black box

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black box

1. The device in an airplane that records flight audio and data. Once the black box is recovered from the wreckage, it will give us more insight into what caused the crash.
2. Any sort of system or device with inner workings that are difficult to understand. Does anyone outside of the IT department really understand how this black box works?
See also: black, box

a black box

You can call a process or system a black box when you know that it produces a particular result but you do not understand how it works. What steroids do is currently something of a black box. The firm's investment success lies in its black box of formulas which identify trends. Note: In an electronic or computer system, a black box is a self-contained part. You can understand its function without knowing anything about how it works.
See also: black, box

black box

an automatic apparatus, the internal operations of which are mysterious to non-experts.
Black does not refer to the colour of the device but to the arcane nature of its functions. Originally Royal Air Force slang for a navigational instrument in an aircraft, the phrase is now used in aviation specifically to refer to the flight recorder.
See also: black, box
References in periodicals archive ?
The investigators are searching for the black boxes at a depth of around 3,000 meters, some 290 kilometers north of the Egyptian coast.
Mr Peter Lister suggested a very good idea (GDN, April 17) since storing a copy of the flight information on a central server would do away with the huge cost of search and recovery operation of black boxes. My personal opinion is that the airline industry has improved on many technical and safety issues of the aircraft, but no improvement has been done regarding the reliance on black boxes during accidents.
Steve Ganyard said the waters the flight is suspected to have crashed in South China Sea water, which is shallow, and therefore there is a fairly good chance of hearing those pingers - those under-water pingers that the black boxes have that will help in finding the wreckage somewhere between Vietnam and Malaysia.
Underwater robots should begin operating in August to retrieve the black boxes, which lie too deep for divers to reach The plane's cockpit voice and flight data recorders could help explain why it crashed.
An ever-evolving formula instructs some black boxes as to which indicators to consult and how to factor them into the decisions.
Electrical tests need to be conducted on the black boxes before investigators can extract data from them.
Q Can you tell me when and why were black boxes first fitted to commercial planes?
Why is it always too difficult for crash investigators to retrieve these black boxes, specifically if the aircraft is lost over the ocean like the Air France AF 447?
It has commissioned companies to develop aircraft-style black boxes for cars.
In the first few years following Andrew, consumers and regulators referred to the models as 'black boxes" and looked upon the modeling process with a great deal of skepticism.
As search teams look to zero in on the wreckage of EgyptAir flight 804 after a French ship picked up a signal from one of the plane's black boxes, the airline industry is aiming to set standards in the coming months to make recovering critical flight data easier for investigators.
THE hunt for Flight MH370 has turned into a race against time as it emerged the two black boxes on board have just 16 days of battery life left.
The search for the black boxes that were on board EgyptAir Flight 804 when it crashed last week is officially an international effort.
THE hunt for Flight MH370 has turned into a race against time as it emerged that signals coming from two black boxes on board have just 16 days of battery life left.