Beyond the Black Box

Beyond the Black Box

The Forensics of Airplane Crashes

Book - 2008
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Bibel (mechanical engineering, U. of North Dakota) discusses the investigation of airplane accidents as a means of illustrating principals of mechanical engineering. Chapters explore plane impact dynamics, the mechanics of in-flight breakup, pressure and explosive decompression, burst engines and jet reliability, metal fatigue, fire and explosion patterns, crash testing, and human tolerances to crash forces. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Johns Hopkins University Press

The black box is orange—and there are actually two of them. They house the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, instruments vital to airplane crash analyses.

But accident investigators cannot rely on the black boxes alone. Beginning with the 1931 Fokker F-10A crash that killed legendary football coach Knute Rockne, this fascinating book provides a behind-the-scenes look at plane wreck investigations. Professor George Bibel shows how forensic experts, scientists, and engineers analyze factors like impact, debris, loading, fire patterns, metallurgy, fracture, crash testing, and human tolerances to determine why planes fall from the sky—and how the information gleaned from accident reconstruction is incorporated into aircraft design and operation to keep commercial aviation as safe as possible.

Publisher: Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c2008
ISBN: 9780801886317
Characteristics: x, 393 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Jun 07, 2014

A very scholarly tome. It is filled with factual information and is a lengthy read. Great for a research paper or thesis. Few pictures and only handful of graphs and charts.

Dec 20, 2013

My major problem with this author, this "expert" and this book is that I have studied the radar photos or radar prints (radar still shots of the plane in flight and subsequent destruction) and it is proof positive of a projectile hitting Flight 800. Ergo, whatever this author/expert suggests is either sanctioned fiction, or a complete waste of the reader's time. (FYI: Four US military pilots stated for the record that they observed a projectile, or surface-to-air missiles of a small variety (as in shoulder-fired) streaking towards Flight 800, as did over one hundred witnesses on the ground!)


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