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David Warren
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    (March 20, 1925-July 19, 2010)
    Born in Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia
    Research scientist for the Defence Science and Technology Organization's Aeronautical Research Labs (1952-83)
    Invented the flight data recorder ('black box') (1957)
    Named an officer of the Order of Australia (2002)
    His prototype was rejected by Australia's Department of Civil Aviation and the Royal Australian Air Force, which claimed, 'The recorder would yield more expletives than explanation.'
    When Australia made flight recorders mandatory (1960), he was bypassed and the contract given to an American firm.
    Despite the nickname, the black box ain't black -- it's orange-red for visibility.
    His father died in Australia's first major air disaster, a plane crash over the Bass Strait (1934).
    He came up with the idea for the flight data recorder while part of a team investigating a crash of the world's first commercial jetliner, the Comet (1953).
    Despite resistance in Australia, the black box was quickly adopted in Britain after Warren mentioned the invention during a meeting with Sir Robert Hardingham, Secretary of the UK Air Registration Board.
    On receiving the Order of Australia, he said, 'It's very comforting that the black box is now accepted as being something useful to humanity.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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