iPod black box for planes

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Interesting, a company (seems to be) using an iPod as a black box for airplanes…. With all these cars with iPod docks, it would be neat to have data logging on everything. Discuss in the comments!

Apple Computer’s popular iPod music player could become a flight data recorder (FDR) following an announcement by US light aircraft manufacturer LoPresti SpeedMerchants to introduce the device in the cockpit of its Fury piston aircraft.

The company says it plans the “full integration of the iPod into the Fury’s avionics systems”. The iconic ‘white box’ iPod will serve as a digital data recorder, nicknamed ‘black boxes’ by the general media. The iPod, with suitable software, acts as a hard disk with the ability to record over 500h of flight time data.

It was not immediately clear from the company’s statement which parameters would be recorded and for what purpose. Recorders are currently used to collect data for maintenance purposes through system monitoring, for post-flight analysis in training and safety-monitoring, and, when suitably protected, for crash investigation.

Apple iPod set to swap ‘white box’ for ‘black box’ as LoPresti launches data recorder version-22/02/2007-London-Flightglobal.com – [via] Link.

Related:

  • Fury piston aircraft – Link.
  • Thinklabs iPod based electronic stethoscope – Link.

6 thoughts on “iPod black box for planes

  1. Using an iPod, as a black box? Not unless they just got a million times tougher! Check out the basic requirements for flight recorders (particularly page 8):
    http://www.ntsb.gov/events/symp_vr_toptec/Presentations/Panel_2/aviation_schofield.pdf
    I used to run a program to develop flash memory black boxes, it’s really hard stuff. Think flash is tough enough? You have to deal with the wirebonds to the chip, the contacts, the heat insulation, the seawater resistance. Get back to me when you can drop your iPod from a few stories into a jet fuel fire, leave it there for 10 hours, cool it off in seawater for 10 hours and get it to work!

  2. The planes with these aren’t jets; they’re piston-powered prop planes. Presumably, they travel more slowly and use a less volatile fuel. Not that I think it’d make much of a difference to an iPod in a full-on plane crash. I don’t think the drive platters could survive a fire, assuming they weren’t totally crushed in the impact.

    Looking at the article, though, I get the impression these are more meant for the pilot’s own records rather than recovery after a crash.

  3. Seriously, why iPods? Why not a Zen Vision or better, something flash-based put in a fire-proof, shock-proof casing. Just because iPods are popular doesn’t mean they are good. Just like the music they play on the radio today.

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