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Jon Lawes07/12/2018 18:08:19
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I used to be the manager of the Accident Data Recorder Services dept. at Boscombe Down. They have a large collection of the different types of recorders that have been used over the years (some looking very second hand indeed!), including some that even recorded onto wire as it was more resistant to heat than traditional tape.

Most interesting to me was an accident data recorder that had been recovered from deep ocean water. The individual transistors on the circuit boards had been crushed like recycled cans by the depth/pressure. When they recover the recorders from water they try to keep them wet as the salt crystals only start to form once it has dried out.

Andrew Johnston07/12/2018 19:35:49
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Posted by Jon Lawes on 07/12/2018 18:08:19:

I used to be the manager of the Accident Data Recorder Services dept. at Boscombe Down. They have a large collection of the different types of recorders that have been used over the years (some looking very second hand indeed!), including some that even recorded onto wire as it was more resistant to heat than traditional tape.

That's interesting, I worked at Boscombe Down, on the MRCA, for a short period as part of my thick sandwich course with MoD. That would have been the summer of 1979 I think.

I had it in my mind that the original recorders used wire, but changed to mag tape as the number of parameters increased.

Andrew

Neil Wyatt07/12/2018 21:49:30
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Posted by Andrew Johnston on 07/12/2018 14:52:02:

Back in the 1970s, when I started at RAE Farnborough I got a personal tour of the AAIB facility, as my father knew a number of people there due to his group at RAE Bedford consulting on a number of helicopter and auto gyro accidents. Two piles of wreckage in the hangar remain with me. One, a Jaguar that hit a hill at 400 knots, nothing left that was bigger than a fist. Two, a Skylark (wooden glider) that had been struck by lightning in cloud. Most of the wood had exploded as the water turned to flash steam, but I remember the steel control cables being melted and the ends fused into a ball. Sadly the pilot didn't survive, but hit the ground with his parachute intact but unopened.

Andrew

Back in the 70s it was my ambition to work there figuring out why planes had crashed!

Then in 6th form I discovered biology was even better

Neil

Samsaranda07/12/2018 22:24:35
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First posting out of trade training when I joined the Air Force in the early sixties was to a Salvage and Transportation Unit, we were responsible for the recovery and transporting crashed aircraft in the southern half of the UK. We recovered military and civil accidents and so visited the AAIB hangar at Farnborough a number of times. Not a pleasant job and in those days no such thing as counselling.

Dave W

Cornish Jack08/12/2018 00:06:28
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Had a couple of years as Ops and S&R on D Sqdn at Boscombe in the late 70s. Some of the trials flying was unusual to say the least - such as carrying six 'dummies' on a 'jungle penetrator' suspended 300' below a Seaking at slowly increasing speeds. From memory, we got to 40 knots before the rope went into violent gyrations and detached itself!! I believe this was classified as a 'failure'.surprise

Andrew -"...on the MRCA" ... Multi Racial Cost Accumulator, as it was known , at the timecheeky

rgds

Bill

HughE08/12/2018 00:29:59
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In the early part of my career I worked for Daval in Perivale , Middx. They made wire recorders for aircraft . One was featured on Tomorrow's World and nick named the Red Egg, it was used on Concorde. An early version had 2 spools and the wire was transferred between the two, that auto reversed. It had a very neat double helix wire guide to ensure the wire was laid out on the receiving spool in an orderly manner , this also that reversed at the end of each travel without snatching. It was nightmare reading the data back when the wire broke. It was also getting difficult to source the special wire in the late 70s.

Later on worked on recorders used to record maintainence and trials data on Torpedoes, PIGs (pipeline inspection gear) and the F18 for the US Navy aircraft . The real challenge was to compress the data enough to fit on these recorders as they had limited storage capabilities. The crash recorders were nicknamed the "on sh@t recorder" as it was normally the last words that were recorded in the event of an accident. I visited AAIB and US equivalent a number of times, it used to send shivers down my spine when i saw the wreckage reassembled.

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