'Black box' found near crash site of Airblue flight

Correction — August 6, 2010

The recording of technical data such as airspeed, altitude, control inputs etc is not handled by the cockpit voice recorder, as suggested in this article, but is in fact handled by the flight data recorder.

This article uses the term 'black box' for the cockpit voice recorder, a device which records all the sounds in the cockpit. However, the flight data recorder is also often referred to as a black box.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Depsite the nickname, black boxes are usually painted orange to aid in their recovery after a crash.
Image: Olli-Jukka Paloneva.
The aircraft involved, photographed a month before the crash
Image: Richard Vandervord.

Investigators have found the black box of an Airblue flight that crashed into the Margalla Hills of Pakistan's capital city on Wednesday. The flight data recorder was also recovered Saturday morning. Airblue Flight 202 departed from Karachi, Pakistan, and was bound for the capital Islamabad when it crashed into the Margalla Hills due to bad weather conditions. All 152 people aboard, including the 6 crewmembers, were killed.

Junaid Amin, the head of Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority, told CNN the recorders will be sent to either Germany or France, which have the necessary resources to analyze the data. Such an investigation could take months to complete, however.

The black box records communication data and technical information such as speed and altitude, as well as conversations in the airplane cockpit. It could thus help investigators determine why the plane crashed.