Airplane black boxes, explained

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Description

Sometimes flight recorders are the only way the victims' families will know what happened to the plane.

Immediately following an airplane crash anywhere in US territory, the National Transportation Safety Board dispatches a team of investigators to survey the wreckage, gather information from the airline and from air traffic control, and retrieve the plane's so-called "black boxes."

These flight recorders — one stores cockpit audio recordings, the other stores airplane instrument data — are sent to NTSB's lab in Washington, DC, for analysis. There, officials listen to what are sometimes the pilots' final, panicked moments of life. They interpret not only what the pilots were saying before the crash but also any snaps, bangs, and alarms captured by the cockpit area microphone.

By combining those audio clues with data from the plane's instruments and sensors, as well as evidence from the scene, investigators can usually determine the cause of the crash, even in cases with no surviving witnesses.


💬 Comments

Black box: because when you have to use it, it probably involved death.

Author — Lucas L


Because if they called it the Orange Box, they'd get sued by Valve.

Author — The Original Gamer


Great insight! Btw why do they limit the signal strength so it only makes it through 14000 ft of water? Isn't it possible to make something which gives out a stronger signal which goes hundreds of km?

Author — Shutter Authority


I learn more knowledge in YouTube than in School

Author — RoyceMikhail


Why not do both? Have the planes transmit data to a satellite and keep a flight recorder onboard in case the plane ceases transmitting data to the satellite. That way the onboard flight recorder continues recording data after data transmission has ceased.

Author — EnigmaHood


Imagine how creepy it is to hear what people in the airplane said before they died

Author — Hubert


Just imagine having your whole house shake, looking outside, and seeing that you were feet from dying.

Author — Tom /Fan account


In engineering a black box is not something with a lot of inputs. It means a device where you know the inputs and outputs but don't know how the inside works.

Author — Glen THOMAS Neville


Never new this was a thing. Incredibly informative and entertaining. Now I remember why I subscribed to Vox in the first place.

Author — Tech By Matt


This is such good content, seriously. High quality journalism and information, keep up the good work, I'm a fan.

Author — Europeans against fascism


R.I.P to everyone who died in the flight 587 incident and other plane crashes, you will be missed

Author — Boar


Last time I was this early England was still good at football.

Author — Tomos Williams


I'm a simple man. I see Joss in a Vox video, and I click the like button.

Author — lopindoosherfl


How the hell to you make those videos? What's your process? Please make a video on this!?

Author — cinemofo


this flight was headed towards dominican republic and my uncle was suppose to be on that plane but he woke up late after a night out drinking.

Author — Julio Feliz


Vox, is the music in the videos made by members of your team? Is it possible to get the music at the beginning of the video somewhere?

Author — Niker107


I could sit here and watch Joss Fong talk about anything for hours. Every video she has made for Vox has been inaffable, she truly is a great inspiration and role model for anyone who wants to get involved in research.

Author — snOm3ad


The name Black Box is a term where we know the input and the output of something but don't know yet how the process occur.

Author — Misu Satriyo


Outside the aviation industry, a black box usually means "a unit in which an unknown process takes place". With black boxes, you only know what you put in and what came out, not what happened in there. It's often used in software and sometimes in engineering.

Author — J. van der Linden


Did you guys make this video and then waited for the black box in the Mediterranean sea to be found, because it was found, moments after you posted this video, it's just a real honest, non criticising question people don't get hurt.

Author — Nathan Warrington