Flight recorder in the testing phase, Australian Transport Safety Bureau says
A giant black box is sitting in the middle of Tasmania. Here’s why
A giant black box is sitting in the middle of Tasmania, in a test. It will go on to reveal the secrets of the G650, a large private Gulfstream airliner operated by Qantas Airways.
A 40kg black box is being placed in a titanium casing in the middle of Longman airfield.
“This thing is giant and it’s sitting on Longman’s runway,” says Bob Covelli, the safety manager at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
“It’s a land mine. The ground will rumble with the vibrations and break-off off bits of the casing.”
The test is intended to help find out why two people died in a crash at Longman in October 2015.
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Qantas told the ABC in an email that a data recorder was working properly after a short period of issues.
“The plane remains fully functional and there are no instructions for aerodynamic control,” the airline said.
“When appropriate, there will be a black box attached to the aircraft. There has been no issue with the machine’s operation.”
The black box is made up of a metal compartment containing key components inside a titanium frame and should withstand impacts and harsh temperatures.
The load is 20 tonnes, and is more than twice the weight of the Xconite Foundation portable return miniature flight recorder (PFD) that was installed aboard MH370 last year.
Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014.
The Boeing 777 jetliner is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.
The test is for all aircraft up to and including the current Qantas Airbus A330 – a near mirror image of the Gulfstream jets.
The safety bureau is expected to reveal a detailed draft of its final report into the Longman crash in September.
The story first appeared on ABC’s national online news service.