprof format) analyzer (JOverflow)

List of unrecovered flight recorders

Flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) in commercial aircraft continuously record information and can provide key evidence in determining the causes of an aircraft loss. The greatest depth from which a flight recorder has been recovered is 16,000 feet (4,900 m), for the CVR of South African Airways Flight 295. Most flight recorders are equipped with Underwater locator beacons to assist searchers in recovering them from offshore crash sites, however these beacons run off a battery and eventually stop transmitting. For various reasons, a flight recorder cannot always be recovered, and many recorders that are recovered are too damaged to provide any data.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash

The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash occurred on 7 September 2011 when Yak-Service's Flight 9633, a Yakovlev Yak-42 charter flight carrying the players and coaching staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional ice hockey team, crashed near the Russian city of Yaroslavl. The aircraft ran off the runway before lifting off, struck a tower mast, caught fire and crashed 1 km (0.62 mi) from the end of the runway of Tunoshna Airport on the Volga River bank. Of the 45 on board, 43 died at the crash site. One of the two rescued from the wreck, Alexander Galimov, died five days later in hospital. Crew member Alexander Sizov was the sole survivor.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, a member of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia's top ice hockey league, was on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011–12 season. All players from the main roster and four from the youth team were on board the aircraft. Because of the tragedy, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl chose to cancel its participation in the 2011–12 KHL season. The club instead participated in the 2011–12 season of the Russian Major League (VHL), the second-ranked ice hockey league in Russia after the KHL, starting in December 2011, and were eligible for the VHL playoffs. The KHL temporarily suspended its season-opening game already in progress and postponed the start of the season by five days.

Investigation of the crash focused on pilot error and technical failures. An investigative committee was set up which examined Yak-Service's records; conditions at the airport; the aircraft's wreckage; and flight recorder data. Simulations of the aircraft's takeoff were conducted to compare with recovered flight recorder data. Testing determined that pilot error was the cause as a braking force was found to have been applied by the chief pilot during the takeoff. The investigating committee released its report at a press conference on 2 November 2011. According to Alexei Morozov, chief of the investigative commission, "the immediate cause of the (...) crash was the (...) crew's erroneous actions, namely the pilot stepping on the brake pedals before raising the nose wheel because of the wrong position of [his] feet on the [pedals] during takeoff." It was later revealed that the pilot had used falsified documents to obtain permission to fly the aircraft, and that both officers lacked the training necessary to fly the Yak-42.

Quick access recorder

A quick access recorder (QAR) is an airborne flight recorder designed to provide quick and easy access to raw flight data, through means such as USB or cellular network connections and/or the use of standard flash memory cards. QARs are typically used by airlines to improve flight safety and operational efficiency, usually in the scope of their flight operational quality assurance plans. Like the aircraft's flight data recorder (FDR), a QAR receives its inputs from the Flight Data Acquisition Unit (FDAU), recording over 2000 flight parameters. The QAR is also able to sample data at much higher rates than the FDR and, in some cases, for longer periods of time. Unlike the FDR, the QAR usually is not required by a national Civil Aviation Authority on commercial flights and is not designed to survive an accident. Despite this, some QARs have survived accidents and provided valuable information beyond what was recorded by the FDR.The quick access recorder was pioneered by British European Airways (BEA) on its Hawker Siddeley Trident aircraft in the 1960s as a requirement to prove the safety of the aircraft's autoland system for certification of the autoland system by the CAA. Quick access recorders are carried by all BEA's successor airline, British Airways (BA), aircraft. Data from the Penny & Giles quick access recorder of a BA Boeing 747-400 London-Bangkok flight in which the aircraft suffered un-commanded elevator movement and momentary elevator reversal caused Boeing to implement a change in the elevator servo valve design, a modification that was applied to all Boeing 747's in service, and suspicion of a similar original valve design arising from this BA data was subsequently used by the NTSB in the determining of the causes of the crashes of United Airlines Flight 585 and USAir Flight 427.Earlier, data from a Trident's quick access recorder had provided the AAIB with useful supplemental data over-and-above that of the aircraft's flight data recorder that helped the diagnosing of the cause of the 1972 British European Airways Flight 548, the "Staines air disaster" where the Trident's leading edge high lift devices ("droops") had been retracted too early and at too low an airspeed.

Second officer (aeronautics)

A Second Officer usually refers to the third in line of command for a flight crew on a commercial or non-military aircraft. Usually a Second Officer is used on international or long haul flights where more than two crew are required to allow for adequate crew rest periods.

In some airlines, the Second Officer acts as a First Officer, but still undergoes training and supervision from a training Captain (Swiss International Air Lines, Lufthansa, Volotea among others use this denomination).

Time Runner

Time Runner (also known as In Exile) is a 1993 science fiction film directed by Michael Mazo and starring Mark Hamill.

TransAsia Airways Flight 222

TransAsia Airways Flight 222 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight operated by TransAsia Airways from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to Magong, Penghu Island. On 23 July 2014, the ATR 72-500 twin turboprop operating the route crashed into buildings during approach to land in bad weather at Magong Airport. Among the 58 people on board, only 10 survived.

An investigation by the Taiwanese Aviation Safety Council found that the pilots intentionally descended below the minimum descent altitude and that the captain was overconfident, resulting in pilot error.

Vietnam Airlines Flight 815

Vietnam Airlines Flight 815 was a scheduled Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh's Pochentong Airport. The Tupolev Tu-134B-3 aircraft (built in 1984) crashed on final approach approximately 800 meters (0.5 mi) short of the runway, killing 65 of the 66 persons on board. The aircraft was completely destroyed.

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