Black box

March 27, 2015 11:09 am

A Germanwings Airbus crashed on Tuesday in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board, most of them from Spain and Germany.

A term that we constantly hear on the news these days is “black box”. Even though we hear this term every time that these kinds of accidents happen, it always incites the same intrigue and mystery, not only because it usually reveals key information for the investigation, but also because of the name. Black is not the kindest colour, indeed. It has a kind of symbolic meaning, especially if we take into account that the box in question is not black but orange.

 Black box IATE
A synonym of this term is “flight recorder”, more precise and formal but less popular.


This box combined two pieces in a single unit: the flight data recorder (FDR) that monitors parameters such as airspeed, heading or altitude. And the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) that records every kind of sound like radio transmissions, engine noises and the pilot’s voices. It has the size of a shoebox and is placed at the very back of the airplane to give it the best chances of surviving a crash. It is also made of the best materials to resist all kinds of accidents, for example, it can resist long periods under salt water, pressure and during a maximum of 30 days it sends acoustic signals to facilitate its localization.

Black box

For the investigation of this terrible accident, whose causes were unknown at the beginning, the finding of the damaged black box was crucial and it has given us very relevant information.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims.


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By Isabel Beldad

Journalist and Social Media Specialist

Communication Trainee at TermCoord

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