I read with interest today (in The Times) that the inventor of the Black Box Flight Recorder died on Monday. He really had to work hard to get anyone to buy into the idea but he really believed it was the way forward. A way to record, not just the state of a planes instruments but also a record of the talk in and between the cockpit and the ground.
His wasn’t the first invented, though. In 1939 two French chaps made one that used photography. While their device was tested in France for 30 years, it was never used in commercial flights and it didn’t record any voices.
David Warren (his full name was David Ronald de Mey Warren) was an Australian. He was the first child of European descent to be born on the island of Groote Eylandt, off Arnhem Land. From here he went to Tasmania then Sydney and ended up in Melbourne where he became established as an electronics expert.
Although Warren’s device was first created as a prototype in 1957 it wasn’t introduced into commercial planes until 1960 following a crash in Mackay.
It was originally called the Red Egg (because it looked like one) but, for some reason not known, it became the Black Box.
He lived a long and rewarding life, dying at the age of 85. I bet he was very pleased when, in 2008, Qantas named one of their Airbus A380s after him.
The reason I took to his story is the fact that he perceived how important his device could be and didn’t give up even though most people in the industry were not interested. A very important man who was awarded the Order of Australia in 2002.
As well as reading The Times, I had lunch with Dawn today. We had a jolly good natter while Polly nattered to the garden fence and Basil relaxed on the lawn. Once the rain had fled, the day was sparkling and lovely.