Apple iPods to be used as ‘black boxes’ for airplanes

“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,” Justin Wastnage reports for

Wastnage reports, “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,” Wastnage reports.

Wastnage reports, “Vero Beach, Florida-based LoPresti said, ‘The iPod becomes the first truly portable, personal flight recorder with a huge recording capacity. This is a watershed technology for aviation,’ says LoPresti vice president of operations, RJ Siegel, ‘and we are delighted to be the first to bring it to market.’ The Fury will prove the concept, but once certificated, the iPod FDR could be deployed on other light aircraft.”

Full article here.

[Attribution: MacNN]


  1. Brad Kelley,

    that’s a good question.

    You could theoretically read the data on the iPod’s screen without plugging it in to a computer, but I don’t know what advantage that would be.

    It must have something to do with the software already on it and perhaps the size and weight.

  2. The article doesn’t really say much about the details, but my understanding of the iPod ecosystem is such that private companies and individuals can’t actually write software that runs on it per se. It’s a closed system. Someone jump in if I’m mistaken. It seems like they are probably simply going to offer folks who have iPods a dock connector so they can use it like a normal iPod, but the avionics system will also be able to write flight data and cockpit audio to the drive just like it was a hard drive. I don’t think anything in the article contradicts this, and it makes more sense to my version of reality. =)

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