Malaysia Airlines flight #MH370 – black box recorders crucial to understanding final moments – an annotated infographic

With still no sign of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the authorities’ understanding of exactly what happened in the final moments before the plane’s disappearance ultimately rests on recovery of the black box data recorders on board.

Commercial aircraft carry two black boxes. While they do nothing to help the plane in flight, they are vitally important to accident investigators in the aftermath of a plane crash. Our infographic today shows the detail inside and outside of the Honeywell ED-55 Flight Data Recording System, which was installed on flight MH370.

As the graphic shows, the boxes are designed to withstand an extreme impact and will send out a location signal for weeks after a crash.

A compelling example of the kind of information black box recorders can provide, months and even years after a plane crash, is detailed in this Popular Mechanics article. It relates to Air France flight 447, the sudden disappearance of which in 2009 has uncomfortable parallels with flight MH370.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Flight MH370: black boxes hold the key to understanding
Flight MH370: black boxes hold the key to understanding

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