“Black Box” pioneer posthumously awarded aviation’s greatest honour

Inventor of the “black box” flight recorder, Dr David Warren AO, has been posthumously recognised with the prestigious Dr Edward Warner aviation award.

Inventor of the “black box” flight recorder, Dr David Warren AONamed in honour of the first President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the award is presented by the ICAO every three years on behalf of all its member nations.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said the award recognises the outstanding contribution Dr Warren has made to transport safety.

“The ‘black box’, whether it is a flight data recorder (FDR) or cockpit voice recorder (CVR), contains critical information investigators need to determine the causal factors surrounding accidents and incidents,” Mr Hood said.

“Dr Warren’s pioneering efforts have significantly improved aviation safety and saved countless lives—the award is well deserved. Interestingly, the concept of flight recorders is now being utilised widely in other transport modalities such as rail and marine.

“The ATSB extends its acknowledgement of this achievement, and our appreciation on behalf of all of those who travel, to Dr Warren’s surviving children Jennifer, Peter and Graham. The ATSB also recognises the support provided to Dr Warren by his late wife Ruth, and daughter Meg, both of whom have passed away.”

The “black box” flight recorder was invented by Dr Warren in 1956. The flight recorders contain recordings of instrument data and cabin crew transmissions and conversations. In the event of an accident, the information on the recordings is invaluable to accident investigators trying to determine what happened and why.

Dr Warren passed away in 2010 at the age of 85. He was buried in a casket bearing the label "Flight Recorder Inventor; Do Not Open.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today issued a statement welcoming the award.

Last update 20 October 2016