A flight data recorder (FDR) is the primary source of information during an air accident investigation. It has an interesting history and has undergone significant progress since its invention. FDRs have been in use for more than 70 years and counting. These tools have various functions beyond tracking flights after unexpected events.
FDRs are also used to evaluate the pilot’s skills, utilize the pilot’s training, and diagnose onboard systems. Despite being widely called “black boxes,” they are actually bright orange. The bright color makes it easy to recover them after an accident.
The working mechanism of an FDR
The black box (FDR) was first used in 1947 but became mandatory in 1958. An FDR is vital for understanding and preventing aviation accidents. It records all conversations and other types of information about the plane. Its sturdy design makes it resistant to harsh conditions.
A passenger’s black box can survive for three months under the sea. It weighs an average of five kilograms and activates as soon as it interacts with the water. The device starts sending signals immediately making it easy for the team trying to locate the plane.
What does a black box readout capture?
The FDR’s readouts capture crucial flight parameters that help in understanding the aircraft’s behavior during different phases. It records everything related to the hardware and instruments present in the cockpit. The black box’s readout provides insight into an aircraft’s health and the cockpit’s avionic function.
Below is some of the information recorded in an FDR readout:
- Engine performance
- Flight path parameters
- Control inputs
- Time and location
- System status
- Recording parameters characteristics
The information recorded in a flight data recorder is essential. It identifies flight accident causes and aids in aircraft airworthiness maintenance.