‘Black Box’ Inventor Dies

David Warren’s father died in a 1934 Bass Strait air crash.

Warren graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science.

He became the principal research scientist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation’s Aeronautical Research Laboratories in Melbourne from 1952 to 1983.

In 1953, Warren was involved in the investigation of the crash of the world’s first jet airline, the de Havilland Comet. Since there had been no witnesses or survivors, Warren envisioned an automatic recorder which could survive a crash and give investigators the clues needed to determine the cause of the accident.

The first flight data recorder was built by Warren in 1956. It’s unclear where the name “black box” came from, as the boxes are coated in heat-resistant bright red paint for high visibility in aircraft wreckage.

David Warren died Monday, he was 85.

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