How does a black box survive a plane crash?


Quick Answer

An airplane's black box is constructed using a layers of material and insulation, all of which makes these devices very hard to damage beyond the point of usefulness. "Black box" is the colloquial term for a flight recorder, which collects data that can be used to analyze the cause or factors that contributed to an airplane accident or crash.

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How does a black box survive a plane crash?
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Full Answer

Most aircraft use two types of recorders: a flight data recorder, which stores information about mechanical performance, and a cockpit voice recorder, which stores an audio recording. These recordings include mostly communications between flight crew and air traffic control, but they also record ambient noises in the cockpit, such as a hijacking or an explosion.

Flight recorders have several layers of protective insulation, like a stainless steel shell and padding that helps protect the electronics and mechanical components from water or fire damage. They are very useful if found, but recovering them can be a challenge, and there are known instances of black boxes being too damaged to be useful. While they are informally known as "black boxes," flight recorders are housed inside a bright orange case, which makes them easier to find at the site of an airplane accident.

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