Inventor of the "black box" dies at 85.

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Australian inventor of ‘black box’ recorder dies

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 20, 2010; 11:53 PM

SYDNEY – David Warren, an Australian scientist who invented the “black box” flight data recorder, has died, defense officials said Wednesday. He was 85.

Warren, who died Monday, came up with the idea for the cockpit voice recorder after investigating the crash of the world’s first commercial jet airliner, the Comet, in 1953, the Department of Defence said in a statement. He thought it would be helpful for airline accident investigators to have a recording of voices in the cockpit.

He designed and constructed a black box prototype in 1956, but it took several years before officials understood just how valuable the device could be and began installing them in commercial airlines worldwide.

The Washington Post reporter doesn’t recognise a distinction between FDRs and CVRs, but hey.


the cvr is a type of fdr


True enough. And while we’re fudging distinctions, turns out Warren’s original prototype was a “coupled FDR/CVR.” (Source: Wikipedia.)


Uhhhh, no. The FDR (Flight Data Recorder) records flight parameters such as control inputs, engine settings, airspeed, altitude, etc.

The CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) only records voices and other ambient sounds (switches being thrown, alarms, radio transmissions) within the cockpit. It does NOT record any flight data, and is therefor NOT a flight data recorder.

They are two different types of “Black Boxes”, each serving a separate and distinct function.

I’m sorry, but saying, “A cockpit voice recorder is a flight data recorder” is like saying, “A television is a computer”.


I’m sorry, but I would think cockpit conversations and anything else it picks up (alarms, gear retractions, gunshots, etc…) would definitely be considered flight data - and its recordings are just as vital to an investigation as any other data recorded by another FDR in the event of an accident. I agree with the previous poster - a CVR, by definition, is a (type of) data recorder, but a data recorder is not necessarily a CVR.


In a manner of speaking, yes they are data that are pertinent to the flight. But there is a definite distinction between the two devices, what they are called, and what they record.

I agree.