Australia's innovation legacy soars with ‘black box’ flight recorder inventor honoured

Media Release

DC125/2016

28 September 2016

One of Australia's greatest scientists, Dr David Warren AO, has been posthumously awarded the prestigious Edward Warner Award for the invention of the black box flight recorder.

The award was announced at the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) 39th Assembly, a specialised United Nations agency established in 1944 with responsibility for civil aviation.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester welcomed the award today and credited Dr Warren's invention with delivering one of the greatest single innovations to improve aviation safety across the globe.

“This award highlights Australia's long history of innovation and invention, with the black box flight recorder among the most recognised and used technologies throughout the world,” Mr Chester said.

“Being able to capture cockpit information offers valuable lessons in preventing future accidents and improving safety for passengers.

“Worldwide, every crash investigation agency relies upon the evidence they retrieve from Dr Warren's black box to find solutions to aviation mysteries such as tragic loss of Air France 477.

“The success of the black box in aviation has also seen the system adopted by the rail and maritime industries.

“I am delighted that such a prominent body, representing more than 190 nations, has seen fit to recognise Dr Warren through this award. It certainly reflects how important the black box has been to aviation safety, and most importantly, to saving people's lives.”

The Award was named in honour of the first President of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Dr Edward Warner, and is presented at each Assembly on behalf of all member states.

The Assembly occurs every three years and sets the organisation's worldwide policy over the next triennium. The 39th Assembly will occur between 27 September and 7 October at ICAO's headquarters in Montreal, Canada.