About Me

Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
Contact Me

Fish has been covering aviation and transportation security issues since September 15, 2001, after walking away from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan following four days of documenting the worst aviation security disaster in history.

Having spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a full-time photojournalist, Fish now divides his time between building social media and social commerce strategies and solutions for global travel brands, along with researching aviation and transportation security.

Growing up at the end up New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L probably explains Fish’s enjoyment of watching planes fly overhead. When not working or shooting photos, Fish can be found playing with (and cleaning up after) his three kids, chasing his dogs, standing in the kitchen cooking, monitoring radios public safety and federal radios and of course cheering for the Red Sox.

You can find Fish on Twitter at @flyingwithfish …and … join Fish every Thursday at 3:30pm EST as he hosts the weekly #TNI #Travel Chat on Twitter.

Reader Mail : Where Does The Term “Black Box” Come From?

At the end of January I had written that I wish I received more reader mail with questions I could answer on Flying With Fish rather than those better responded to in one-to-one e-mail … and last night I received an email from Laura O’Connell that fit that comment.

Laura asks “In all the news photos of the of airplane black boxes the black box is always orange. Why is it called a black box?

Well Laura, I’m glad you asked! The term “black box” likely originates from Paul Beaudouin and François Hussenot’s original Type HB Flight Data Recorder dating back to 1939. The Type HB Flight Data Recorder was a photographic based system that recorded instrument data on a scrolling 8-meter by 88-millimeter single piece of photographic film.

The Type HB Flight Data Recorders were quite literally “Black Boxes” that needed to be free from light leaks to preserve the photographic film.

Modern “black boxes”, or Flight Data Recorders (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR), are painted bright orange with heat resistant paint so they are easily visible at the site of an aircraft crash. “Black boxes” are most commonly installed in the rear of the aircraft where they are more likely to survive the impact of a crash.

Hopefully that answers the origins of why the bright orange Flight Data Recorders is commonly referred to as the ‘black box.’

Below is a graphic of The Black Box

Happy Flying!

One Response

  1. […] The Black Box … yup they are orange […]

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