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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.
Johns Hopkins University Press
— Charles K. Jervis
— Paul Marks
— Steven D. Levitt
The author succeeds in both science and storytelling.
— Charles K. Jervis
— Don Fry
An Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) advanced aircraft accident qualified investigator, Bibel (mechanical engineering, Univ. of North Dakota Sch. of Engineering and Mines) presents several case studies of airplane accidents, from the 1931 crash that killed football coach Knute Rockne to the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800 shortly after takeoff from New York's JFK airport. Offering insights into how aviation accident investigations are conducted, Bibel addresses the causes of such accidents, from in-flight breakup to metal fatigue and combustion, and the lessons learned. Enriched with many drawings, graphs, and equations, this is a good aeronautics text for a mechanical or safety perspective. The specific findings from many investigations demonstrate principles or applications from aerodynamics, physics, and engineering. While Bibel's book compares with Glenn Ellis's 1984 Air Crash Investigation of General Aviation Aircraft, it is more up-to-date, with post-1984 case studies and includes commercial airline accidents. This is highly recommended for academic libraries supporting aerodynamics, aviation, or engineering courses or as support for physics and criminal justice investigation classes; it should also be included in aeronautical and engineering industry libraries.